PUEBLA, Mexico (Feb 26, 2013) – The United States U20’s spotted Canada a 23rd minute goal before storming back to win the game 4-2, while claiming a place in this summer’s U20 World Cup in Turkey. The young Yanks were in control early until Dylan Carrerio’s long range blast put Canada ahead at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP.
To quote a much older Yank, baseball legend Yogi Berra, it looked like a case of deja vu all over again for a U.S. youth team. But with the specter of joining the 2011 U20 and 2012 U23 teams as famous flops, the Americans responded. Daniel Cuevas got things started with a darting run through the Canadian defense, that he capped with a perfect cross for Luis Gil. Gil controlled beautifully and fired a fine equalizer for the U.S.
Canada’s hopes took a blow when captain and defensive leader Doneil Henry limped off. The Maple Leafs’ fine young keeper Maxime Crepeau, did what he could to keep his team in the hunt, saving first from Jose Villarreal and then from Gil, before Villarreal added a second U.S. goal in the 40th minute. Mario Rodriguez provided the low, hard cross and Villarreal finished with a deft touch.
A little bit of good fortune sent the U.S. into the break with a 3-1 lead, when Will Trapp’s long range shot deflected past Crepeau in first half stoppage time.
A key exchange early in the second half went a long way towards determining who was going to Turkey and who was staying home. The sequence started when U.S. captain Caleb Stanko tackled Samuel Piette, and the Canadian midfielder went down in the box. It could easily have been a penalty, and quite possibly a 3-2 game. But the ref waved play on, and a minute later Villarreal shot the U.S. to a 4-1 lead.
The Americans strung together a fine series of passes before Benji Joya passed up a shot to feed Villarreal. The L.A. Galaxy man knocked the ball past the defense and put his chance away. It seemed as if Villarreal had put the Canadians away too, but the underdogs were not so easily disposed of.
U.S keeper Cropper was called into action in the 56th minute and saved well from Caleb Clarke. But Piette gave the big Southampton man no chance when he pounced on a clearance from Trapp in the 64th minute, hammering home from about 25 yards, and cutting the U.S. lead in half.
Canada had the Americans somewhat unnerved, but Tab Ramos’ men regained their composure and if not for some outstanding play from Crepeau in the Canadian goal, a U.S. rout may well have been on.
The U.S. finished with a flourish, with substitute Dillon Serna rattling Crepeau’s crossbar, before the Canuck keeper went full stretch to keep Mario Rodriguez off of the score sheet. As the clock ran down on their World Cup dream, Canada lost their cool and a head butt saw Manjrekar James exit with a straight red.
For the United States it is on to the Concacaf World Cup qualifying semifinal, but far more importantly, it is on to Turkey, and the FIFA U20 World Cup.
CAN – Dylan Carreiro 23rd minute
USA – Luis Gil (Daniel Cuevas) 29
USA – Jose Villarreal (Mario Rodriguez) 40
USA – Wil Trapp 45+1
USA – Jose Villarreal (Benji Joya) 54
CAN – Samuel Piette 64
USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 2-Boyd Okwuonu, 4-Caleb Stanko (capt.), 5-Shane O’Neill, 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 8-Benji Joya, 6-Wil Trapp; 9-Mario Rodriguez (19-Brandon Allen, 90+2), 10-Luis Gil (17-Danny Garcia, 77), 20-Daniel Cuevas; 7-Jose Villarreal (16-Dillon Serna, 84)
Substitutions Not Used: 11-Jerome Kiesewetter, 12-Kendall McIntosh, 14-Javan Torre, 18-Eric Miller, 22-Zack Steffen
Not available: 15-Mikey Lopez
Head coach: Tab Ramos
CAN: 18-Maxime Crépeau; 2-Jon Dollery, 3-Marco Lapenna, 4-Doneil Henry (capt.) (15-Manjrekar James, 33’), 5-Daniel Stanese, 6-Samuel Piette, 7-Ben Fisk, 9-Caleb Clarke, 12-Dylan Carreiro, 13-Alessandro Riggi (10-Kevin Aleman, 46), 16-Mauro Eustaquio (22-Stefan Vukovic, 76’)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Richard Gomes, 8-Zakaria Messoudi, 11-Michael Petrasso, 17-Anthony Jackson-Hamel, 21-Ben McKendry, 23-Allan Zebie,
Head coach: Nick Dasovic