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USMNT U-20’s clinch knockout round berth with draw vs. Canada


The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team faced a tougher test in Monday’s group stage showdown with Canada at the Concacaf U-20 Championship, but did enough to walk away with one point and a spot in the knockout round of the tournament.

Jack McGlynn and Cade Cowell both scored goals as Mikey Varas’ side pegged Canada back twice in a 2-2 draw from Estadio Nacional Chelato Ucles, guaranteeing the Americans a top-two finish in Group A. Despite missing several chances to walk away with a second-straight victory, the USMNT U-20’s showed great fight to equalize on two separate occasions.

Canada took the early lead with a goal from York United’s Lowell Wright in the 16th minute against the run of play. A failed clearance by left back Mauricio Cuevas, allowed Wright the opportunity to squeeze a shot past goalkeeper Chris Brady and into the bottom-left corner.

Paxten Aaronson and Cade Cowell both delivered promising moments in the opening half, but could not find a way past Canada goalkeeper Ben Alexander in the opening 45 minutes. The USMNT U-20’s upped their pressure in the second half and found a tying goal through a stellar finish from Jack McGlynn.

McGlynn received a pass from Diego Luna before unleashing a left-footed strike into the top-right corner of Alexander’s goal. It was McGlynn’s first goal of the tournament.

Canada answered back quickly with a second go-ahead goal of the match, this time benefitting from a bit of luck. Michael Halliday’s header in the box off of a Canada cross snuck past Brady to spring Mauro Bello’s side back in front at 2-1 with just over 20 minutes left to play.

However, the USMNT U-20’s equalized for a second time as Cowell called his own number on a counter attack. Cowell cut into the Canada box before drilling a low shot into the bottom-right corner for his second goal of the tournament.

Both teams pushed for a winning goal, but had to settle for one point apiece in a 2-2 draw.

The USMNT U-20’s close out group stage play on Wednesday against Cuba, knowing a victory will see them finish top of Group A. Canada faces Saint Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday, needing at least one point to advance into the Round of 16.


  1. Canada and St Kitts playing now. The pitch looks like a cow pasture. It’s almost like playing two matches a day on the same pitch for 5 straight days during rainy season isn’t a good idea.

    • Canada annoyingly with plenty of chances against St Kitts that they can’t put on frame. Against US they have 3 chances all game and two go in.

      • Canada and St Kitts 0-0 at half. Canada will win this eventually I’m sure, but US GD for 2nd seeming pretty safe even if they lose tonight.

    • JR- the line up I suggest is for defensive purposes my friend. When the roster came out, you pointed out, that we were light on CBs/back line players, right? We are generation-versatile! IMO-Everyone can’t play their favorite position all the time, especially at this level. There’s so many attacking/wingers/midfielder’s. After watching 2 matches, I think we need balance.

      • I’m just not sure the knockout stage is a great time to play someone there first game at LB. Something we could have worked on in March. I appreciate the creativity though.

  2. What I think, would help balance the 4-3-3 in this U20 tourney w/ this group…
    Move Cade to the 9. (Who cares that he always wants to go left, to cut back to his right. We don’t mind Weah, always heading to right corner flag, right?!). Luna needs to be @ LW, not in the middle. Can combine with Cade better as a LW. PA needs to be a LM, behind Luna & Cade. RM needs to be Alvarado, defensive/offensive balance. Craig, needs to play the 6. Tall guy, great in-field set piece taker. Bigger presence than Edelman. Can distribute in the center. Rotate Edelman & Putskas for backup minutes at the 6, with Edelman getting minutes as a backup RB. Stop the madness w/ this right footed LB stuff. Start Noah @ LB. Mcglynn is his backup. Move Halliday to backup RCB, so Cuevas can start at RB. Caden starts at RW, and backs up Alvarado at the 8 till Obed arrives. Quinn can rotate at LW, & RW, given the situation. Tsakaris can rotate between RW, LB, & 8. Wolff would backup Cade. This would give balance. This is what it would like like.
    Luna, Cowell, Clark
    PA, Craig, Alvarado
    Allen, Neal, Ferkranus, Cuevas
    Bench- F/RB- Sullivan, CF- Wolff, RW/LB/8- Tsakaris, 8/6- Putskas, 6/RB- Edelman, LB- McGlynn, RCB-Halliday, GK-Brady, *midfield~ Vargas (knockout stages). Most think he’ll start at the 6. I think, it’ll be a mistake to not let him get forward. Craig plays CB is use to a physical game in the middle, more so than Vargas. Let Craig clean/ breakup counters, while Vargas keeps the attack connected with the midfield.

    • I’m not sure about Craig as a 6. I see what your saying about Vargas, but I think having that wall there to protect the backline which is suspect is better. Sliding Alvarado and Paxton in as the 8s should solve your connecting issues. I would think Luna as the 8 and Pax as the wing, so Diego could link both sides of the field but I see your point. I think Cowell is lesser of evils at the 9 or at least switch it up and let him play some on the right and test the endline. Ferdinand was controlling him most of the night so why not switch he and Clark. See if Caden can shake him or let Cowell try to cook Poku. Easy to see it in hindsight I guess. This 3 matches in 5 days is nuts, hopefully out depth pushes past Cuba.

      • This is the top -down to bottom approach, JR! Collateral damage- Talent being put in places of weakness rather than their strengths. We are patiently waiting to see if it works. Another note- I wish everyone who’s paying attention now, was there when Tab was the manager. It would’ve saved me a bunch of time posting.

      • Wouldn’t you be playing guys like Neil, Tsakiris, McGlynn in positions they don’t typically play? Even Vargas usually plays a more deep lying role. I just don’t see creating chances as the problem, I see the back four dealing with chances as a bigger issue. Of course if we score more goals it doesn’t matter I guess too.

    • the 2019 U20 team, during the 2018 qualifying stage, won every single round robin game through 2 stages, plus the final. not sure you’re familiar with our usual high level of performance at that age group. or the tepid roster canada sent out. or the fact cuba beat canada the game before. i am concerned that all the systemic cuteness actually makes us worse.

      • 2017 We lost to Panama and finished 2nd in the group. Also only beat St Kitts that year 4–1. Team with Luca, Tyler Adams, Ebobisse, EPB, Williamson. 2019 team was the “perfect storm”, guys in Europe we’re playing well for Club YTs but none were close to full teams (Mendez, Llanez was a lame duck at LAG II just waiting to turn 18)MLS based players because season was going into playoff push weren’t holding youngsters that weren’t playing. As more and more MLS teams play young players regularly the U20 team becomes more B and C level.

    • It would be so much easier to just look at tournament results over the last 20 years and pick the top 2 teams. Why even play the games.

      • dude i am saying the exact opposite. you earn previous levels of success by grinding out these results. (eg, if people make excuses for senior team road form then no surprise they qualify 3rd.) you want to achieve the old level of success you need to run through the rounds like butter like old. like i said, last time there were no ties. and we’re trying the 3rd place team now.

      • Did you look at the teams in our first round group last time? Then we were able to add Dest, Richards, and Soto. Also where did the last tournament take place?

    • it’s not complicated. we made it out of NL groups on a tiebreaker. we made it to qatar on a tiebreaker with costa rica, which i am not sure people are aware of as the reason for needing goals on panama. this is a 1st place player pool being coached to 3rd place behind a good but limited canada team and mexico’s old fart team. and my concern here is it’s trickling down to the age groups, U23 team still can’t qualify and the U20s just got a tie from a team cuba beat the game before. and re apotheosis when your highlight seems to be squeaking by that doesn’t say much for your coaching.

  3. Am I missing something here. The USA is not yet through. If the USA lose to Cuba 1-0 and Canada beat St Kitts 11-0, which is very possible, the USA will be out.

    • top 3 teams go through each group. we have 4 pts and st kitts has 0 (plus a massive negative GD). we went through with a tie.
      it’s very generous advancement to a large knockout stage that also includes 4 central american and caribbean teams oddly advanced past groups. my beef is at this point cuba has 6 pts from playing the same teams we got 4 from, and 0 GA. maybe we beat them H2H but i’m just questioning how optimized this all is. between the tactics and letting players with no schedule conflicts take a deliberately summer-scheduled tournament off. inasmuch as it’s june, most european teams aren’t even training now and we clearly could use the help based on tying a modest canada team that hasn’t made a U20 worlds since 2007, or even made it out of a regional qualifying group stage since 2013.

      i just feel like there is slippage relative to the U20s being repeated u20 worlds quarterfinalists lately. the people who make excuses for USSF doing USSF things will make them again here, i think it’s a bad sign for this turning out well to be chasing the game all night against a second rate U20 team in group round.

      • gus-
        it’s the strangest thing i’ve seen. 4 teams got to skip this — but not the historical good ones. they are then joined by 3/4 of each group for a round of 16. not that they’ve made it very straightforward in general, last few times they had like a first group round then a second group round and then a final from the second stage group winners. this setup is fairly forgiving but i also think your form now hints at your chances later when you need to win knockout rounds to qualify for stuff. they have to make the semis for U20 worlds. they have to make the finals for the Olympics. you will probably have to beat someone tougher than Canada or Cuba to get either place.

      • It’s all designed around getting smaller nations chances to compete (include more teams). I think they try a format then say nope same 4 or 5 teams at the top let’s try another method to get a Cinderella story. Not sure St Kitts going 0-3 with -20+ GD really helps grow the game there though.

  4. Missing 4 of 5 first choice backline because their clubs refused to release them clearly made a difference tonight. Wiley, Henry, Che, and Slonina don’t concede both of those. Promising at least that we have young player in Luna who was able to unlock Canada’s 10 defenders in the box strategy. Had we had Sealy and Parades in the wings instead of Cowell and Sullivan we could have also just outscored them. Vargas coming next week should at least be an upgrade at the 6.

    • where have you heard they were “not released.” it’s june. the international window just ended. there are no preseason camps to fight off. you don’t get to use the “but i didn’t have everyone” excuse — the vibe i feel like you’re pushing here — if you and some of these kids got on the phone and said it was ok to take the summer off. even though we raised the stakes on ourselves by making this also the U23 quali and then made a point of getting this moved to june to avoid this exact scenario. i get we “graduated” several age eligible players like pepi. i don’t get we give a pass to people not in club camp and who likely aren’t making qatar either.

      • Youth Tournaments are not part of the International Windows. Teams may refuse players for youth tourneys no matter when they occur.

      • Club camps are also starting this week. PSV began yesterday Sealy was training with the first time likely because some of there first teamers were given extra rest after NL games in Europe.

      • i fully understand they technically don’t have to release but that’s usually a schedule conflict issue with first teamers in-season, not a response to games during the break. you named one guy you think might have been a “team no” — but you then suggest he’s filler while the actual first teamers rest from themselves getting to play june internationals. you and i both know there is a list of age appropriate players available and not basically graduated to the senior team already. the whole point to the altered timing of the tournament was to avoid this issue. i get we can’t override a “no” but i doubt players on vacation were told “no.”

      • Also “we raised the stakes on ourselves by making this also the U23 qualifying”. No we didn’t do that Concacaf did that.

      • Slonina was a no, Wiley in ATL was a no, Che I heard was a no they start training Saturday, Henry played in Nov and March, I’m not sure if he was released or not but you can understand why his new team in France would want him for the entirety of training camp. He did play with the U19s during the international window (before contract officially signed I believe) so it doesn’t seem he was given summer off. Paredes and Sealy were also in each camp but then suddenly weren’t here, so I don’t know that it was confirmed but you can assume. They bought Paredes for 7 million they aren’t going to let him go. Gutierrez was not released by Chicago. Euro teams are going to be reluctant to allow players at the beginning of training to be released to play in Central America in the heat every other day on poor fields.

      • who do you think asked for a summer tournament, dude? couldn’t possibly be a team like us with a heavy expat pool and a history of player availability issues. i am sure cuba and such voted this in to make it harder on themselves on purpose, when they could have had this played during a european season like usual, when we wouldn’t get any abroad first teamers. the whole format reads like a compromise. teams like us get summer scheduling and then the smaller teams get easier groups and more teams through to upset friendly knockouts instead of a second group stage. i assume this odd “4 teams skip the groups” is a sop to the smaller soccer nations. here’s your bone. the big dogs then agree because they figure they can beat the skippers.

      • Concacaf doesn’t really seem to have the infrastructure to run two events at a time. Qualifying got pushed because of WCQ going into March. It wasn’t the US.

  5. Typical of US vs Can NT games of late. US was the better team, Canada bunkering in a 6-3-1 for most of the game. Relying on counter s using their athletic forwards to make a play. Diego Luna was able to break them down twice setting up goals by McGlynn and Cowell, but the US failed to convert 3 or 4 other really good chances. This wasn’t the first choice backline due to playing for the 2nd time in 3 days but they were very shaky the couple times Canada got it into the final third. I’m sure this is how Mexican fans used to feel when they controlled games but would lose or draw the US despite dominant possession and shots created stats.

    • i think the point you’re missing is which of the 2 teams seems to be improving vs regressing relative to their prior performances. we used to be excellent, give or take couva. canada hasn’t made U20 worlds since the last decade. if they are even perhaps indulge me that something may be off in our camp where these are now “games.” remember US U20 is like 3 times running a worlds quarterfinalist. tying a canada team that cuba beat the other day.

      performing even handedness by giving canada credit for improvement is actually not objective if one doesn’t flip around and say wtf US. with a stout young player pool we moved up 2 senior qualifying slots and seemingly regressed in the age groups. when the U23s went out in 2012 they weren’t bunkering, that’s all i know.

      • I suppose 2006 Italy were lousy because they only managed a draw against the U.S. in the group stage?
        The U20s dominated Canada yesterday in every facet of the game. Two brainfarts in the back jept the Canadians in the match. The sky is not falling.

  6. cuba beat canada so meh

    if the apotheosis of the grand project is making the world cup on a tiebreaker with a high talent pool, color me unimpressed where this is headed


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