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PREVIEW: USA continues Concacaf U-20 Championship group stage against Canada

U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Canada
2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship
Estadio Nacional; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
8:30 p.m. ET (TUDN and Concacaf App, Facebook & YouTube)
June 20, 2022

U-20 MYNT CONTINUES WCQ VS. CANADA:

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team will continue its World Cup qualifying quest on Monday, June 20 against regional rival Canada (8:30 p.m. ET; TUDN, Concacaf App, Facebook & YouTube).

The USA kicked off the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship with a bang, topping St. Kitts and Nevis 10-0 in its opening match as five players made their U-20 debuts and five netted their first U-20 international goals. Canada fell 1-0 to Cuba in its first game, as Cuba held strong despite going down to 10 men in the second half. The top three teams in each group advance to the Round of 16.

2022 CONCACAF U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP

USA SCHEDULE – GROUP E

Date Match-up Kickoff (ET)/Result TV Info Venue
Saturday, June 18 USA vs. St. Kitts and Nevis W 10-0 TUDN, Concacaf App, Facebook & YouTube Estadio Nacional; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Monday, June 20 USA vs. Canada 8:30 p.m. TUDN, Concacaf App, Facebook & YouTube Estadio Nacional; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Wednesday, June 22 USA vs. Cuba 8:30 p.m. ET TUDN, Concacaf App, Facebook & YouTube Estadio Nacional; Tegucigalpa, Honduras

USA VS. CANADA

  • The USA is 5-2-2 vs. Canada all-time at the Concacaf U-20 Championship. The nations last squared off in 2013, a 4-2 quarterfinal victory for the U.S. in Puebla, Mexico.
  • Canada has won the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1996. Since the tournament regularly started crowning a champion in 2009 (rather than only serving as World Cup qualifying), the Reds haven’t advanced past the quarterfinals.
  • Like the USA, Canada has appeared in 25 of 28 Concacaf U-20 Championships, but has qualified for just eight of 22 FIFA U-20 World Cups. Canada qualified automatically as host of the 2007 U-20 World Cup and has not participated in the tournament since.
  • At the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, Canada finished second in Group D with a 3-2-0 record and did not advance to the qualification stage.
  • Fourteen of Canada’s 20-player roster are based domestically, with eight players coming from Canadian MLS clubs and six from Canadian Premier League teams. Six players are based abroad in Germany (two), Brazil, England, France and Italy.

2022 CONCACAF U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP E STANDINGS

 

Team W L D GD Pts.
USA 1 0 0 10 3
Cuba 1 0 0 1 3
Canada 0 1 0 -1 0
St. Kitts and Nevis 0 1 0 -10 0

GROUP E RESULTS

Saturday, June 18

USA 10, St. Kitts and Nevis 0

Cuba 1, Canada 0

FLYING START FOR USA:

The U.S. U-20 MYNT got off to a strong start to World Cup qualifying with a dominant 10-0 win against St. Kitts and Nevis on Saturday afternoon. Out-possessing the Sugar Boyz 82 percent to 18 percent, the U.S. started the scoring with two penalty kicks from Cade Cowell and Caden Clark midway through the first half, both awarded after VAR review. The floodgates opened at the end of the half, when the USA netted four goals after the 42nd minute of play. The scoring continued after the break, when second-half substitute Paxten Aaronson bagged a brace in just three minutes and midfielder Niko Tsakiris netted his second in his first-ever international match for the U.S.

OPENING STRUGGLES FOR CANADA:

Canada fell 1-0 to a well-organized defensive effort from Cuba in its first match of World Cup qualifying. Kevin Martin netted the game’s lone goal late in the first half and despite Canada out-possessing the Caribbean side 71 percent to 29 percent, the Cuban defense was stout down the stretch. Cuba starting goalkeeper Ismel Morgado was sent off in the 72nd and Martin was forced into net as Cuba had already used all five substitutions, but a steely effort secured an opening three points for the Leones del Caribe.

2022 CONCACAF U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER BY POSITION (COLLEGE OR CLUB; HOMETOWN; U-20 CAPS/GOALS) 

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Christopher Brady (Chicago Fire FC; Naperville, Ill.; 1/0), 12-Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 1/0)

DEFENDERS (6): 3-Noah Allen (Inter Miami CF; Miramar, Fla.; 1/0), 5-Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.; 1/0), 2-Mauricio Cuevas (Club Brugge/BEL; Los Angeles, Calif.; 2/1), 4-Marcus Ferkranus (LA Galaxy; Santa Clarita, Calif.; 2/0), 13-Michael Halliday (Orlando City SC; Apopka, Fla.; 1/0), 14-Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; Lakewood, Calif.; 4/0) 

MIDFIELDERS (9): 10-Paxten Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.; 4/3), 19-Alejandro Alvarado Jr. (FC Vizela/POR; Los Angeles, Calif.; 1/0), 11-Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls; Wayzata, Minn.; 4/2), 6-Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls; Warren, N.J.; 3/0), 15-Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake; Sunnyvale, Calif.; 4/1), 8-Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.; 4/0), 20-Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split/CRO; Sillwater, Okla.; 4/1), 17-Niko Tsakiris (San Jose Earthquakes; Saratoga, Calif.; 1/2), 18-Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders FC; Anchorage, Alaska; 1/0)

FORWARDS (3): 9-Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; Ceres, Calif.; 3/1), 7-Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.; 3/1), 16-Tyler Wolff (Atlanta United FC; Braselton, Ga.; 2/1) 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • Five players made their U-20 international debuts against St. Kitts and Nevis: goalkeeper Antonio Carrera, defenders Noah Allen and Michael Halliday plus midfielders Alejandro Alvarado Jr. and Niko Tsakiris.
  • Following the opening match, all 20 players on the U.S. tournament roster have been capped at the U-20 level.
  • Defender Mauricio Cuevas, midfielders Rokas Pukstas and Tsakiris, as well as forwards Cade Cowell and Tyler Wolff all netted their first international goals vs. the Sugar Boyz.
  • Tsakiris bagged his brace in his first international match for the USA at any level. The second-youngest player on the roster, he turned 17 on June 19.
  • The USA’s 10 goals are its second-most all-time at the tournament. During the 2018 competition, the U.S. topped the U.S. Virgin Islands 13-0 in Group A play.
  • Midfielder Obed Vargas will join the team in Honduras following the conclusion of the group stage.

CANADA ROSTER (CLUB):

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Ben Alexander (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 18-Dino Bontis (Forge FC)

DEFENDERS (6): 2-Noah Abatneh (Lazio/ITA), 12-Loic Cloutier (Academie du CF Montreal), 15-Keesean Ferdinand (CF Montreal), 13-Kobe Franklin (Toronto FC II), 5-Jamie Knight-Level (Bristol City/ENG), 3-Kwasi Poku (Forge FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 6-Matteo Campagna (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 10-Matthew Catavolo (Valour FC), 11-Kamron Habibullah (Pacific FC), 16-Mael Henry (Academie du CF Montreal), 14-Gabriel Pellegrino (Freiburg/GER), 4-Justin Smith (Nice/FRA), 8-Rida Zouhit (CF Montreal) 

FORWARDS (5): 7-Jean-Aniel Assi (Calvary FC), 19-Tiago Coimbra (Palmeiras/BRA), 17-Jesse Costa (Wolfsburg/GER), 20-Hugo Mbongue (Toronto FC II), 9-Lowell Wright (York United FC)

ROAD TO HONDURAS:

The global COVID-19 pandemic canceled the planned 2020 Concacaf U-20 Championship in Honduras and subsequent 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia while forcing a long layoff in overall Youth National Team programming. The U-20 MYNT finally returned to the field in November 2021 at the Revelations Cup in Mexico, facing off against top competition in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico under new head coach Mikey Varas.

Varas has run three training camps this year to prepare for World Cup qualifying. The team gathered in Florida in January for a domestic training camp and scrimmages against MLS teams and then traveled to Argentina during the March international window for games against the host and River Plate. In April, Varas held a training camp in Southern California with a goal to expand the player pool.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT:

This year marks the 28th edition of the Concacaf U-20 Championship. The tournament began in 1962 as the Concacaf Youth Tournament, qualifying two teams to the FIFA U-20 World Cup from 1976-1994 and four teams from 1996 to now.

Following a myriad of different formats over the years, the 2022 competition introduces a new 20-team tournament akin to Concacaf’s most recent U-17 Men’s and U-20 and U-17 Women’s Championships. Sixteen countries are drawn into four groups of four, while four countries advance directly to the Round of 16 via a pre-qualifying tournament.

The top three finishers in each group qualify to the Round of 16, where they will be joined by the four teams from pre-qualifying. From there, it’s a knockout bracket to the tournament final. The four winners of the quarterfinal matches will qualify to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia, while the two winners of the semifinal matches will qualify to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The U.S. has participated in 25 of 28 Concacaf U-20 Championships, including each tournament since 1974, and qualified for the U-20 World Cup in 16 of 22 previous attempts. After missing the 2011 U-20 World Cup, the U.S. has played in the last four tournaments and is the only nation to reach the quarterfinals in the last three editions.

Concacaf and UEFA are the first confederations to host qualifying tournaments for the 2023 U-20 World Cup.

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