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USA and Mexico to meet in Sunday's final
by Paul Kennedy, March 2nd, 2013 2:20AM

TAGS:  mexico, under-20 world cup


[CONCACAF UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA set up a date with host Mexico in Sunday's Concacaf Under-20 Championship final (TV: Fox Soccer, Galavision, 7 p.m. ET) thanks to a 2-0 win over Cuba in Friday's semifinals on early goals by Mario Rodriguez and Daniel Cuevas. It will be looking for its first Concacaf U-20 championship.

The win gave the USA four wins in four games, marking the first time since it hosted the tournament in 1980 that it won four in a row. The USA lost to Mexico, 2-0, in the 1980 final played at Giants Stadium. It was the first of five times it has finished second in the Concacaf U-20 championship. Mexico has won 11 Concacaf championships.

Rodriguez put the USA ahead in the eighth minute when Benji Joya fed him at the top of the area, and he held off his defender and beat goalie Sandy Sanchez to the near post.

Three minutes later, Cuevas made it 2-0 when his shot from 24 yards out deflected off a defender and left Sanchez stranded. Cuevas later left the game with an ankle injury and his status for the final is uncertain.

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal missed the semifinal with an ankle injury. Three other players -- captain Caleb Stanko, midfielder Luis Gil and forward Jerome Kiesewetter -- returned to their clubs following the quarterfinal win over Canada that qualified the USA for the 2013 Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

According to a U.S. Soccer release, goalkeeper Cody Cropper will return to English club Southampton on Saturday and will not be available for the final.

Mexico beat El Salvador, 2-0, in the other semifinal. A heroic effort by Selectita goalie Rolando Morales held off Mexico captain Antonio Briseno scored two late goals.

March 1 in Puebla
USA 2 Cuba 0. Goals: Rodriguez 8, Cuevas 11.
USA -- Cropper; Serna, O'Neill, Torre, Ocegueda; Lopez, Trapp; Rodriguez (Allen, 72), Joya, Garcia; Cuevas (Okwuonu, 77)
Cuba -- Sanchez, Vaquero, Labrada, Piedra, Santa Cruz, Reyes, Morales (Anderson, 52), Hernandez, Diz Pe (Collado, 62), Saez, Martinez.
Referee: Hugo Cruz (Costa Rica).

  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: March 2, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.
    Congratulations to the US for reaching the Final v Mexico. Massive achievement! And speaking of final, "gap," etc., which "what is the logic of having "3" US players going back to their clubs? Before such a historic match?
  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: March 2, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.
    I don't think there was an option for Tab to keep them. Their clubs insisted on them coming back to their teams. In fact as mentioned elsewhere, one defender wasn't released at all and another two were injured -- the back line would have been stronger. I love the look of this team! They have excellent ball skills, awesome shielding, great dribblers and most important they are all willinng to takepeople on and attempt the skillful pass. Even when it doesn't work it is thrilling to watch !!!!y
  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: March 3, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.
    "Today" is the "absolute" test! For the most part, today we will see where our soccer is at! Good luck fellas!
  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: March 3, 2013 at 9:32 a.m.
    Great to see a major publication acknowledging the success of the 1980 squad! Why won't Soccer America acknowledge? "For only the second time in CONCACAF Youth Tournament and Championship history, the U.S. has won four straight games in the event. The only other occasion was the eighth CONCACAF Youth Tournament in 1980, when the USA won all four first-round games and its second-round match before drawing 1-1 with Honduras in the semifinals and falling 2-0 to Mexico in the tournament final."
  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: March 3, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.
    ...maybe their "journalists" weren't involved with Soccer then...except for Paul Gardner!:)
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: March 3, 2013 at 11:50 a.m.
    I like the look of this team. They play with confidence and flair. Not everything they try works out, but they seem to have the FREEDOM to try.I don't agree with the sending home of 3-4 players before the semis and finals. Out of respect, we should put out our best and go for it?Although, I think they can win anyway and winning a CONCACAF championship is a big deal. Good luck boys.

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