USA earns 3-0 victory over Fiji in FIFA U-20 World Cup group stage
SAN JUAN, Argentina – Three second-half goals lifted the U.S. U-20 Men’s Youth National Team to a 3-0 victory against Fiji, its second win in as many games at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Midfielder Diego Luna found the breakthrough in the 66th minute after the U.S. dominated the ball all afternoon. Pushing until the end, forward Cade Cowell netted another in the 88th and defender Caleb Wiley added an exclamation point in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time.
With six points from its first two matches, the U.S. currently sits atop Group B and is in excellent position to advance to the knockout stage. The top two teams in each of the six groups, as well as the four best third-place teams, move onto the Round of 16.
FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP – GROUP B STANDINGS
Next up, the U-20 MYNT will face Slovakia in its final group stage match on Friday, May 26 (2 p.m. ET; FS2, Universo).
While the U.S. held a heavy advantage in attack the entire match, outshooting Fiji 31-6 and outpossessing the Junior Bula Boys 78 percent to 22, it wasn’t able to find the back of the net until midway through the second half. Buoyed by a pair of halftime subs in Luna and midfielder Niko Tsakiris, the U.S. found a new spark after the break. The opening goal came after a nice interchange between the two as Luna pounced on a loose ball just inside the 18 and ripped a shot to the right side.
Making his World Cup debut after serving out a suspension from last summer’s Concacaf U-20 Championship, Cowell troubled Fiji from the opening whistle, creating some of the USA’s first danger of the day with hard-hit shots in the 15th and 17th minutes. His efforts were finally rewarded in the 88th when he rocketed a shot from the top of the box to double the American advantage.
The U.S. continued to push for more after going up 2-0, fighting for the entirety of the second half’s 11 minutes of extra time, compounded by a number of Fiji injuries down the stretch. Second-half sub Caleb Wiley nearly teed up two goals shortly after 90 minutes of play. In the first minute of stoppage time, he saw a cross deflected before it fell to Cowell, who rocketed a shot off the crossbar. In the third, he sent a cross in for Luna at the top of the box, who laid it off to Cowell before the forward hit another shot off the post.
Wiley finally got on the scoresheet in the ninth minute of extra time, polishing off a Brandan Craig free kick from 25 yards out. Craig’s hard bouncing effort rattled off the left post and Wiley tapped home the rebound.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Diego Luna, 66th minute: Midfielder Daniel Edelman played downfield to midfielder Niko Tsakiris, who dished it to Luna at the top right corner of the box. He centered it to forward Cade Cowell, but a Fiji defender took him down and dispossessed the forward. Luna pounced on the loose ball just inside the 18 and ripped a shot to the right post for the game’s opening tally. USA 1, FIJ 0
USA – Cade Cowell (Diego Luna), 88th minute: Midfielder Jack McGlynn played a long ball up to Luna in the box. He controlled it and shielded the ball from a defender before playing to Cowell just beyond the top of the box. The forward made a move around a Fiji player towards center before launching a shot to double the U.S. lead. USA 2, FIJ 0
USA – Caleb Wiley, 90+9th minute: Defender Brandan Craig lined up for a free kick from 25 yards out beyond the top right corner of the box. He hit a hard bouncing effort towards goal that deflected off the left post and the onrushing Wiley tapped it in for the game’s final goal. USA 3, FIJ 0
- Diego Luna’s goal was his fifth for the U-20s as he and midfielder Jack McGlynn made their team-leading 18th appearances.
- Cade Cowell’s goal was his third in eight caps, while Wiley’s was his first in seven appearances.
- Goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, defenders Brandan Craig and Jonathan Gómez plus McGlynn have played all 180 minutes for the USA thus far in Argentina.
-U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Fiji
Date: May 23, 2023
Competition: 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group B
Venue: Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario; San Juan, Argentina
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET (3 p.m. local)
Weather: 71 degrees, few clouds
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 3 3
FIJ 0 0 0
USA – Diego Luna 66th minute
USA – Cade Cowell (Diego Luna) 88
USA – Caleb Wiley 90+9
USA: 1-Gaga Slonina; 2-Michael Halliday, 14-Marcus Ferkranus, 5-Brandan Craig, 13-Jonathan Gómez; 6-Daniel Edelman (18-Obed Vargas, 79), 8-Jack McGlynn, 16-Owen Wolff (15-Niko Tsakiris, 46); 7-Quinn Sullivan (10-Diego Luna, 46), 19-Darren Yapi (3-Caleb Wiley, 75), 9-Cade Cowell
Substitutes not used: 12-Antonio Carrera, 21-Alex Borto, 4-Josh Wynder, 17-Justin Che
Head coach: Mikey Varas
FIJ: 1-Aydin Mustahib; 2-Peter Ravai, 4-Abdullah Aiyas (Capt.), 5-Sakiusa Saqiri (14-Apisai Rabuka, 54), 6-Thomas Dunn, 7-Arshad Khan (3-Eneriko Matau, 80), 9-Faazil Ali (11-Gulam Razool, 73), 10-Nabil Begg, 16-Geary Kubu (18-Samuela Navoce, 73), 17-Mohammed Raheem, 21-Sterling Vasconcellos
Substitutes not used: 13-Joji Vuakaca, 20-Isikeli Sevanaia, 8-Joshua Laqertabua, 12-Clarence Hussain, 15-Sailasa Ratu, 19-Junior Dekedeke, 20-Isikeli Sevanaia
Head coach: Bobby Mimms
Stats Summary: USA / FIJ
Shots on Goal: 7/2
Corner Kicks: 9/1
USA – Jack McGlynn (Caution) 38th minute
FIJ – Sakiusa Saqiri (Caution) 45
USA – Diego Luna (Caution) 90
FIJ – Mohammed Raheem (Caution) 90+7
Referee: Mohamed Marouf (EGY)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakaria Brinsi (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abbes Akram Zerhouni (ALG)
Fourth Official: Ahmad Al Ali (KUW)
VAR: Ahmed Darwish (UAE)
AVAR 1: Amr El Shinawi (EGY)