BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The US U-20 national team is set to face Canada tonight in a winner take all quarterfinal game that will determine whether or not it will qualify for this summer's U-20 World Cup.
The United States won Group A with narrow wins over Haiti and Costa Rica. Canada on the other hand, lost to Cuba 2-1 but defeated Nicaragua 5-1 to finish second in Group B.
The US team will be looking to reverse a string of poor results at the youth national team level where the 2011 U-20s failed to qualify for the U-20 World Cup and the 2012 U-23 team could not even advance out of its group to qualify for the Olympics.
The game will not be easy, however, for the Americans. These two teams met recently in October in Spain for the Marbella Cup and the Canadians won 2-1 and the American team had many of the same players that are on this current roster.
The backline for the United States is the biggest are of concern but against Canada, the US team will likely go with the same group that played Friday against Costa Rica. That was Cody Cropper in goal, Juan Ocegueda on the left, Eric Miller on the right, and a central defense tandem of Caleb Stanko and Shane O'Neil.
In the midfield, the familiar faces of Will Trap, Benji Joya, and Luis Gil are likely to start as all three have been playing together most of this cycle. In the front line of the 4-3-3, Daniel Cuevas and Jose Villarreal are likely to play on the wings with Mario Rodriguez playing in the middle.
Kickoff is set for 6:00pm EST and the game will be played in Puebla, Mexico.