The U.S. Under-20 National Team managed to get three points in the first match against Haiti in CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifying. The US. squad took a 1-0 lead in the third minute when Luis Gil converted a penalty. Daniel Cuevas, who stole the show in the first half, converted in the 26th minute to put the U.S. up two. Cuevas also caused the penalty in the opening minutes. They managed to hold on to the lead despite an early second half goal from Haiti. This gives the U.S. the early lead in their group before meeting Costa Rica on Friday.
Cuevas was hard to handle on the left side early. His pace startled Haiti and he was pulled down in the box on a tackle that may have started just outside the line. Gil easily converted the penalty.
About 20 minutes later Cuevas settled an errant cross and had plenty of time to blast it over the keeper.
The momentum quickly began to swing as Haiti pushed the pace. The U.S. back line was composed of largely center backs or defensive midfielders. The back line was being challenged and Will Trapp was the only midfielder getting back to help. Wilberne Augusmat would score early in the second half and Haiti continued to own possession and best chances.
The spacing became a major issue for the U.S. There was simply too many spaces for Haiti to invade. The match against Costa Rica will need to have a more compact U.S. defense. Boyd Okwuonu was victimized on the Augusmat goal and did not recover his form. Juan Pablo Ocegueda was on the bench in favor of Javan Torre at left back despite Ocegueda getting most of the minutes in the last camps.
There should be a few changes against Costa Rica. The U.S. not only had to weather a full second half attack, but also a referee that refused to call any fouls in the second half. Mikey Lopez came on as a substitute, but could start on Friday. The match against Costa Rica will be live on Fox Soccer on Friday at 6:30 PM EST.