USA vs. France: Score, Recap and Analysis for Toulon Tournament Match
In both squads' first appearance at the Toulon Tournament, France finished on top with a 4-1 win over the United States.
Playing at Stade Léo Lagrange in Toulon, France, the home team came out aggressive in the first half. It was clearly the more experienced side and the group had a number of scoring opportunities early.
Unfortunately, no one was able to get a clear shot on net on the wet pitch and the match remained scoreless throughout the early stages.
However, France finally broke through in the 38th minute. On a free kick relatively close to the box, Alexandre Coeff deflected the cross with his backfoot into the net past keeper Cody Cropper.
Soccer analyst Ives Galarcep described the goal well:
A sick back-heel goal by France to take a 1-0 lead on the U.S. Under-20s in Toulon. 1-0 France, 39th minute.— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) May 28, 2013
As good as that first goal was, the second one was just as bad. Imbula Wanga simply hit it toward the net, and Cropper could not handle it as it dribbled across the line to make it 2-0. FOX Soccer did not hold back in the assessment:
That's a bad one, Cropper letting it through his legs as Imbula Wanga shot from top left; Mayi with a final tap on the line just in case— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) May 28, 2013
While the United States squad had held strong for most of the first half, it went into intermission with a two-goal deficit that it was unable to overcome.
The second half featured a few more opportunities for the Americans, but France remained patient with the ball and maintained possession for a great deal of the second half.
Charles Boehm of SoccerWire.com was certainly disappointed in the way the group was playing, especially without the ability to attack the net:
US U20s struggling for possession in Toulon opener vs France. Not seeing much in the way of ideas so far. #USYNT— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) May 28, 2013
Fortunately, Team USA was finally able to get onto the scoreboard in the 72nd minute. After earning a free kick just outside of the box, Joya Jiminez fired into the right side of the net to cut the lead to 2-1.
Although this gave the squad hope with a small amount of time remaining, this was short-lived. Stephane Bahoken was able to realistically seal the win with a goal off a deflection in the 77th minute.
BeIN Sport stated exactly what this final score meant to the trailing squad:
France later added a fourth goal in extra time when the match was well in hand. The win puts the squad in strong position in Group A as it looks to win it all as the host team.
Colombia started the day off with a 1-0 win over South Korea to earn three points and should be one of the top competitors throughout the competition. Congo DR will also be tough to beat, although the squad started the tournament with a bye.
The U.S. will now have an uphill battle in this tournament as it tries to finish on top of the group.
Who will win Group A?
This event will be good preparation for the upcoming U-20 World Cup which will take place next month. Both squads will be in the same group for that larger championship, along with Spain.
These teams have not seen the last of each other, so it will be up to the United States to make adjustments going forward.
Both squads get one day off and then go right back to work in the second match of the Toulon Tournament. On May 30, the United States will play Colombia at 11:30 a.m. ET, directly followed by a match between France and Congo DR.
After these two contests, we will know a lot about which squad is likely to advance out of the group.
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