The U20 World Cup quarterfinal match that showcased USA vs Ecuador proved to be a great match up. The USA squad had already made history with making their first ever U20 World Cup quarterfinal. They’re such a fun team to watch. WAY more fun than what the senior national team showed this week vs Jamaica, but I’ll digress from that pathetic showing.
So about the USA vs Ecuador match
First Half – Just Down Right Fun Play
The first half was in a word fun. Both teams pressed and took aggressive chances on the offensive end. This has been US head coach, Tab Ramos’ MO. His fast pace offensive strategy creates such pressure on the opponent’s defense it forces mistakes and hopefully yields goal scoring opportunities.
The first half showed the US using it’s outside middies to create space down the flanks. However, the US wasn’t the first to strike blood.
No other way to describe Ecuador’s first goal. It was what we call in soccer a Golazo! Ecuador’s José Cifuentes unleashed a shot from about 25 yards that found the back of the net. In a nutshell, US keeper David Ochoa didn’t have a chance. It was just one of those shots that you just put your hands up and say “Welp, that was amazing”. Cheers to you José Cifuentes. Just a world class goal.
In soccer, after giving up a goal like that, it’s imperative to respond. And respond the US did! Just six minutes after Ecuador’s goal, the US responded with a goal to tie it up 1-1. Coming off a corner kick, Timothy Weah provided the equalizer with a great finish coming off loose ball inside the 18 yard box.
The US deserved this goal. In my opinion, they had the better of play in the first half. They just couldn’t capitalize.
Ecuador scores in the 45th minute! But did they? The initial shot clanged off the crossbar and Ecuador’s Jhon Espinoza appeared to slot in a pass. However, the linesman referee had its flag up. Offside was the call! The call goes to VAR (Video Assistant Referee). Essentially, it’s soccer’s version of instant replay that the NFL uses. In real time, it appears that Espinoza is offside. However, the pass to Espinoza was passed backwards. By rule, offside cannot be called if the pass is played backwards or behind the recipient.
So the goal stands!
The US pressed and pressed the 2nd half. They produced many chances to find the equalizer. They just couldn’t find the back of the net to send it to extra time.
Complete Match Highlights
What’s Next For The U20 National Team
So the U20s are eliminated. But they need to be proud of their advancement. It amazes me that these “youth” US National Teams are so fun to watch and much more successful than the Senoir Nation Team. I wish I caught more of their games in the U20 World Cup.
So what’s next for these U20 players? Most will go back to their club teams. But there’s another global competition on the horizon. The 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. In Olympic soccer, the players all have to be age23 years or younger. So I’d imagine that a few of these U20 players will be on the roster for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament that starts July 17th, 2019.
A note. The US has not qualified for the Summer Olympic Games since 2008. YIKES!!