Erik Palmer-Brown led the U.S. Under-20 National Team to CONCACAF U-20 Championship glory with a penalty shootout victory over Honduras in Sunday’s final following a 0-0 draw in regulation. Palmer-Brown was also honored with the Golden Ball award, given to the best player in the tournament.
Palmer-Brown captained the U.S. in their first regional youth final since the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship as the U-20s claimed their first CONCACAF Championship title in 23 attempts.
The Sporting KC Homegrown defender continued at defensive midfield where he played throughout the tournament, going the full 90 minutes for the U.S. U-20s. He completed 22 of his 30 pass attempts – the second most completed passes on the team – and made three interceptions in the midfield.
The U.S. started on the front foot and Justen Glad saw a header from a corner parried away well by Javier Delgado, before Brooks Lennon took aim with a free kick from 25 yards that was also dealt with impressively by the Honduras goalkeeper.
Palmer-Brown had a chance of his own in the 38th minute but couldn’t direct his header on target after meeting a corner kick at the back post.
It was back to his more customary defensive duties for Palmer-Brown in the 75th minute, producing a goal-saving challenge to deny Douglas Martinez who was clean through following Auston Trusty’s giveaway in a dangerous area.
After the game finished scoreless, it came down to penalty kicks to determine the CONCACAF U-20 champions. The U.S. converted all five spot kicks, with Lennon, Coy Craft, Emmanuel Sabbi and Luca De La Torre netting before Danny Acosta slotted home the decisive kick after Rembrandt Flores had fired over for Honduras.
The U.S. U-20s will now prepare for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will take place in South Korea from May 20 through June 11.