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U-20 World Cup D-Day arrives, as U.S. must beat Ghana to advance

Jun 27, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

Luis Gil AP

Everything is on the line for the US youngsters against Ghana this afternoon, as Tab Ramos’ under-20 side face their final Group A game, with one thing in their mind: three points.

The US know whoever wins will likely advance to the knockout stages of the U-20 World Cup in Turkey, it’s a good old fashioned do or die encounter.

The USA’s chance to advance is in their own hands… for now.

After being battered into submission for large spells during their Group A opener, a 4-1 loss to Spain, the US bounced back by snatching a late-tie against France in Istanbul which set up today’s pivotal clash in Kayseri, Central Turkey.

But with so much pressure piled onto one game Real Salt Lake attacker Luis Gil is calm and collected ahead of the Ghana clash.

“I think we just need to shoot more,” Gil told reporters. “We can be more aggressive in taking on guys one-on-one, get them on their heels early so that way we’ll make space [for shooters].”

As the USA need a win, Gil’s mantra of increased offensive output will be the best method the US youngsters can adopt, if they’re going to extend their stay in Turkey. Ghana have lost both games, letting in four goals in the process as they were dismantled by France in the opener.

(MORE: US snatch late tie against France, keeps hope alive in U-20 World Cup)

To team news, and in midfield Ramos has plenty of options but he is missing Santos Laguna youngster Benji Joya through suspension. Sporting KC youngster Mikey Lopez could step in or captain Caleb Stanko could return to the lineup after being dropped against France.

Either way, Ramos can shuffle his squad around accordingly as the future of the US national team face a winner-takes-all match in the Turkey.

You can watch the US U-20 national team take on Ghana at 1pm ET on Thursday, live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.

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