US U-20s face Costa Rica on Friday in CONCACAF Championship
The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team has already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, but the squad is looking to finish atop Group A when it faces Costa Rica on Friday, Feb. 22, at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP in Puebla, Mexico. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on FOX Soccer and Univision Deportes. Fans can follow the match on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
The US took all three points from the first matchday with a 2-1 win over a very game Haitian side in Puebla, Mexico. Colorado Rapids homegrown player Shane O'Neill went the full 90 at center back while his Rapids teammate Dillon Serna was an unused substitute.
“We are disappointed with our performance, but as everyone knows nowadays, it’s not easy to get a win against anyone,” head coach Tab Ramos told MLSsoccer.com after the opener. “I think this competition is going to be very close among all the teams.”
Ramos also praised the play of O'Neill and his center back partner, Caleb Stanko.
“I was very happy with the center backs, I think they just had too much work,” said Ramos. “I really give them a lot of credit. They fought hard considering they had balls coming from all angles.”
The U.S. can win Group A by virtue of a win or a draw. The USA and Costa Rica are tied in points and goal differential, but the U.S. U-20s hold an advantage having scored more goals than Costa Rica. The Group A winner faces the Group B runner-up, which would be Canada or Nicaragua, who play in Friday's late night match. The Group A runner-up faces Group B winner Cuba.
The U.S. U-20 MNT has faced Costa Rica 10 times in CONCACAF Youth Tournaments and Championships, posting a 3-3-4 record.
The USA went on a five-game unbeaten stretch against Costa Rica in this event from 1990 to 2005 (3-0-2) before falling 3-0 on March 15, 2009, in the 22nd CONCACAF Youth Championship in Trinidad - the most recent meeting between the USA and Costa Rica heading into Friday's game.