U-20s: O'Neill, Serna play as U.S. qualifies for World Cup
The US Under-20 national team is heading to this summer's U-20 World Cup in Turkey after a 4-2 win over Canada in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship quarterfinals on Tuesday. It was a win made in MLS, as LA Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal bagged two goals, with Columbus Homegrown signing Wil Trapp and Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil adding a tally apiece as the US took full advantage of a sloppy Canadian defense. Colorado Rapids homegrown players Shane O'Neill played the full 90 at center while Dillon Serna came on late to make his first appearance of the tournament.
Long-range strikes from Canada's Dylan Carreiro and Samuel Piette sandwiched the USA's four goals, but were not enough to keep head coach Nick Dasovic's side in contention.
After a fairly lackluster opening period, Canada snatched lead in the 24th minute, when Carreiro was afforded plenty of space outside the area to unleash a shot at the far corner that caught US goalkeeper Cody Cropper out of position and nestled in the back of tenet.
The US wasted little time in replying, though, taking advantage of some sloppy Canadian defending. Daniel Cuevas found Gil in the center of the area with a low cross, and the Real Salt Lake midfielder took an easy touch past a Canadian defender before slotting it into the far corner.
The Americans enjoyed most of the possession during the first half, but Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau was equal to most everything they threw at him. The 18-year-old Montreal Impact Academy product's best moment came when he was able to get over well on a Villarreal snapshot and push it wide.
Crépeau could do nothing, though, Villarreal completed the turnaround for Tab Ramos' side, one-timing Mario Rodriguez's cutback past Crépeau to put the US in the lead.
Canada's defense continued to falter and conceded a potentially killer goal just seconds before the break when Crépeau's punch fell directly to Trapp, who hit it first time and got the benefit of a deflection to make it 3-1.
Facing a significant deficit, Canada started the second half on the front foot, and had penalty shouts waved away in the 53rd minute after Piette went down, sandwiched between two US defenders a few yards away from goal.
It would only get worse for the Canadians, as the US took the ball right back down the field. Villarreal traded passes with Benji Joya at the top of the area before cutting past a defender and putting away his second goal of the match and the USA's fourth.
Canada weren't done quite yet, though, as Samuel Piette followed up his stunner against Nicaragua with another spectacular goal. Trapp's clearing header on a corner kick bounced kindly to the Fortuna Dusseldorf man, who unleashed a perfect first-time strike from outside the area that Cropper had no chance of saving.
Crépeau did well to keep his team in the game after Piette's goal, again getting across well to tip away Joya's shot that was tagged for the upper 90 and making another stunning late save on Rodriguez. However, Canada's two-goal hero in a 5-1 win over Nicaragua, Caleb Clarke, spurned a good chance to shave the deficit to one by missing with an open look from just inside the 18, while on the other end, the Rapids' Dillon Serna almost made it five when he rattled the crossbar.
Though tempers remained relatively calm throughout the game, things finally boiled over in injury time when Canadian defender Manjrekar James saw straight red after a hard tackle on and subsequent confrontation with Joya.
The US will Cuba following their 2-1 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica. The U.S. will content themselves with a return to the U-20 World Cup after falling at the quarterfinal stage of the previous CONCACAF tournament.
CAN - Dylan Carreiro 23'
USA - Luis Gil (Daniel Cuevas) 29'
USA - Jose Villarreal (Mario Rodriguez) 40'
USA - Wil Trapp 45+1'
USA - Jose Villarreal (Benji Joya) 54'
CAN - Samuel Piette 64'
USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 2-Boyd Okwuonu, 4-Caleb Stanko (capt.), 5-Shane O'Neill, 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 8-Benji Joya, 6-Wil Trapp; 9-Mario Rodriguez (19-Brandon Allen, 90+2), 10-Luis Gil (17-Danny Garcia, 77), 20-Daniel Cuevas; 7-Jose Villarreal (16-Dillon Serna, 84)
Substitutions Not Used: 11-Jerome Kiesewetter, 12-Kendall McIntosh, 14-Javan Torre, 18-Eric Miller, 22-Zack Steffen
Not available: 15-Mikey Lopez
CAN: 18-Maxime Crépeau; 2-Jon Dollery, 3-Marco Lapenna, 4-Doneil Henry (capt.) (15-Manjrekar James, 33), 5-Daniel Stanese, 6-Samuel Piette, 7-Ben Fisk, 9-Caleb Clarke, 12-Dylan Carreiro, 13-Alessandro Riggi (10-Kevin Aleman, 46), 16-Mauro Eustaquio (22-Stefan Vukovic, 76)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Richard Gomes, 8-Zakaria Messoudi, 11-Michael Petrasso, 17-Anthony Jackson-Hamel, 21-Ben McKendry, 23-Allan Zebie
USA - Jose Villarreal (caution) 58'
CAN - Dylan Carreiro (caution) 12'
CAN - Manjrekar James (sent off) 90+2'