It wasn’t pretty, but it was important. It was one of those ties that felt like a win. A big win!
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team used Luca De La Torre’s cool finish in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time to earn a valuable 3-3 draw against Ecuador in the opening match of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup at Incheon Football Stadium, in South Korea. The goal came on the heels of a brace from U-20 MNT debutant Josh Sargent, whose two goals helped the USA battle back from an early 2-0 deficit.
After surrendering two goals to Herlin Lino and Bryan Cabezas inside the first seven minutes, the U.S. began to settle in and took control of the game around the half-hour mark. Making his first international appearance at U-20 level, Sargent cut into the lead with a cool finish in the 36th minute before leveling the match with a powerful header in the 54th.
An even game then tilted back towards Ecuador when a misplayed ball out of the back by goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann led to Cabezas’ second of the match in the 64th minute. Just as it looked like Ecuador would escape with all three points, De La Torre pounced on a short clearance at the top of the South American’s area and finished inside the right post in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage, rescuing a point for the USA.
“I wish I had the answer for the first 10 minutes, that wasn’t the plan,” U.S. coach Tab Ramos told the Associated Press. “We are a high-press team and we like to come after teams. Unfortunately, we made a couple of mistakes and we paid for that. Other than that, I am very happy with the players and the team. It was a great effort.
“We know the kind of team that we are,” Ramos added. “We’ll continue to move forward playing as hard as we always play. I think this was a good learning experience for us and I think we’ll get better from here.”
Group F’s second match between Senegal and Saudi Arabia is set to be played later on Monday. The game can be seen at 6:50 p.m. ET on FS1 and Telemundo En Vivio.
The U.S. is back at Incheon Football Stadium to take on Senegal in their second game of Group F play on Thursday, May 25. Kickoff is set for 7 a.m. ET on FS1, FOX Sports Go and Telemundo
Goal Scoring Rundown:
ECU – Herlin Lino (Washington Corozo) , 5th minute: Ecuador got on the board early thanks to a gallivanting run up the right by Corozo, who broke free into the area before centering a pass for Lino as Jonathan Klinsmann came off his line to challenge. With the U.S. goalkeeper out of the net, Lino blasted an effort that just evaded Erik Palmer-Brown’s clearance attempt to give Ecuador the early lead. USA 0, ECU 1
ECU – Bryan Cabezas (Jhonny Quiñónez), 7th minute: While the U.S. was still collecting itself from the first goal, Ecuador doubled its lead two minutes later. After a spell of possession, central midfielder Jhonny Quiñónez connected with Brayan Cabezas at the top of the box before powering by Tommy Redding and slipping his shot inside the near post. USA 0, ECU 2
USA – Josh Sargent (Luca De La Torre), 36th minute: The U.S. cut into the lead nine minutes before halftime when a penetrating run through the attacking midfield from Luca De La Torre saw the Fulham forward lead Sargent into the box on the right. The 17-year-old took one touch to control before blasting past José Cevallos and inside the near post. USA 1, ECU 2
USA – Josh Sargent (Brooks Lennon), 54th minute: After surviving some nervy minutes at the start of the second half, the U.S. pulled level less than 10 minutes after the interval. A quick build up through midfield saw Tyler Adams slot a ball to Brooks Lennon on the right flank. The Real Salt Lake attacker then sent a pinpoint cross that eluded the Ecuador back line and fell for Sargent, who headed back across goal for his second of the match. USA 2, ECU 2
ECU – Bryan Cabezas (unassisted) 64th minute: Ecuador retook the lead just after the hour mark. Aaron Herrera hit a ball with pace back to Klinsmann, who tried to dribble out of pressure by Wilter Ayoví, but misplayed and cleared directly to Bryan Cabezas, who pounced before firing a low effort inside the right post. USA 2, ECU 3
USA – Luca De La Torre (unassisted), 90+4 minute: The U.S.poured everything forward late in search of the equalizer and it came four minutes into second-half stoppage time. Brooks Lennon served a dangerous cross from the right that was partially cleared by an Ecuador defender, but fell straight into the path of De La Torre, who stepped up and hit a first-time effort inside the lower, right post to rescue a point for the U.S. USA 3, ECU 3 FINAL
- The USA and Ecuador faced each for the first time in a FIFA U-20 World Cup.
- Seventeen-year-old Josh Sargent bagged a brace in his first U.S. U-20 MNT appearance.
- Luca De La Torre’s goal is his second of the year. The Fulham striker tallied the game-winning goal in the USA’s 4-1 win against Haiti during the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Feb. 21.
- Carrying on his role from the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, defender Erik Palmer-Brown once again captained the side in its 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup opener.
- Gedion Zelalem left the match in the 32nd minute due to injury and was replaced by Derrick Jones two minutes later.
- Jones received a yellow card for a challenge at midfield in the 80th minute.
- Head coach Tab Ramos moves to 3-3-3 all-time at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
– U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Ecuador
Date: May 22, 2017
Competition: 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group F
Venue: Incheon Stadium; Incheon, Korea Republic
Kickoff: 4 a.m. ET (5 p.m. local time)
Weather: 75 degrees; Sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
ECU 2 1 3
ECU – Herlin Lino (Washington Corozo) 5th minute
ECU – Bryan Cabezas (Jhonny Quiñonez) 7
USA – Josh Sargent (Luca de la Torre) 36
USA – Josh Sargent (Brooks Lennon) 54
ECU – Bryan Cabezas 64
USA – Luca de la Torre 90+4
USA: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann; 3-Danny Acosta, 4-Tommy Redding, 5-Erik Palmer-Brown (capt.), 14-Aaron Herrera; 7-Eryk Williamson (13-Lagos Kunga, 72), 8-Tyler Adams (11-Sebastian Saucedo, 85), 10-Gedion Zelalem (18-Derrick Jones, 34), 17-Brooks Lennon, 19-Josh Sargent, 20-Luca de la Torre
Subs not used: 2-Auston Trusty, 6-Justen Glad, 9-Emmanuel Sabbi, 12-James Marcinkowski, 15-Jeremy Ebobisse, 16-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 21-Brady Scott
Head coach: Tab Ramos
ECU : 1-Jose Cevallos; 4-Kevin Minda, 6-Pervis Estupiñan, 7-Washington Orozco (19-Jordy Caicedo, 77), 8-Wilter Ayovi (17-Joao Rojas, 57), 9-Herlin Lino, 10-Bryan Cabezas, 15-Jordan Sierra (capt.), 16-Jhonny Quiñonez (14-Renny Jaramillo, 89), 18-Feliz Torres, 20-Luis Segovia
Subs not used: 2-Angelo Preciado, 3-Joel Quintero, 5-Juan Nazareno, 11-Yeison Guerrero, 12-Gian Terreros, 13-Jonnathan Bravo, 21-Gabriel Carabali
Head coach: Jose Rodriguez
Stats Summary: USA / ECU
Shots: 6 / 12
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 11
Offside: 1 / 2
ECU – Washington Corozo (caution) 74th minute
USA – Derrick Jones (caution) 80
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander Van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Josh Sargent