BRADENTON, Fla. – Former LA Galaxy II midfielder Alex Mendez scored twice as the United States rounded out its group stage at the Concacaf U-20 Championship with a 7-0 victory against Suriname on Friday night at IMG Academy to secure its place on top of Group A and advance to the second stage of the tournament.
The United States will face Costa Rica and Honduras in a round-robin format in the second stage. The top two teams will advance to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Poland next May, while the group winner will advance to the final on November 21.
One of six players with USL experience in the United States’ starting lineup, Mendez opened the scoring for the United States against Suriname in just the seventh minute with a well-placed free kick that rose over the defensive wall and found the bottom-right corner of the net.
Former Bethlehem Steel FC defender Mark McKenzie added to the United States’ lead with a header from a corner kick in the 26th minute before Toronto FC II standout Ayo Akinola added two goals in four minutes at the end of the first half to give him five goals in the tournament so far.
The United States added to its lead just past the hour-mark as Juan Pablo Torres found the net before Justin Rennicks – who played this summer for USL League Two’s Boston Bolts – added a sixth with 11 minutes to go. Mendez then wrapped up the victory from the penalty spot four minutes later for his fifth goal of the tournament.