A 63rd minute header by Jose Villarreal proved to be the game winner as the United States under-20 team beat Costa Rica 1-0 at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP. After a fairly stagnant first half where both teams played heavy in the back, Luis Gil found Villarreal fairly unmarked on a corner kick and the LA Galaxy player soared above everyone to give the U.S. the victory. The U.S. won the majority of possession time and played better in the back. The win gave them the top spot in Group A and they will now face Canada in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. The winner gets a spot in the U20 World Cup next year.
The game had 49 foul calls and six yellow cards, including one to Wil Trapp who was dangerously close to being given a red. U.S. keeper Cody Cropper was largely untested. However, he did see a shot off the crossbar from Giovannie Cantillano. He was also forced to make a save in stoppage time to preserve the victory. The Canadian 5-1 victory over Nicaragua sealed the match up of border rivals. Costa Rica will now face Cuba in the quarterfinals.
Tab Ramos made four starting lineup changes from the Group A opener against Haiti. Outside backs Eric Miller and Juan Pablo Ocegueda got the call at right and left back, respectively, ahead of Boyd Okwuonu and Javan Torre. Midfielders Mikey Lopez and Danny Garcia earned their first starts in the tournament in place of Mario Rodriguez and Daniel Cuevas. Okwuonu and Rodriguez came on as second half substitutes. Highlights of the match are below.
The match against Canada is set for 6 pm Tuesday on Fox Soccer. The remainder of the quarterfinals will be set tomorrow as Mexico plays El Salvador while Jamaica plays Panama. All four teams have advance so the outcomes will simply determine seeding and opponents in the quarterfinals.