USA’s FIFA U-20 World Cup Run Ends With 2-0 Quarterfinal Loss To Uruguay

USA Stands as Only Nation to Reach Quarterfinals at the Last Four U-20 World Cups

SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO, Argentina (June 4, 2023) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team fell to Uruguay 2-0 in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals to end its run at the tournament.

After not conceding a goal in its first four matches at the World Cup, Uruguay took the lead in the 21st minute on a goal from Anderson Duarte and it turned into a 2-0 deficit on a U.S. own goal in the 56th.

Despite getting knocked out, the U.S. had one of its best-ever performances at a U-20 World Cup and is the only nation to reach the quarterfinals of the last four tournaments. Head coach Mikey Varas led the team to three straight victories in group play for the first time ever in a U-20 World Cup and the team’s four shutouts were the most ever for the U.S. in a U-20 or U-17 Men’s World Cup.

“Individual player development is our number one priority. All of these hard moments are what ends up making you better later,” Varas said. “We know that they (our players) will all have a good chance of succeeding at the next level, which is the Olympic team and the senior team.”

From the opening whistle, Uruguay presented the most bite of any U.S. opponent at the World Cup. While the USA out possessed La Celeste 66 percent to 34 on the night, the Uruguayans created far more danger. Their first set of chances came around the quarter-hour mark, with one cleared from long range, another from inside the box saved by goalkeeper Gaga Slonina and a threatening free kick punched away by Slonina in the 18th minute.

Causing problems for the USA’s defensive efforts with their individual pace, Uruguay broke through in the 21st minute. A long pass up the left wing found Jose Cruz de los Santos on the run. After a missed slide tackle from a chasing U.S. defender, he cut it in for Duarte, who hammered it home first time for the game’s opening goal.

The goal was the first given up by the U.S. at the World Cup following a 381-minute shutout streak in Argentina. It was the first goal allowed by the team in 852 minutes of official competition, dating back to its group stage match vs. Canada at the Concacaf U-20 Championship on June 20, 2022.

While the U.S. worked the ball around patiently in the middle of the park, it struggled to break into the final third against a well-organized, physical Uruguay defense. The Americans’ best first-half opportunity came just before the break. On a 45th-minute corner, a cheeky backheel shot from defender Josh Wynder was the USA’s first shot on goal but saved by goalkeeper Randall Rodriguez.

Uruguay continued to make things difficult after halftime, continuing to get loose and send shots at Slonina. In the 56th minute, a sliding Josh Wynder tried to parry away a cross into the box and inadvertently directed the ball at goal, slipping it past Slonina to put the U.S. in a 2-0 deficit.

The U.S. continued to try and work the ball around, but found the final ball lacking. Cowell skied one over the crossbar off a dangerous free kick in the 48th minute and Luna teed him up for a good look in the 66th, but Rodriguez stuck a foot out to make a save.

Varas made all five substitutes in the second half and they provided a spark as the USA sought to cut into the deficit. The U.S. threatened on a number of set piece opportunities down the stretch, but weren’t able to find the back of the net. One of its most promising chances came in the 78th. A free kick from Craig was headed down by a Uruguay defender right to Cowell, but his attempt was blocked by a teammate in the scrum in front of goal and then cleared away harmlessly. 


URU – Anderson Duarte (Jose Cruz de los Santos), 21st minute: A well-hit long ball down the left side sprung de los Santos into space past the U.S. defense on the counterattack. Defender Justin Che attempted to make a sliding tackle but missed and the Uruguayan attacker dribbled into the box and split the defense with a cross to an onrushing Duarte at the six. He first-timed it past diving goalkeeper Gaga Slonina for the game’s opening goal. URU 1, USA 0

URU – Josh Wynder (Own Goal), 56th minute: On another counterattack down the left flank, Ignacio Sosa played up to de los Santos cutting into the box before he sent a cross towards the penalty spot. Wynder attempted to clear it, but slipped and accidentally put the ball on frame as Slonina was unable to make the save. URU 2, USA 0


  • The USA is now 1-4-0 against Uruguay all-time at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
  • Goalkeeper Gaga Slonina and defender Brandan Craig played all 450 minutes for the U.S. in Argentina.


Match: United States Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Uruguay
Date: June 4, 2023
Competition: 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup Quarterfinal
Venue: Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades; Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local)
Weather: 68 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary:       1            2            F

USA                                   0            0            0
URU                                   1             1             2

URU – Anderson Duarte (Juan Cruz de los Santos)              21st minute
URU – Josh Wynder (Own Goal)                                                 56


USA: 1-Gaga Slonina (Capt.); 17-Justin Che, 5-Brandan Craig, 4-Josh Wynder (13-Jonathan Gómez, 69); 2-Michael Halliday (20-Rokas Pukstas, 54), 8-Jack McGlynn, 18-Obed Vargas (6-Daniel Edelman, 55), 3-Caleb Wiley (7-Quinn Sullivan, 70); 16-Owen Wolff (11-Kevin Paredes, 46), 10-Diego Luna, 9-Cade Cowell

Substitutes not used: 12-Antonio Carrera, 21-Alex Borto, 

Head coach: Mikey Varas

URU: 12-Randall Rodriguez; 2-Sebastian Boselli, 4-Mateo Ponte, 5-Fabricio Diaz (Capt.) (18-Santiago Homenchenko, 77), 7-Anderson Duarte (20-Nicolas Siri, 57), 8-Rodrigo Chagas, 10-Franco Gonzalez, 11-Juan de los Santos (6-Mathias De Ritis, 77), 13-Alan Matturro, 15-Ignacio Sosa (14-Damian Garcia, 69), 16-Facundo Gonzalez

Substitutes not used:

Suspended: 19-Luciano Rodriguez

Head coach: Marcelo Broli

Stats Summary: USA / URU

Shots: 11/11
Shots on Goal: 3/3
Saves: 2/3
Corner Kicks: 3/4
Fouls: 12/13
Offside: 0/5

Misconduct Summary:

URU – Santiago Homenchenko (Caution)                   82nd minute
URU – Mathias de Ritis (Caution)                                 90+3


Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Joshua Balder (NED)
Fourth Official: Yusuke Araki (JPN)