Canada Under 20s 2 : 4 USA Under 20s
The USA Under 20s are heading to the World Cup Finals in Turkey after downing their luckess Canadian counterparts 4-2 in Mexico.
In 77 degree heat and at altitude of 7000 feet, Canada and the USA Under 20s fought out the right to be one of four representing CONCACAF at the World Cup in Turkey.
Canada were hoping to repeat their 2-1 win over the US at the Marbella Cup last October. The US had won their two group games and hoped to continue that streak. That streak continued despite the Canadians securing an early lead.
LA Galaxy’s Jose Villareal tested Canada keeper Maxime Crépeau and Vancouver’s Ben Fisk tested Cody Cropper in the first twenty minutes to the occasional background beat of a mariachi band in an even contest.
Almost exactly half way through the first half, Canada took the lead.
Dylan Carreiro tried his luck from a full 34 yards out. He struck it perfectly with his right and the ball nestled into the inside corner of a helpless Crawford’s net.
The Canadians nearly doubled their lead over a a rattled American side. Ben Fisk whipped over a cross which Caleb Clarke could only head over under pressure from defenders.
The lead barely lasted six minutes before RSL’s Luis Gil was first to react to a cross that Canadian centre half Doneil Henry deflected. He tapped it neatly around a defender and beat Crepeau from close range.
Canada had a decent half-claim for a handball seconds later but the Puerto Rican referee waived the appeals away. With the 30 minutes gone, the game remained finely balanced.
The moment that turned the first half and the game came just after the half hour.,when the Reds suffered a huge blow after a hamstring pull forced captain Doneil Henry off the pitch in 32 minutes.
Dominican born Manjrekar James who plays in Hungary replaced Canada’s most experienced player. Canada were now under the cosh now as a result of the change and Crepeau had to produce a fantastic save from Villareal to preserve parity.
USA had another chance when James first slipped then was forced to foul Villareral ten minutes before half time. Shane O’Neill just failed to meet the set piece with a header. The Maple Leaves were in disarray with the ambition merely to reach the interval at 1-1. The US used the period to pile up an advantage in shots from 4-5 down to 7-5 up but could not increase the figure that counted initially.
The eighth time was lucky for the USA. No-one was marking Villareal when Kaiserslautern’s Mario Rodriguez provided a tantalising cross from the left. The Galaxy youngster finished comfortably to give the USA an interval lead. The beleaguered Canucks still had five minutes more to negotiate.
In the dying seconds, Will Trapp collected a punch from Crepeau, settled himself and launched a drive. Crepeau perhaps had it covered until Mauro Estaquio’s deflection rendered him helpless.
HALF TIME USA 3 : 1 Canada
With a two goal deficit but a substitute already used, Canadian coach Nick Dasovic’s options were limited. Kevin Aleman of Real Valladolid nonetheless replaced Alessandro Riggi in midfield.
The Canucks couldn’t cut a break and a slightly stronger penalty appeal for a foul on Piette by Caleb Stanko was denied in the 53rd minute. Replays showed that the Canadians had a very strong claim for a chance to reduce the American lead to 2-3. Seconds later that lead was 4-1 when another fine strike by Villareal did justice to some unselfish play by Benji Joya.
It was Villareal’s seventh in nine games at the Under 20 level and it ended any urgency left in the contest.
Sam Piette provided some consolation for Canada when he drilled in a splendid strike from over 25 yards after a cleared corner.
A better first touch from Aleman to an imaginative through ball from Carreiro might have troubled the Americans even more but the substitute ran it out of play.
The altitude was beginning to tell with several players, notably Caleb Clarke, slower to rise from the turf after a clash with Stanko. Fisk wasted the free kick.
Thereafter the match petered out with the US able to freshen up their XI with substitutes and remove Villareal who had received a yellow card.
To complete Canada’s woe, defender Jon Dollery had to be escorted off the pitch after a head knock in the 89th minute with no substitutions left. Daniel Garcia sought to exploit the deficiency and Marco Lapenna had to clear his shot from under the goal after he ran through an empty Canadian rearguard.
Dillon Serna hit the bar for the Americans in stoppage time against the ten men and Canadian substitute James was shown a straight red for sticking his head on Joya in injury time to reduce Canada to nine men with Dollery still off the pitch.