U.S. bid for first title fails

[CONCACAF UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA's bid for its first Concacaf U-20 championship failed when it fell to Costa Rica, 3-0, in Sunday's final in Macoya, Trinidad. While the Americans qualified for Egypt 2009, marking the seventh straight time they will played in the under-20 world championships, they hardly dominated. In five games, they scored only five goals and were handed three red cards. The final marked the second game in which the USA had been outshot by a margin of more than 3-1.

Including a switch in goal, where FC Dallas keeper Josh Lambo got the start in place of UCLA's Brian Perk, who earned shutouts in all four games, U.S. coach Thomas Rongen made eight changes from the starting lineup on Friday night when the USA beat host T&T in a shootout after their game ended 0-0.

Former T&T U-17 Aaron Maund, Amobi Okugo and Billy Schuler all made their first starts of the tournament in the final.

Diego Estrada opened the scoring for Costa Rica late in the second half, and the Ticos added to their lead on goals by Josue Varela Martinez and Allen Guevara.

Sean Johnson came up with several top-notch saves to prevent Costa Rica from winning by a bigger margin. The Ticos finished with a 20-6 edge in shots.

The three goals snapped the USA's shutout string of 628 minutes, two less than the Concacaf record set by Mexico in 1973-74.

"We made a lot of changes tonight to try to put ourselves in a situation to be successful, but also to look at some players under pressure," said Rongen. "I'm disappointed in the loss but overall satisfied with the way we've played throughout the finals. Getting to Egypt was our primary goal here, we reached that and to reach a final is a very good accomplishment for a team that came together in a very short amount of time. We did some very good things, and I think this team will represent us well in Egypt."

SEMIFINALS
March 13 in Macoya, Trinidad

USA 0 Trinidad & Tobago 0 (USA wins 4-3 on penalties).
USA --
Perk, Williams (Maund, 90+), Agbossoumonde, Davies, Wallace, Ownby, Jeffrey, Duka, Cruz (Schuler, 77), Marosevic, Taylor (Okugo, 68).
Trinidad & Tobago -- Samuel, Gonzales (Bentic, 90+), Bateu, Davis, Paul, de Silva, Clarence (Joseph, 69), Lougheed (Grosvenor, 50), Primus, Rochford, Walker.
Yellow cards: USA-- Agbossoumonde 90; Trinidad & Tobago -- de Silva 67, Clarence 76.
Referee: Roberto Garcia (Mexico).

FINAL
March 15 in Macoya, Trinidad

Costa Rica 3 USA 0.
Goals: Estrada 41, Martinez 68, Guevara 77.
Costa Rica --
Alvarado, Mena, D.Johnson, Blanco, Urena (Madrigal, 85), Guzman, Guevara, Oviedo, Estrada (Hernandez, 90+), Martinez (Castro, 90+), Varela.
USA -- Lambo (S.Johnson, 46), Okugo (Ownby, 58), Maund, Flores, Davies, Wallace, Arguez, Jeffrey, Garza (Cruz, 66), Schuler, Shea.
Trinidad & Tobago -- Samuel, Gonzales (Bentic, 90+), Bateu, Davis, Paul, de Silva, Clarence (Joseph, 69), Lougheed (Grosvenor, 50), Primus, Rochford, Walker.
Yellow cards: Costa Rica -- Guzman 89.
Referee: Geoffrey Hospedales (Trin. & Tobago).

UNDER-20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Concacaf
USA
Costa Rica
Honduras
Trinidad & Tobago

Europe
Czech Republic
England
Germany
Hungary
Italy
Spain

South America
Brazil
Paraguay
Uruguay
Venezuela

Asia
Australia
South Korea
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan

Africa
Egypt (host)
Cameroon
Ghana
Nigeria
South Africa

Oceania
Tahiti

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