A first-half goal from Jack McInerney was all that separated USA and United Arab Emirates, but it was enough to give the Stars and Stripes three points and a berth in the Round of 16. The Americans claimed their second win of the group stage to finish second, while UAE edged through to the knockout stage as one of the best third-place finishers by virtue of their Fair-Play ranking.
After UAE's Mohamed Hussain edged three defenders before shooting just wide of the left upright, it was USA who had the better of the openings. The Americans nearly began the scoring in unusual circumstances, as a cross from Alex Shinsky saw goalkeeper Ahmad Shambih push the ball onto the crossbar in a scare for the Emiratis.
Mohamed Hussain blazed over soon after but it was the North Americans who scored the crucial opening goal on 35 minutes. Nick Palodichuk fired at goal from outside the penalty area with Shambih only able to parry into the path of the alert McInerney who easily scored from close range.
Three minutes on and USA should have doubled their advantage when Abdelaziz Abbas made a critical mistake inside the area. Luis Gil took advantage of the opening, but his shot was saved by Shambih. The UAE custodian Shambih was then called into action again as Shinsky cracked a powerful left-foot drive, forcing the goalkeeper into a smart reaction save as the Americans cranked up the pressure.
USA continued to control proceedings in the midfield as the second half commenced, though UAE's Mohammad Sebil burst into the penalty area on the hour mark only for his shot from the left to be well saved by goalkeeper Earl Edwards. The US replied with a shot from Luis Gil, but Shambih was up to the task to tip the ball over the bar.
The Asians tried their best to create scoring chances in the remaining minutes but the USA's defence held firm throughout to claim three crucial points.