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Former Chivas USA Academy player Ben Spencer scores key goal to clinch USMNT qualification for 2015 U-20 World Cup

The tall striker came up with the clincher to send the U.S. to New Zealand.

Spencer (right) with the consequential winner.
Spencer (right) with the consequential winner.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Some big news on the Chivas USA Academy front on Saturday. The United States Men's National Team U-20 team beat El Salvador's U-20s 2-0 in the playoff stage of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, to book a place in the 2015 U-20 World Cup, to be held in New Zealand in May and June.

The winning goal in the game came courtesy of former Chivas USA Academy standout Ben Spencer, who scored in the 37th minute, ultimately the winning goal for the Americans as a second-half PK by the Salvadorians was saved. Paul Arriola scored a late goal to pad the lead and ensure the U.S.'s passage to the big dance.

For Spencer, the goal will provide a boost for a player who had largely struggled in the tournament. It was his first competitive goal with the U-20s, and despite being the only true target forward on the roster for this U-20s team, he was unable to find the back of the net until the final game. Still, his contribution came through in the end.

The other U.S. player with CUSA Academy ties at the tournament, Bradford Jamieson IV (now a Homegrown player with the LA Galaxy), made a bigger impact overall during the competition, and he also had a crucial goal in the group stage finale, against Trinidad & Tobago, to give the U.S. the win and also top seed among the four playoff teams. Jamieson also scored a brace in the Americans' 8-0 rout over Aruba in an earlier group stage game.

Congratulations to the USMNT for qualifying for the World Cup, and it's good to see former Chivas USA Academy players making an impact with the national team in a competitive setting. We'll see if Spencer, Jamieson, and perhaps even Marky Delgado (who was a late cut from this tournament squad) will get the nod to play at the World Cup later this year.

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