JOHN KRETLOW - Wednesday, February 27, 2013
After failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2011, the US U-20 team put on a strong performance against Canada to book a ticket to this summer's tournament in Turkey.
Jose Villarreal notched two goals while Will Trapp and Luis Gil also found the back of the net to boost the Americans.
Canada opened the scoring and when Dylan Carreiro moved into space outside of the US box and found the back of the net on a low shot to beat ‘keeper Cody Cropper in the 24th minute.
Despite going down a goal, the US settled into the game and found a better rhythm moving forward.
Just five minutes after Canada's opener, Daniel Cuevas found some space for the US and sent in a low cross that Luis Gil was able to take a touch and slide through a ball to level the match in the 29th minute.
In the 40th minute the US was awarded for their continued pressure with another goal. Mario Rodriguez made an impressive run down the left sideline and found Villarreal who one-timed a shot into the net to give them their first lead of the game.
Then, just before halftime, Wil Trapp got on the scorecard as his shot from just outside the box was deflected into the back of the net to give the US a 3-1 lead.
The US kept piling on the pressure early in the second half, and after a good sequence of possession in the final third, Benji Joya found Villarreal who right-footed a shot to give the US a commanding lead in the 54th minute.
Nevertheless, Canada was able to get one back in the 64th minute when Samuel Piette impressively shot from distance to beat Cropper.
That was as close as Canada got and the US reached the semifinals of the U-20 CONCACAF Championship. More importantly, they qualify to this year's U-20 World Cup in June.