SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (July 1, 2022) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team clinched a berth to the 2024 Olympics Games in Paris with a dominant 3-0 win over host Honduras in the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship Semifinals on Friday night at a packed Estadio Morazán. In control from the opening whistle, the USA took an impressive 3-0 lead before the break on goals from forward Paxten Aaronson, midfielder Alejandro Alvarado Jr. and forward Quinn Sullivan.
With the win, the USA has qualified to its first Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since Beijing 2008. Men’s Soccer is the first U.S. team sport to qualify for Paris 2024. The U.S. Men will appear in their 14th Olympic Games as one of two representatives from Concacaf in the 16-team field.
For the first time, this year’s Concacaf U-20 Championship served as qualifying for both the FIFA U-20 World Cup (four berths) and the 2024 Olympic Games (two berths). The U.S. secured its U-20 World Cup spot with a 2-0 win against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals and achieved double qualification for the Olympics with tonight’s victory.
The U.S. also advances to the Concacaf U-20 Championship Final on Sunday, July 3 (8 p.m. ET; FS1, TUDN) against the Dominican Republic, who defeated Guatemala on penalty kicks in the earlier semifinal. The U.S. is aiming for a third-straight Concacaf U-20 Championship after winning its first two titles at the 2017 and 2018 tournaments.
Despite the raucous home crowd, the U.S. wasted no time taking the lead, jumping on the hosts after just three minutes when defender Brandan Craig whipped in a free kick from the left side that Aaronson put away unmarked from six yards out for his fifth goal of the tournament.
The USA never took its foot of the gas pedal. Shortly after, midfielder Jack McGlynn came close on a long free kick that forced Honduran goalkeeper Juergen Garcia to one of five saves on the night.
The second came after twenty minutes following another nice spell of possession, with defender Mauricio Cuevas finding Alvarado at the top of the six for his first goal of the tournament, becoming the 12th different USA player to score in six games.
The attacks kept coming in waves. A McGlynn left-footed blast from 25 yards went narrowly wide of the top left corner and minutes later, he sent another free kick that USA center back Marcus Ferkranus got on the end of, only for Garcia to make a diving save on the line.
Aaronson and Clark then nearly finished a quick combination sequence among several players, but Garcia got in the way of Clark’s initial shot. The ball continued toward goal before a defender cleared it off the line. Seconds later, Garcia punched away Aaronson’s shot through traffic.
The USA’s third goal finally came just before the break when captain Daniel Edelman, Clark and Sullivan combined for Sullivan’s sixth goal of the competition, tying him for the tournament lead with Honduras’ Marco Aceituno.
Playing in front of a full house, Honduras tried to get back into the game in the second half, but a well-positioned U.S. defense denied many serious threats. On the other end, second-half substitute Tyler Wolff was denied on a point-blank shot by Garcia and Craig nearly got the USA’s fourth but his late free kick from 24 yards clanked off the crossbar.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA - Paxten Aaronson (Brandan Craig), 3rd minute: After Honduran defender Jeyson Contreras tripped up U.S. forward Caden Clark near the left sideline, Brandan Craig stepped up to take the free kick. Noticing the Honduran players stepping the line closer to the top of the box, Craig sent a quick cross behind the defense. Paxten Aaronson read the play and timed his run, finding himself unmarked at the top of the six to first-time the cross past Honduras goalkeeper Juergen Garcia for the game’s opening goal. USA 1, HON 0
USA - Alejandro Alvarado Jr. (Mauricio Cuevas), 22nd minute: A nice spell of possession culminated with U.S. left back Cuevas sending a cross from the top left corner of box back to top of six where, with no one marking, the ball caught Alvardo Jr. midstep. He instinctively flicked his right leg and side-heeled the ball off the hands of Garcia for his first goal of the tournament. USA 2, HON 0
USA - Quinn Sullivan (Caden Clark), 43rd minute: Just past midfield, U.S. midfielder Daniel Edelman played a perfectly-weighted through ball behind the defense to Clark, who drew Garcia off his line before rounding the ‘keeper and redirecting the ball towards goal from the left side. A defender slowed the ball down, but it continued across the goalmouth where Quinn Sullivan had beat his man for the easy tap-in. USA 3, HON 0
- The USA is now 3-4-4 all-time vs. Honduras at the Concacaf U-20 Championship, including an undefeated 3-0-3 in the last six match-ups dating back to 1992.
- The USA will be participating in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament for the 14th time, and first since 2008. Its other appearances came in 1924, 1928, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1972, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000.
- The U.S. had fallen to Honduras in the semifinals of the previous two Concacaf U-23 Olympic Qualifying Championships.
- Head coach Mikey Varas made three changes to the starting XI that defeated Costa Rica in the quarterfinals: defender Marcus Ferkranus and midfielders Daniel Edelman and Jack McGlynn eplaced defenders Jalen Neal and midfielders Rokas Pukstas and Diego Luna.
- Goalkeeper Chris Brady, defender Michael Halliday and forward Quinn Sullivan have started all three knockout stage matches.
- Alejandro Alvarado Jr. became the 12th player to score for the U.S. at the tournament: Quinn Sullivan (six goals), Paxten Aaronson (five), Cade Cowell, Niko Tsakiris (two each), Alvarado, Caden Clark, Mauricio Cuevas, Luna, McGlynn, Neal, Pukstas and Tyler Wolff.
- Brandan Craig and Mauricio Cuevas became the seventh and eighth players to register an assist for the USA: Luna and Clark (four assists), Sullivan (three), Aaronson, Alvarado Jr. and Cowell.
-U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Honduras
Date: July 1, 2022
Competition: Concacaf U-20 Championship - Semifinal
Venue: Estadio Morazán; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local (9 p.m. ET)
Weather: 78 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 0 3
HON 0 0 0
USA - Paxten Aaronson (Brandan Craig) 3rd minute
USA - Alejandro Alvarado (Mauricio Cuevas) 22
USA - Quinn Sullivan (Caden Clark) 43
USA: 1-Chris Brady; 13-Michael Halliday, 4-Marcus Ferkranus, 5-Brandan Craig, 2-Mauricio Cuevas (3-Noah Allen, 53); 6-Daniel Edelman (Capt.), 19-Alejandro Alvarado Jr. (17-Nikolas Tsakiris, 71), 8-Jack McGlynn (15-Diego Luna, 61); 7-Quinn Sullivan (16-Tyler Wolff, 61), 10-Paxten Aaronson (18-Jackson Hopkins, 71), 11-Caden Clark
Substitutes Not Used: 12-Antonio Carrera, 14-Jalen Neal, 20-Rokas Pukstas
Suspended: 9-Cade Cowell
Head Coach: Mikey Varas
HON: 1-Juergen Garcia, 3-Geremy Rodas, 5-Aaron Zuniga (Capt.), 13-Jeyson Contreras (2-Darlin Mencia, 66); 6-Edson Rocha (16-Isaac Castillo, 36), 7-Odin Ramos (19-Jefryn Macias, 66), 8-Tomas Sorto, 9-Exon Arzu (10-Antony Garcia, 46), 11-Marco Aceituno (20-Heber Nuñez, 75), 14-Javier Arriaga, 17-Miguel Carrasco
Substitutes Not Used: 12-Jose Valdez, 4-Anfronit Tatum, 15-Kolton Kelly, 18-Kevin Gulti
Head Coach: Luis Alvarado
Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 17 / 21
Shots on Goal: 8 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 19 / 17
Offside: 1 / 1
USA - Mauricio Cuevas (Caution) 7th minute
HON - Tomas Sorto (Caution) 59
HON - Jefryn Macias (Caution) 69
USA - Daniel Edelmand (Caution) 76
USA - Chris Brady (Caution) 76
USA - Brandan Craig (Caution) 81
HON - Javier Arríaga (Caution) 82
HON - Miguel Carrasco (Caution) 85
HON -Jefryn Macias (2nd Caution, Ejection) 87
Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Humberto Panjoj (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Raymundo Feliz (DOM)
Fourth Official: Bryan Lopez (GUA)
VAR: Angel Monroy (MEX)
AVAR1: Pierre-luc Lauziere (CAN)