U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team Clinches Berth To 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup With 2-0 Victory Vs. Costa RicaUSA Advances to Concacaf U-20 Championship Semifinal Against Host Honduras on Friday, July 1 (9 p.m. ET; FS1, TUDN) Paxten Aaronson Scores Early in Each Half to Lead U-20s to Victory
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (June 28, 2022) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team qualified to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship. Forward Paxten Aaronson got the USA off to a fast start with a goal in the fifth minute and netted again five minutes into the second half to cement the U.S. lead.
With the victory, the USA becomes the sixth team to qualify for the 2023 U-20 World Cup in Indonesia and will be joined by Honduras, who topped Panama 2-1 in the second quarterfinal match tonight, and two other quarterfinal winners from Concacaf. The U.S. advances to the semifinals of the Concacaf U-20 Championship against Honduras (9 p.m. ET; FS1, TUDN), with the winner qualifying to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
From the opening whistle, Costa Rica came out the most aggressively of any U.S. opponent thus far in the tournament. While Los Ticos showed bite from the beginning, the USA’s first real attacking run created an early opening goal. Midfielder Alejandro Alvarado Jr. played to forward Quinn Sullivan on the right side of the box, who combined nicely with Aaronson to put the U.S. up early.
Costa Rica renewed its attacking efforts after the early goal, as goalkeeper Chris Brady and the U.S. back line saw its most action of the tournament. Brady was called on to make a few stops in the first half, while center backs Brandan Craig and Jalen Neal did well to defuse a number of dangerous looks as Los Ticos drew a number of fouls and threatened on several free kick opportunities in USA territory.
The U.S. midfield duo of Alvarado Jr. and Luna did well to push the ball forward, while the U.S. attack held strong through some physical defense and hard fouls by the Costa Ricans. The U-20s nearly doubled their advantage in the 30th minute as a great run by Aaronson set up Sullivan, but Costa Rica goalkeeper Bayron Mora got a hand on the attempt to push it out of bounds. Another solid save from Mora stopped a good header from midfielder Rokas Pukstas on the ensuing corner kick.
A number of yellow cards were shown in the 37th minute after a hard foul on Aaronson, but after the initial free kick was blocked by the Costa Rica wall in the box, Sullivan again fired high on his follow-up shot.
After his quick tally to open the game, Aaronson repeated the feat at the start of the second half, scoring again in the 49th. This time, forward Caden Clark teed up Aaronson, centering a nice cross from defender Michael Halliday for Aaronson to hit one-time on the bounce from the top of the six-yard box.
Costa Rica responded to the doubled deficit with fervor, sending a wave of pressure towards the U.S. back line. While Brady was called upon to make a leaping save in the 52nd minute, a handball was called on the USA in the 54th. While the referee pointed to the spot, Costa Rica midfielder Brandon Aguilera skied it over the crossbar as Los Ticos remained scoreless.
Costa Rica’s next best chance came in the 69th minute. On another free kick attempt in U.S. territory, Los Ticos sent a ball in from outside the top right corner of the box and got a head on it, but the attempt bounced off the post. Head coach Mikey Varas made all five substitutes down the stretch to see the game out and the USA did well to handle a few last-gasp efforts from the Central Americans and secure its spot in the next round.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA - Paxten Aaronson (Quinn Sullivan), 5th minute: On the counter after a Costa Rica attacking run, midfielder Alejandro Alvarado Jr. drove the ball forward and played to forward Sullivan on the top right corner of the 18. The Philadelphia Union product one-timed a pass to Aaronson, who let the ball bounce towards the penalty spot before hitting a hard rolling shot to the left post and past outstretched Costa Rica goalkeeper Bayron Mora. USA 1, CRC 0
USA - Paxten Aaronson (Caden Clark), 49th minute: Midfielder Diego Luna played up to defender Michael Halliday as he ran down the left wing and the outside back took a touch before launching a cross to the far left post. Clark was there to meet it near the end line, and he headed it across goal. Alvarado Jr. dummied a shot attempt at the near post and it bounced to Aaronson at the top of the six, where he shot to the right side for his second goal of the evening. USA 2, CRC 0
- The USA is now 6-3-4 all-time vs. Costa Rica at the Concacaf U-20 Championship. The U.S. has won four of its last five match-ups with Los Ticos, dating back to 2005.
- The USA qualified to a fifth straight FIFA U-20 World Cup. Mexico, New Zealand and Uruguay have a chance to join the U.S. as the only nations to qualify to every U-20 World Cup since 2013.
- In addition to the USA and Honduras, England, France, Israel, Italy and Slovakia have all qualified to the U-20 World Cup via the 2022 UEFA Under-19 Championship. Host Indonesia qualified automatically.
- Head coach Mikey Varas made six changes from the starting lineup that topped Nicaragua in the Round of 16. Goalkeeper Chris Brady, defenders Michael Halliday and Jalen Neal, midfielder Diego Luna plus forward Quinn Sullivan started both knockout stage matches.
- Forward Paxten Aaronson’s brace was his second of the tournament after also scoring twice in the opener vs. St. Kitts and Nevis. His four goals are tied with four other players for third-most at CU20.
- Eleven players have scored for the U.S. at the tournament: Sullivan (five goals), Aaronson (four), Cade Cowell, Niko Tsakiris (two each), Caden Clark, Mauricio Cuevas, Luna, Jack McGlynn, Neal, Rokas Pukstas and Tyler Wolff.
- Six players have registered an assist for the U.S.: Luna and Clark (four assists), Sullivan (three), Aaronson, Alejandro Alvarado Jr. and Cowell.
-U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Date: June 28, 2022
Competition: Concacaf U-20 Championship - Quarterfinal
Venue: Estadio Nacional; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local (7 p.m. ET)
Weather: 79 degrees, some clouds
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
CRC 0 0 0
USA - Paxten Aaronson (Quinn Sullivan) 5th minute
USA - Paxten Aaronson (Caden Clark) 49
USA: 1-Chris Brady; 13-Michael Halliday, 14-Jalen Neal, 5-Brandan Craig, 2-Mauricio Cuevas (Capt.); 20-Rokas Pukstas (6-Daniel Edelman, 56), 19-Alejandro Alvarado Jr., 15-Diego Luna (8-Jack McGlynn, 63); 7-Quinn Sullivan (9-Cade Cowell, 63), 10-Paxten Aaronson (16-Tyler Wolff, 78), 11-Caden Clark (17-Niko Tsakiris, 78)
Substitutes Not Used: 12-Antonio Carrera, 3-Noah Allen, 4-Marcus Ferkranus, 18-Jackson Hopkins
Head Coach: Mikey Varas
CRC: 18-Bayron Mora; 3-Douglas Sequeira (15-Jostin Telleria, 79), 5-Santiago Van Der Putten, 6-Ricardo Peña, 7-Andrey Soto, 10-Brandon Aguilera (Capt.) (16-Andrey Salmeron, 72), 11-Josimar Alcocer, 13-Keral Rios (12-Shawn Johnson, 62), 14-Timothy Arias, 19-Johel Aleman (8-Creichel Perez, 46), 20-Enyel Escoe (9-Doryan Rodriguez, 46)
Substitutes Not Used: 1-Abraham Madriz, 4-Brandon Calderon, 21-Kendrick Enriquez, 22-Denilson Vargas
Head Coach: Vladimir Quesada
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 12 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 7
Fouls: 26 / 18
Offside: 0 / 4
CRC - Timothy Arias (Caution) 35th minute
CRC - Santiago Van Der Putten (Caution) 36
USA - Quinn Sullivan (Caution) 36
CRC - Doryan Rodriguez (Caution) 81
USA - Daniel Edelman (Caution) 87
CRC - Andrey Soto (Caution) 90+3
Referee: Oshane Nation (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Ojay Duhaney (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Kevon Clarke (BRB)
Fourth Official: Daneon Parchment (JAM)
VAR: Tristley Bassue (SKN)
AVAR1: Benjamin Whitty (CAY)