SAN JUAN, Argentina (May 20, 2023) – Jonathan Gómez scored a stoppage-time golazo to boost the U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team to a dramatic 1-0 shutout victory against Ecuador to kick off its 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign. After knocking on the door for much of the second half, Owen Wolff teed up Gómez at the top of the box, where the winger rocketed a shot to the top right corner.
The three points put the USA in strong position in Group B after the opening matchday. Next, the U-20 MYNT will face Fiji on Tuesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. ET (FS2, Universo). The top two teams in each of the six groups, as well as the four best third-place teams, advance to the knockout stage of the competition.
While the U.S. held the better of possession in the first half, both teams took time to find their rhythm offensively. The young Americans’ first shot didn’t come until the 22nd minute. Following an extended spell in the Ecuadorian box, Gómez played to midfielder Obed Vargas, who ripped a shot from inside the six but saw his effort deflected by goalkeeper Gilmar Napa.
Ecuador also had trouble finding the final ball but threatened on a series of corners and attacking runs around the half-hour mark. After U.S. goalkeeper Gaga Slonina dove to try to halt a threatening foray into the box, Vargas made a goal-line clearance on the ensuing shot to keep things deadlocked at 0-0 in the 32nd.
The U.S. continued to build up well and spend time in the Ecuadorian final third, but La Tri proved dangerous on the counter and on set pieces. Gómez nearly broke the stalemate in first-half stoppage time, hitting a volley to finish off a cross from midfielder Jack McGlynn, but his attempt went just wide following a productive U.S. possession.
After the interval, the U.S. pressed for an opening goal with several solid chances to break the deadlock. In the aftermath of a 51st-minute corner, defender Caleb Wiley rocketed a threatening attempt from the top of the box, and four minutes later the Atlanta United FC defender drove the ball forward into the box, but fired the ensuing shot off-target once again.
An Ecuador gaffe in the 57th nearly turned into the game’s opening goal. As Napa tried to clear it from outside the box, it deflected off an Ecuador defender and midfielder Diego Luna pounced on the loose ball. A strong touch with the outside of his foot sent the ball towards goal but it rolled just wide of the right post.
Center forward Darren Yapi entered the match in the 65th and made an impact in the later stages of the game, including a well-hit long-range effort in the 80th. In the 83rd, Wiley cut into the box and laid it off for Yapi in a dangerous spot, but the forward arrived at the ball at the same time as Napa and wasn’t able to get a shot off. Gómez followed the sequence by rifling an effort to the right post in the 84th that was swallowed by Napa.
- The USA improves to 1-1-1 against Ecuador all-time at the FIFA U-20 World Cup as the nations met for the third-consecutive tournament.
- Gómez’s goal marked his first U-20 international tally in his seventh cap.
- Midfielders Diego Luna and Jack McGlynn added to their team-leading cap totals by making their 17th U-20 MYNT appearances this cycle.
-U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Ecuador
Date: May 20, 2023
Competition: 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group B
Venue: Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario; San Juan, Argentina
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET (3 p.m. local)
Weather: 64 degrees, some clouds
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
ECU 0 0 0
USA: Jonathan Gómez (Owen Wolff) 90+2nd minute
USA: 1-Gaga Slonina; 17-Justin Che, 5-Brandan Craig, 4-Josh Wynder; 13-Jonathan Gómez, 8-Jack McGlynn, 18-Obed Vargas (6-Daniel Edelman, 71), 3-Caleb Wiley; 7-Quinn Sullivan (19-Darren Yapi, 65), 10-Diego Luna (15-Niko Tsakiris, 90+2), 16-Owen Wolff
Substitutes not used: 12-Antonio Carrera, 21-Alex Borto, 2-Michael Halliday, 14-Marcus Ferkranus
Suspended: 9-Cade Cowell
Head coach: Mikey Varas
ECU: 12-GIlmar Napa; 3-Christian Garcia, 4-Joel Ordonez, 5-Oscar Zambrano, 7-Alan Minda (14-Madison Mina, 66), 8-Sebastian Gonzalez (15-Denil Castillo, 88), 9-Justin Cuero (Capt.) (17-Maelo Renteria, 74), 10-Nilson Angulo, 13-Daniel de la Cruz, 16-Maiky de la Cruz, 19-Kendry Paez (18-Tommy Chamba, 74)
Substitutes not used: 1-Christian Loor, 2-Stalin Valencia, 6-Yeltzin Erique, 11-Cristhoper Zambrano, 20-Tony Jimenez
Head coach: Miguel Bravo
Stats Summary: USA / ECU
Shots on Goal: 5/0
Corner Kicks: 8/5
USA – Josh Wynder (Caution) 56th minute
ECU – Nilson Angulo (Caution) 83
Referee: Salman Falahi (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Ramzan Al Naemi (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Majid Al Shammari (QAT)
Fourth Official: Ahman Al Alj (KUW)
VAR: Guillermo Cuadra (ESP)
AVAR 1: Ahmed Darwish (UAE)