March 3, 2013
U.S. U-20s stumble in OT, fall to El Tri, 3-1
PUEBLA, Mexico – It does not seem to matter at what level, the United States cannot get past Mexico in a CONCACAF competition. On Sunday, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National team fell to the Tri Colores 3-1 in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship final in front of a sold-out crowd at Estadio Cuauhtémoc in Puebla.
Tab Ramos' young team fell behind early, but rebounded with a first-half penalty kick dispatched by midfielder Benji Joya to finish regulation tied 1-1. In overtime, the hosts pulled away with two goals, including a spectacular overhead kick for the game-winner by Julio Gomez, to earn the championship.
The U.S. was the only team to score against Mexico and finished the tournament with a 4-1-0 record.
The U.S. now looks forward to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which runs June 21-July 13 in Turkey. The USA's best performance in that event was a fourth-place showing in the seventh FIFA World Youth Championship in 1989 in Saudi Arabia.
Just four minutes into the game, Mexico grabbed the lead, with Jesus Corona opening the scoring for the home side. Corona got on the end of a long ball and rode successive challenges from Javan Torre and Dillon Serna before lifting the ball deftly over Cropper from 11 yards out.
Within minutes the USA equalized after earning a penalty kick when Hedgardo Marin handled Joya's shot from the top of the penalty area. Joya slotted home the penalty kick to Sanchez' right to bring the U.S. level in the 10 th minute for his first goal of the competition.
In extra time the hosts pulled away. Gomez, whose acrobatic finish proved to be the winner, met Espericueta's corner in the 99th minute to send the home crowd into raptures.
Running on fumes, the U-20s were reduced to 10 men after Shane O'Neill's late red card for a clumsy challenge. Shortly thereafter Espericueta put the result out of reach, converting a penalty kick after Juan Pablo Ocegueda impeded Corona in the area.