VILA REAL SANTO ANTONIO, Portugal (June 14, 2013) – Two teams preparing for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup next week had one final preparation match, and the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team stepped up to the challenge.
Jose Villarreal, Shane O’Neill and Alonso Hernandez each scored a goal and goalkeeper Cody Cropper made eight saves as the USA defeated host Portugal’s U-20 squad 3-1 at Municipal Stadium.
Next up for the U-20 MNT is the Group A opener of the FIFA U-20 World Cup against Spain on Friday, June 21, in Istanbul, Turkey. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes.
The USA heads into that event on a high note, capitalizing on a couple of set piece chances to beat Portugal. Villarreal scored directly off his free kick just outside the right side of the box in the ninth minute. He slotted his left-footed shot from a difficult angle past Portugal goalkeeper Jose Sa at the near right post. The ball bounced once near Sa’s feet and hit the inside of the left-side netting for the early 1-0 lead.
O’Neill volleyed home the game-winning goal in the 51st minute off of Villarreal’s free kick from the right side. O’Neill made a run on the left side and Portugal’s entire defense fell asleep on the play as he was one-on-one against Portugal goalkeeper Bruno Varela and drove his shot inside the far right post for a 2-1 lead.
Hernandez pushed the U.S. cushion to 3-1 in the 53rd minute as another lapse by Portugal’s defense left a nearly wide-open net for Hernandez to aim at.
Peppered among the USA’s scoring, the defense came up huge in preserving the victory. The U.S. escaped an early scare when Portugal’s Aladje threatened the goal, only to see his shot blocked at the goal line by U.S. defender Juan Pablo Ocegueda.
Cropper was the main catalyst in limiting Portugal to only a Bruma goal in the 28th minute. Bruma created the majority of Portugal’s scoring chances, and Cropper had a slew of clutch stops along the way. He had five saves in the first half alone, including a 12th-minute kick save against Bruma and a 13th-minute punch save on Aladje’s header.
Cropper rushed off of his line to stuff a Bruma shot in the 83rd minute. And the big save of the game came in the 88th minute when Bruma’s well-struck free kick from 28 yards out was silenced with Cropper’s glove save, deflecting the shot off of the crossbar.
Cropper improved to 5-3-0 all-time with the U-20 MNT.
- Defender DeAndre Yedlin made his U-20 MNT international debut as the starting right back.
- Luis Gil, playing in his first U-20 MNT match since the quarterfinals of the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, had a shortened day as a head injury forced him out of the game in the 36th minute. Gil and Portugal’s Ricardo Alves knocked heads and Danny Garcia was a precautionary sub for Gil in the 40th minute.
- Shane O’Neill and Alonso Hernandez scored their first goals the U-20s. O’Neill played in his 10th game and Hernandez made his fourth appearance.
- Jose Villarreal’s goal was his team-leading fifth of the year and eighth of his U-20 MNT career in 11 matches overall.
- The U-20 MNT’s starting 11 featured seven players with Development Academy ties.
- The U-20s moved to 6-5-1 overall in international play this year.
-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Portugal
Date: June 14, 2013
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Municipal Stadium; Vila Real Santo Antonio, Portugal
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET
Weather: 81 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
POR 1 0 1
USA – Jose Villarreal 9th minute
POR – Bruma (Aladje) 28
USA – Shane O’Neill (Jose Villarreal) 51
USA – Alonso Hernandez 53
USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 14-DeAndre Yedlin, 6-Caleb Stanko (capt.), 25-Javan Torre (23-Shane O’Neill, 46), 19-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 20-Benji Joya (5-Mikey Lopez, 63), 4-Wil Trapp; 17-Jose Villarreal (11-Victor Pineda, 72), 16-Luis Gil (13-Danny Garcia, 40), 18-Mario Rodriguez (10-Daniel Cuevas, 46); 15-Alonso Hernandez (8-Kellyn Acosta, 81)
Subs Not Used: 12-Kendall McIntosh, 21-Eric Miller, 22-Zack Steffen, 24-Oscar Sorto
Head Coach: Tab Ramos
12-Jose Sa (1-Bruno Varela, 46); 2-Joao Cancelo (10-Ricardo Esgaio, 61), 3-Tiago Ferreira (4-Tiago Ilori, 46), 7-Ricardo Pereira (18-Tiago Silva, 61),
8-Joao Mario (capt.), 9-Aladje, 11-Bruma, 14-Edgar Ie, 15-Andre Gomes (13-Tomas Dabo, 61), 16-Ricardo Alves (6-Agostinho Ca, 46), 20-Kiko (5-Mica, 76)
Subs Not Used: 17-To-Ze, 21-Rafael Veloso
Head Coach: Edgar Borges
Stats Summary: USA / POR
Shots: 11 / 19
Shots on Goal: 6 / 10
Saves: 8 / 3
Corner Kicks: 1 / 7
Fouls: 12 / 15
Offside: 2 / 0
POR – Bruma (caution) 79th minute
Referee: Nuno Almeida
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Bras E
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Ribeiro
Fourth Official: Ivo Santos