When Tommy Thompson scored his first goal for the U.S. U-20 men's national team in the ongoing 2015 CONCACAF Championship, it came via his head. The talented 19-year old, lurking inside the six-yard book, calmly redirected a corner kick into the net for the team's fourth goal in an 8-0 dismantling of Aruba.
But it won't be that goal that is most remembered by those that watched the proceedings from Jamaica. In fact, the only goal that really sticks out is the game-winner, scored in the 16th minute by Romain Gall. And it wouldn't have come without the technical brilliance of Thompson.
If we had been lucky enough to have Brian Dunseth, the Original Winger, on the broadcast call, he would surely have exclaimed the words "skill check!" to describe Thompson's ridiculous over-the-defender flick and turn that started the scoring sequence. That CONCACAF does not recognize secondary assists, unlike ever so generous MLS, is an absolute crime, as the San Jose Earthquakes wunderkind will not have his name attached to that goal.
No matter, we won't ever forget it.
The U.S. U-20 squad picked up its first victory of the tournament in crushing Aruba, and now boasts four points from three games with two games remaining in group play. The first place finisher in the group will advance directly to the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this May, while the second and third place finishers meet in a playoff to determine their qualifying fate. Panama and Guatemala, which the U.S. lost to and tied respectively, hold the top two spots in the group with the U.S. in third.
Thompson, who was subbed out against Aruba at halftime, but has started all three games of the tournament, and his U.S. teammates will face host nation Jamaica on Sunday, January 18, and Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, January 23, in the final two group stage matches. The U.S. can still win the group, but they will need other results to go their way.
For more details on the qualifying tournament, check out CONCACAF.com