USA falls to Ecuador 2-1 in FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinals
GDYNIA, Poland (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell 2-1 to Ecuador in the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. All three goals came in the first half with Tim Weah scoring his second U-20 strike for the U.S. and a lucky technicality allowing Ecuador’s winning goal to stand.
After becoming the only nation to reach the quarterfinals of the last three U-20 World Cups, the USA will send its players back to their professional clubs to continue their development and look to continue its run of strong results at FIFA’s oldest youth world championship in 2021.
The opening 10 minutes were a harbinger of the match to follow as Ecuador’s high energy carried play but the U.S. defense held firm and methodically brought the team into the game.
Near the 20 minute mark, Weah hit a rising shot that just lifted over the bar and Alex Mendez followed up minutes later with another long drive that forced Moises Ramirez into a diving save in the Ecuador goal.
The initial breakthrough came in the 30th as Ecuador got out on the break. Jose Cifuentes cuts inside from the left wing to avoid pressure and fired a bullet from 20 yards out into the right side of the goal for the opening 1-0 lead.
A Mendez free kick moments later grazed past the post as the U.S. built toward an equalizer which came in the 36th minute. The U.S. won a corner that Mendez served in looking for Chris Richards but the ball deflected up in the air off a defender before falling perfectly for an alert Weah to volley home.
The U.S. then nearly took the lead on a counterattack, but Weah’s cross for Sebastian Soto was just out of reach for the striker, who finished as the USA’s leading scorer at the tournament with four goals.
Just before halftime, Ecuador retook the lead as a long-range shot off the crossbar rebounded to Leonardo Campana. The forward fed it across the six yard box to Jhon Espinoza, who was behind his defender but not ahead of the ball and therefore onside to bundle it into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
As he had done to positive effect earlier in the tournament, U.S. head coach Tab Ramos turned to his bench, bringing on Ulysses Llanez to start the second half, and the speedy attacker immediately improved the USA’s offense.
While goalkeeper David Ochoa made a pair of big stops as the game wore on the keep the USA within striking distance, the young Americans couldn’t find the final product despite carving out a number of opportunities in the final 45 minutes to keep their impressive run going.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
ECU – Jose Cifuentes, 30th minute: After a spell of U.S. possession, Ecuador broke the pressure with a pass to Cifuentes on the left wing and the speedy attacker carried deep into the U.S. half before cutting inside past one defender and the recovery run of another to rip a hard shot into the far right side of the net for the lead. USA 0, ECU 1 [WATCH]
USA – Tim Weah, 36th minute : The U.S. won a corner kick that Alex Mendez served toward the near post for the run of Chris Richards. The ball deflected up in the air off of Richards’ defender and fell perfectly for Weah to volley past a flat-footed goalkeeper for the equalizer. USA 1, ECU 1 [WATCH]
ECU – Jhon Espinoza (Leonardo Campana), 43rd minute : An Ecuador shot from the top of the box hit the crossbar and rebounded right to Campana. The forward drove to the left endline before squaring the ball across the six yard box to the crashing Espinoza who was behind his defender but not ahead of the ball and thus still in an onside position. With his defender trying to clear the cross, Espinoza slid to drag the ball over the goal line for the game winner. USA 1, ECU 2 [WATCH] FINAL
- Head coach Tab Ramos made three changes to the line-up that defeated France in the Round of 16, slotting in goalkeeper David Ochoa and midfielders Chris Durkin and Alex Mendez for goalkeeper Brady Scott and midfielders Richard Ledezma and Brandon Servania.
- After missing the game against France due to yellow card suspension, Alex Mendez picked up his team-leading 19th U-20 cap.
- Tim Weah scored his second U-20 World Cup goal. He was involved (goal or assist) in four of the USA’s eight goals in Poland.
– U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Ecuador
Date: June 8, 2019
Competition: 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup; Quarterfinals
Venue: Gdynia Stadium; Gdynia, Poland
Kickoff: 11:30 a.m. ET (5:30 p.m. local time)
Weather: 66 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
ECU 2 0 1
ECU – Jose Cifuentes 30th minute
USA – Tim Weah 36
ECU – Jhon Espinoza 43
USA: 12-David Ochoa, 2-Sergiño Dest, 3-Chris Gloster, 5-Chris Richards, 6-Chris Durkin, 8-Alex Mendez (20-Richard Ledezma, 74), 9-Sebastian Soto, 10-Paxton Pomykal (capt.), 11-Tim Weah, 13-Aboubacar Keita (19-Justin Rennicks, 86), 17-Konrad de la Fuente (18-Ulysses Llanez, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Brady Scott, 21-CJ Dos Santos, 4-Mark McKenzie, 7-Julian Araujo, 14-Edwin Cerrillo, 15-Matthew Real, 16-Brandon Servania
Head Coach: Tab Ramos
ECU: 1-Moises Ramirez; 2-Jackson Prozo, 3-Diego Palacios (15-Luis Castillo, 57), 4-Jhon Espinoza, 6-Gustavo Vallecilla, 8-Jose Cifuentes, 9-Leonardo Campana (19-Daniel Segura, 89), 10-Jordan Rezabala (5-Jordy Alcivar, 75), 11-Alexander Alvarado, 16-Sergio Quintero, 20-Gonzalo Plata
Subs not used: 7-Luis Estupinan, 12-Pierre Bellolio, 13-Jefferson Arce, 14-Luis Castillo, 18-Luis Loor, 21-Johan Lara, 17-Stiven Plaza
Head coach: Jorge Celico
Stats Summary: USA / ECU
Shots: 11 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 9 / 12
Offside: 1 / 1
USA – Chris Durkin (caution) 45+3rd minute
USA – Tim Weah (caution) 77
Referee: Benoit Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frederic Haquette (FRA)
4th Official: Abdelkader Zitouni (TAH)