U.S. Finishes with One Point in Tournament’s “Group of Death”
KAYSERI, Turkey (June 27, 2013) – Despite a valiant effort in the tournament’s “Group of Death,” the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team was knocked out of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup after a 4-1 loss to Ghana this evening at Kadir Has Stadium.
Needing a win to finish in third place in Group A, which also included tournament favorites Spain and France, to possibly earn a ticket to the Round of 16 as one of the four third-place teams, the U.S. couldn’t hold off a potent Ghana attack. The U.S. lost to Spain 4-1 in the opening match before drawing 1-1 against France and finished the group in fourth place with one point.
Ghana had a total of 25 shots, including 17 on goal, as they peppered the U.S. defense and tested U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper throughout the match. Despite the score line, Cropper did a remarkable job to keep the U.S. in the game until the final 12 minutes when Ghana scored their third and fourth goals.
Early on, the U.S. had a couple of chances from Mario Rodriguez and Jose Villarreal, but neither midfielder was able to capitalize. In the 27th minute, Rodriguez got the ball on the left sideline and cut inside along the top of the penalty area finding room to hit a shot on goal, but was unable to get power behind the effort and goalkeeper Eric Antwi was there for the easy stop.
A minute later, Villarreal had an opportunity with a blast from 22 yards out, but Antwi parried the shot over the bar.
In the 33rd minute, Cropper came up with a huge save during what appeared was going to be a definite goal for Ghana. After clearing a Ghana corner kick out of the penalty area, Seidu Salifu unleashed a shot from the top of the penalty area that was deflected and eventually fell to Lawrence Lartey. The Ghana captain quickly spun and hit a left-footed shot from six yards out, but Cropper was able to make a fantastic reaction save from a sitting position and defender Mikey Lopez cleared out the rebound.
A poor effort to clear the ball out of the U.S. area in the 38th minute provided Ghana with their initial lead. After a strike from 30 yards out was deflected, a scramble of U.S. and Ghana players tried to get control of the ball just inside the penalty area before it squirted forward towards Frank Acheampong, who appeared to be in an offside position. The assistant’s flag stayed down and Acheampong quickly turned and slotted his point blank shot into the lower right corner past a helpless Cropper.
Ghana doubled their advantage in the 58th minute when a turnover in midfielder allowed Yiadom Boakye to dribble towards the top of the penalty area before finding Assifuah to his left a few yards inside the box. Assifuah took a settling touch and cut to his right to create enough space to curl his shot past a diving Cropper into the upper right corner.
The U.S. cut the lead in half in the 69th minute off a corner kick. Luis Gill played a short corner to Jose Villarreal, who then found Oscar Sorto near the top right corner of the penalty area. Sorto crossed the ball first-time into the box, finding a wide open Shane O’Neill who buried his header from eight yards out.
The U.S. continued to push forward and had some half-chances, but Ghana put the game away in the 78th minute with their own finish off a corner kick. Acheampong served the ball into the box where Assifuah headed home from six yards out for his second goal of the game.
Ghana added a final goal in the 83rd minute when Francis Narh tracked down a cross near the endline and slipped the ball back inside the box to Kennedy Ashia. The second-half substitute hit a first-time strike through the legs of Cropper.
- After advancing to the Round of 16 in six straight U-20 World Cups from 1999-2007, the U.S. has failed to move on to the second round in the past two tournaments in 2009 and 2013. The U.S. did not qualify for the World Cup in 2011.
- The four goals allowed were the most the U.S. has even given up in their third and final group game at a U-20 World Cup.
- The U.S. now has a 4-7-2 record in their third and final group matches in the U-20 World Cup.
- The U-20 MNT is now 18-26-7 all-time in FIFA World Youth Championship and FIFA U-20 World Cup competition.
- The U-20s moved to 6-7-2 overall in international play this year.
- The USA is has allowed a goal in 12 straight U-20 World Cup games. The last time the USA posted a shutout was during the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland, when the squad had three straight clean sheets on June 11, 14 and 18.
- Midfielder Benji Joya was unavailable Thursday, serving a one-game suspension because of yellow card accumulation from the previous two matches. Mikey Lopez started in place of Joya.
- Defender Caleb Stanko returned to the starting lineup ahead of Javan Torre and paired alongside Shane O’Neill. This marks the third variation of center backs among the three players as O’Neill missed the opening game against Spain because of a red card suspension issued during the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
- Oscar Sorto earned his first start for the U-20s in this World Cup. Sorto was a halftime sub for Alonso Hernandez against France en route to a 1-1 draw.
- Jose Villarreal was pushed up front in head coach Tab Ramos’ 4-2-3-1 formation. Hernandez had started the first two Group A games but did not crack the starting lineup against Ghana.
- Nine starters in the U-20 MNT lineup against Ghana have ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Ghana
Date: June 27, 2013
Competition: 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group A
Venue: Kadir Has Stadium; Kayseri, Turkey
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
Weather: 79 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
GHA 1 3 4
GHA – Frank Acheampong 38th minute
GHA – Ebenezer Assifuah (Yiadom Boakye) 58
USA – Shane O’Neill (Oscar Sorto) 69
GHA – Ebenezer Assifuah (Frank Acheampong) 78
GHA – Kennedy Ashia 83
1-Cody Cropper; 2-DeAndre Yedlin (20-Daniel Cuevas, 54), 4-Caleb Stanko (capt.), 5-Shane O’Neill, 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 15-Mikey Lopez (17-Danny Garcia,
46), 6-Wil Trapp; 18-Oscar Sorto, 10-Luis Gil, 9-Mario Rodriguez (7-Victor Pineda, 79); 11-Jose Villarreal
Subs Not Used:, 12-Kendall McIntosh, 13-Eric Miller, 14-Javan Torre, 16-Kellyn Acosta, 19-Alonso Hernandez, 21-Zack Steffen
Unavailable: 8-Benji Joya (suspended – yellow card accumulation)
Head Coach: Tab Ramos
1-Eric Antwi; 4-Joseph Attamah, 5-Abdul Rahman Baba, 7-Frank Acheampong (3-Ebenezer Ofori, 89), 8-Seidu Salifu, 10-Clifford Aboagye, 13-Richmond Nketiah,
14-Lawrence Lartey (capt.), 17-Ebenezer Assifuah, 19-Moses Odjer (15-Kennedy Ashia, 74), 20-Yiadom Boakye (9-Francis Narh,74)
Subs Not Used: 2-Jeremiah Arkorful, 6-Joseph Duncan, 11-Baba Mensah, 12-Michael Sai, 15-Kennedy Ashia, 16-Richard Ofori, 18-Michael Anaba, 21-Princebell Addico
Head Coach: Sellas Tetteh
Stats Summary: USA / GHA
Shots: 10 / 25
Shots on Goal: 6 / 17
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 6
Fouls: 17 / 13
Offside: 1 / 3
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution) 30th minute
GHA – Moses Odjer (caution) 40
GHA – Kennedy Ashia (caution) 84
GHA – Lawrence Lartey (caution) 85
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Tulefat (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ebrahim Saleh (BHR)
Fourth Official: Carlos Vera (ECU)
ussoccer.com U-20 Man of the Match: Shane O'Neill