The U.S. under-20 team had never won a CONCACAF tournament final entering the match against the home side Mexico tonight. Their strong effort fell short in extra time as Mexico scored two goals after the 90th minute against a tiring team to earn the win in Puebla. The United States had already earned their birth to the World Cup, but played a tough match to get the game to extra time. Their legs were gone by then as they were playing with a short bench. Daniel Cuevas, Wil Trapp and Jose Villarreal named to the Best XI team of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The team will now disburse and focus on the World Cup in Turkey.
The U.S. found themselves down after just five minutes. Jesus Corona beat two defenders and chipped the ball past Cody Cropper. That ignited Cropper who tried to control the field from his spot in goal. As the home crowd cheered and the band played Corona threatened again but Cropper got a mitt out to save it. Benji Joya would tie the match in the tenth minute from the spot.
The match got a bit chippy and there were several questions of the the referee. The yellow card earned by Briseno in the 31st minute was a harsh tackle that could have easily been a straight red. Mikey Lopez earned a yellow card for the U.S. just before halftime. The fatigue became noticeable as the end of the first approached. The back line was a bit untidy but midfield pressure was making up for it.
Second half possession belonged to Mexico. The U.S. was unable to control possession with short passes. The best chance for the U.S. in the second half came off a corner that was sent back in. Mario Rodriguez got his head to hit but it went over the bar. It was just a matter of holding on at this point. Brandon Allen was the only substitute used in the match. Shane O’Neill would receive a red card in the 112th minute to seal the Mexican victory. The third goal from Mexico would come a minute after the red card.
Tab Ramos and the staff of this team have a lot to be excited about as they head into the World Cup. There are other players that may come in to solidify the backline. Daniel Cuevas and Jose Villarreal are dynamic. Luis Gil and Joyi are great technicians in the midfield. The U20 World Cup begins on June 21.