Preview: U-20 MYNT Sets Sights On Olympic Qualification In Concacaf U-20 Championship Semifinal Vs. Honduras On July 12022 Concacaf U-20 Championship - Semifinal; Friday, July 1; Estadio Morazán; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; 9 p.m. ET (FS1, TUDN)
OLYMPICS ON THE LINE:
With its FIFA U-20 World Cup berth secured, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team will face host Honduras in the Concacaf U-20 Championship Semifinals on July 1 for a berth to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The USA is seeking its first appearance at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since Beijing 2008 and is aiming to win its third-straight Concacaf U-20 Championship. The U-20 MYNT secured one of the region’s four U-20 World Cup berths with a strong 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in the tournament quarterfinals.Honduras came from behind to defeat Panama 2-1 in the quarterfinals before a raucous sell-out crowd at Estadio Morazán in San Pedro Sula. Los Catrachos are aiming for their fifth straight Olympic qualification as well as their third Concacaf U-20 title and first since 1994.
USA VS. HONDURAS:
U-20 WORLD CUP SECURED:
The USA clinched a spot at its fifth straight FIFA U-20 World Cup with an emotional 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in the tournament quarterfinals. Forward Paxten Aaronson scored in the first five minutes of each half to lead the U.S. to victory.Despite early pressure from Costa Rica, midfielder Alejandro Alvarado Jr. drove the ball downfield and found forward Quinn Sullivan at the corner of the box. He set up Aaronson, his Philadelphia Union teammate, for the opening goal. At the start of the second half, forward Caden Clark headed a ball across goal for Aarosnon to hammer home.
Costa Rica provided the USA’s fiercest test yet at the tournament and Los Ticos pressured the U.S. back line with a number of dangerous scoring opportunities. Goalkeeper Chris Brady was forced to make a number of important saves, while Los Ticos also missed a penalty in the 54th minute.
HONDURAS REACHES SEMIS AT HOME:
Honduras came from behind to clinch its spot in the semifinals and U-20 World Cup, topping Panama 2-1 in the quarters. Los Canaleros got off on the front foot and scored in the 22nd minute, but Honduras earned a penalty in the 43rd for the opportunity to tie things up. While Jeyson Contreras missed his initial attempt, Marco Aceituno hammered home the rebound to equalize. The game-winner came on another penalty in the 74th minute to secure Honduras’ advancement and send the sell-out crowd at Estadio Morazán into a frenzy.
Prior to the quarterfinals, Honduras rolled through the group stage, topping Antigua and Barbuda 3-0, Jamaica 5-0 and Costa Rica 1-0. In the Round of 16, Honduras topped Curaçao 4-1, putting the game away with two second-half goals. Eight players have scored for Los Catrachos, led by six goals from Aceituno.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
2022 CONCACAF U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN; U-20 CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Christopher Brady (Chicago Fire FC; Naperville, Ill.; 5/0), Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 1/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Noah Allen (Inter Miami CF; Miramar, Fla.; 3/0), Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.; 4/0), Mauricio Cuevas (Club Brugge/BEL; Los Angeles, Calif.; 6/1), Marcus Ferkranus (LA Galaxy; Santa Clarita, Calif.; 4/0), Michael Halliday (Orlando City SC; Apopka, Fla.; 5/0), Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; Lakewood, Calif.; 7/1)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Paxten Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.; 8/5), Alejandro Alvarado Jr. (FC Vizela/POR; Los Angeles, Calif.; 4/0), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls; Wayzata, Minn.; 8/2), Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls; Warren, N.J.; 6/0), Jackson Hopkins (D.C. United; Fredericksburg, Va.; 1/0), Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake; Sunnyvale, Calif.; 8/2), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.; 8/1), Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split/CRO; Sillwater, Okla.; 7/1), Niko Tsakiris (San Jose Earthquakes; Saratoga, Calif.; 3/2)
FORWARDS (3): Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; Ceres, Calif.; 7/2), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.; 7/6), Tyler Wolff (Atlanta United FC; Braselton, Ga.; 6/1)
This year marks the 28th edition of the Concacaf U-20 Championship. The tournament began in 1962 as the Concacaf Youth Tournament, qualifying two teams to the FIFA U-20 World Cup from 1976-1994 and four teams from 1996 to now.
Following a myriad of different formats over the years, the 2022 competition introduces a new 20-team tournament akin to Concacaf’s most recent U-17 Men’s and U-20 and U-17 Women’s Championships. Sixteen countries are drawn into four groups of four, while four countries advance directly to the Round of 16 via a pre-qualifying tournament: Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua.
The top three finishers in each group qualified to the Round of 16, where they were joined by the four teams from pre-qualifying. From there, it’s a knockout bracket to the tournament final. The four winners of the quarterfinal matches qualify to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia, while the two winners of the semifinal matches qualify to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
The U.S. has participated in 25 of 28 Concacaf U-20 Championships, including each tournament since 1974, and qualified for the U-20 World Cup in 17 of 23 attempts. After missing the 2011 U-20 World Cup, the U.S. is the only nation to qualify for the last five tournaments and the only team to reach the quarterfinals in the last three editions.