PREVIEW: USA Aims for Second Consecutive Concacaf U-20 Title vs. Mexico | 7pm ET | UDN, ConcacafGO.com
CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will aim to defend its regional title when they face rivals Mexico in the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship Final on Wed., Nov. 21 at 7:10 p.m. ET at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The USA advanced to the final following seven straight wins in the Group Stage and the Qualification Stage. Mexico won their Group by virtue of goal differential after tying Jamaica with 13 points, and then advanced to the Final after tying Panama in the Qualification Stage with 4 points each on the Fair Play tiebreaker, having receiving one less caution than Panama.
The Final can be watched live on Univision Deportes Network and the Concacaf GO App. Fans can also follow along via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, twitter (ussoccer_ynt) and Instagram (ussoccer_ynt) accounts.
USA 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship Qualification Stage Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.), 1-Brady Scott (FC Koln/GER; Petaluma, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): 22-Sergiño Dest (Ajax/NED; Almere-Stad, Netherlands), 3-Chris Gloster (Hannover 96/GER; South Orange, N.J.), 2-Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC; Charlotte, N.C.), 4-Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.), 14-Manny Perez (N.C. State; Garner, N.C.), 5-Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.), 26-Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; Hoover, Ala.), 19-Sam Rogers (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 20-Frankie Amaya (UCLA; Santa Ana, Calif.), 16-Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompoc, Calif.), 8-Alex Mendez (SC Freiburg/GER; Los Angeles, Calif.), 10-Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Tex.), 6-Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Birmingham, Ala.), 7-Juan Pablo Torres (K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen/BEL; Lilburn, Ga.)
FORWARDS (4): 17-Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC/CAN; Detroit, Mich.), 11-Ulysses Llanez (Unattached; Lynwood, Calif.), 9-Justin Rennicks (Indiana Univ.; Hamilton, Mass.), 23-Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER; San Diego, Calif.)
THEY SAID IT:
USA Midfielder Alex Mendez on playing Mexico in the Final:
“It means a lot because we're playing versus my family’s roots. I grew up watching them, and now to be able to play against them in a final, it means a lot.
USA Defender Chris Gloster, who played in the 2017 Concacaf U17 Championship Final versus Mexico, which Mexico won on PKs:
“Honestly it’s an unbelievable feeling to play against Mexico, and especially now playing them twice in a final. It’s hard to describe. When you’re on the field you’re only focusing on beating Mexico – not the trophy, or where you’re going after that – because it’s a huge rivalry. When we get that opportunity we’ll all be ready for it.”
USA Defender Chris Richards on being defending champions:
“It’s always a great feeling to play a final for your country and to represent all the people who support you. You want to show you’re the best in Concacaf - the guys did it before us, led a pathway for us to do the same thing - and so we have a big responsibility.”
BACK TO THE FINALS:
For the USA, this marks the second straight Concacaf U-20 Championship Final and third title game in the last four cycles under the guidance of head coach Tab Ramos:
- The USA won its first-ever regional title in 2017 by defeating Honduras in the final 5-3 on penalty kicks after the teams played a scoreless match. The USA’s run included an opening day loss to Panama (0-1) before winning four straight over Haiti (4-1), St. Kitts & Nevis (4-1), Mexico (1-0), and El Salvador (2-1) in the tournament played in Costa Rica.
- In 2015, the USA qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup as third place finishers, posting four consecutive shutout victories after a 0-1-1 start to the Concacaf U-20 Championship.
- In 2013, the USA had defeated Haiti (2-1), Costa Rica (1-0), Canada (4-2, Quarterfinal) and Cuba (2-0, Semifinal) before facing Mexico in the Final held in Puebla, Mexico. Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, Mexico scored twice in overtime on a 10-man USA side to win 3-1.
- Prior to last year, the USA’s best finish was second place, accomplished six times (most recently in 2013).
HISTORY OF U20 RIVALRY:
This will be the 11th meeting between these two rivals – and the third in a Final - in the now 27th edition of this tournament. Mexico holds the edge with an 8-2-0 record:
- Sept. 28, 1976: USA 1-7 Mexico
- Aug. 17, 1980 (Final): USA 0-2 Mexico
- Sept. 6, 1984: USA 0-1 Mexico
- Aug. 17, 1986: USA 3-0 Mexico
- *Aug. 24, 1988: USA 1-2 Mexico
- May 11, 1990: USA 1-3 Mexico
- May 12, 1992: USA 0-3 Mexico
- April 25, 1996: USA 1-2 Mexico
- March 3, 2013 (Final): USA 1-3 Mexico (AET)
- Feb. 27, 2017: USA 1-0 Mexico
- * Mexico disqualified for age irregularities.
HOW WE GOT HERE:
Nov. 3: USA 13-0 U.S. Virgin Islands (Llanez (3), Rennicks (2), Mark McKenzie (2), Anthony Fontana, Griffin Dorsey, Akinola, Pomykal, Mendez, Manny Perez)
Nov. 5: USA 6-1 Trinidad and Tobago (Brandon Servania, Pomykal, Mendez, Llanez, Juan Pablo Torres, own goal)
Nov. 7: USA 6-0 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Fontana (3), Torres, Llanez, Servania)
Nov. 9: USA 7-0 Suriname (Akinola (2), Mendez (2), McKenzie, Torres, Rennicks)
- The USA leads the tournament with 44 goals and a +42 goal differential in the seven games.
- Eleven different USA players scored goals in the group stage, with nine scoring two or more.
- Goalscorers: Llanez (7), Akinola (7), Mendez (6), Fontana (4), Rennicks (4), Torres (4), McKenzie (3), Pomykal (3), Servania (2), Griffin (1), Perez (1), own goals (2).
- The USA’s record for individual goals at this tourmanet is held by Ricky Davis, who scored 8 goals in the 1976 competition.
- Fifteen players contributed assisted, led by Rennicks (6), Llanez (4), Mendez (4) and Griffin (3).
- The USA has registered five shutouts: three by GK Brady Scott and two by GK David Ochoa.
- Paxton Pomykal and Justin Rennicks have appeared in all seven games, while Chris Gloster leads the team with six starts.
- Tab Ramos is 19-3-2 all-time in Concacaf U-20 Championship play.
- The USA is on a team-record 12-game undefeated streak dating back to the opener of the 2017 tournament.
HOW MEXICO GOT HERE:
Nov. 2: Mexico 7-0 Nicaragua
Nov. 4: Mexico 4-0 Saint Martin
Nov. 6: Mexico 2-2 Jamaica
Nov. 8: Mexico 8-0 Grenada
Nov. 10: Mexico 10-0 Aruba
Mexico won Group B on goal differential over Jamaica after both teams tied with 13 points.
Qualification Stage: Group H
Nov. 16: Mexico 1-0 El Salvador
Nov. 19: Mexico 2-2 Panama
Mexico advanced to the Final by virtue of the Fair Play tie-breaker, having received one less caution than Panama.
- Their 34 goals and 30 goal differential are second to the USA.
- Jose Macias leads the tournament with 10 goals. The next top scorer is Daniel López (7 goals).
- Mexico has won a Concacaf-record 13 titles, including three of the last four (2011, 2013, 2015).
- Mexico is tied with the USA in qualifying for 16 FIFA U-20 World Cups, including the last five.
- The USA features seven players with Mexican backgrounds (one or both parents or grandparents): Frankie Amaya, Julian Araujo, Ulysses Llanez, Alex Mendez, Manny Perez, David Ochoa and Sebatian Soto.
- USA defenders Chris Gloster and Jaylin Lindsey and forward Ayo Akinola were on the USA U17 MNT that defeated Mexico in the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Championship group stage before falling to their rivals in the Final on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw.
- Mexico U20 forward Daniel Lopez was also on Mexico’s U17MNT at last year’s U17 Championship.
- On September 11, midfielder Diego Lainez made his second appearance for the Mexican National Team in the match against the USA. MNT midfielder Tyler Adams – 19 and eligible for this U20 team – scored his first international goal in that 1-0 win over Mexico in Nashville, Tenn.
WORLD CUP BOUND:
A total of 24 teams will compete in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland next May 23 – June 15. Aside from the hosts, the other 23 nations qualify through confederation tournaments.
- The USA, Mexico, Panama and Honduras have clinched the four Concacaf berths, with the USA and Mexico each advancing to their 16th World Cup (out of 22 total) this year. Panama has qualified for its fifth World Cup (first since 2011) while Honduras will be making their eighth appearances.
- Twelve other nations have also qualified to date: Poland (hosts); France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Ukraine (Europe); New Zealand and Tahiti (Oceana); and Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (Asia)
- Still to qualify: Four teams from the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations (Feb, 2019 in Niger) and four teams from the 2019 CONMEBOL South American U-20 Tournament (Jan-Feb, 2019 in Chile).
- England, winner of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, became the sixth consecutive champion to fail to qualify for the next U-20 World Cup.
Mexico 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship Qualification Stage Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Carlos Higuera, 12-Luis Lopez
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Kevin Alvarez, 3-Gilberto Sepulveda, 4-Efrain Orona, 6-Naelson Cardenas, 13-Mario Trejo, 14-Oswaldo Leon
MIDFIELDERS (8): 7-Carlos Guitierrez, 8-Misael Dominguez, 10-Diego Lainez, 11-Diego Hernandez, 15-Alexis Gutierrez, 16-Fernando Plascencia, 18-Eduardo Torres, 21-Roberto MerazFORWARD (4): 9-Jose Macias, 17-Edgar Lopez, 19-Daniel Lopez, 20-Adrian Lozano