Philly Sports Live

A Little Revenge: USA Qualifies for U20 World Cup


The United States Men’s Under 20 National Team under head coach Tab Ramos secured qualification for this year’s U20 World Cup Tuesday in Puebla, Mexico, defeating Canada 4-2.  The US last qualified for the tournament in 2009, and a series of injuries and withdrawals by top players had put their chances into heavy doubt after lackluster performances earlier in the tournament.

Canada went out to an early lead with a 23rd minute goal by Queens Park Rangers’ youth player Dylan Carreiro, who bounced a long distance shot under the arms of US keeper Cody Cropper.  Real Salt Lake academy product Luis Gil equalized six minutes later, converting a Daniel Cuevas cross.   A 35th minute strike by LA Galaxy homegrown player Jose Villareal would give the Americans a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the match, with Will Trapp of the Columbus Crew academy tacking one on in first half stoppage and Villareal marking another in the second half.

The win marks the first time since June of 2011 that the United States men have beaten Canada on any level.  Since the first match of the Gold Cup in Detroit, the two senior sides have played to two draws, while the Americans disastrously fell to the Tophats 2-0 in the Olympic Qualifying tournament this past spring.

While the American squad has qualified for the U20 World Cup, along with three other teams from CONCACAF, the tournament will continue, with the US facing Cuba in the semifinals.  Many of the key players, including Gil, Trapp and Villareal will depart, however, to return to their club teams.  Ramos will be left with only 15 players, including goalkeepers, to finish out the tournament.  Union Academy Goalkeeper Zac Steffen, who has not seen the pitch yet in this tournament, may get a run out in one of the final two matches.

The U20 World Cup will kick off in Turkey June 21st.  The US will hope to strengthen their squad with the addition of several European-based players who were unable to secure release for the qualifying tournament.  Top on Coach Ramos’ list will be Hertha Berlin centerback John Anthony Brooks, who is already knocking on the door of the Senior national team, and has been courted by the German U-20 squad.  Zack Pfeffer, a notable omission from the qualifying roster, could also be selected for the World Cup squad, given his reportedly strong play for the Hoffenheim youth team, where he scored his third league goal Tuesday.

Stick with Philly Sports Live for continuing coverage of the Baby Nat’s March to Ankara.