Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday and started for the United States Under-20 Men's National Team on Saturday in a 1-0 win over Croatia's Under-20 squad. The international friendly, played at Red Bull Arena in Austria, concluded the team's final training camp before the FIFA Under-20 World Cup begins next month in New Zealand.
Columbus Crew midfielder Romain Gall came off the bench to score the lone goal in yesterday's victory on an assist from the Philadelphia Union's Zach Pfeffer. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen from SC Freiburg in Germany kept the clean sheet after also starting in a 2-2 draw against Qatar's U-20's four days earlier.
Led by head coach Tab Ramos, the United States Under-20 Men's National Team will play Myanmar (May 30), New Zealand (June 2) and Ukraine (June 5) in Group A of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Sixteen of the 24 teams in the competition will advance to the knockout stage in quest of a berth in the final on June 20.
The U.S. Soccer Federation will next submit the U-20's provisional list of 35 players for the tournament to FIFA before reducing that roster by May 20 to the final 21 players eligible to represent the United States.
Palmer-Brown debuted with the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team as a 16-year-old in January 2014. He participated in the 2014 Dallas Cup with the U-20's and has attended three international training camps in Argentina (August 2014), England (March 2015) and Austria (April 2015).
A Lee's Summit, Missouri native and product of the Sporting KC Academy, Palmer-Brown became the club's third homegrown player signing in August 2013. He has appeared in seven matches for Sporting Kansas City across all competition, including the team's 2015 season opener, and is the youngest player to appear in Major League Soccer each of the past two seasons.