USA-Ecuador: U-20 Men's World Cup Player Ratings

June 8 in Gydnia, Poland
USA 1 Ecuador 2. Goals: Weah 36; Cifuentes 30, Espinoza 43.
Att.: 6,389

The U-20 World Cup ended for the USA with a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Ecuador, which arrived to the tournament as South American champion. The USA had the entire second half to close the one-goal deficit, attacked persistently, but failed to create clear scoring chances. Although a relatively evenly played game -- aside from the first 10 minutes when Ecuador dominated -- Ecuador hit the crossbar and squandered two prime scoring opportunities in the second half.

(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)


David Ochoa returned to the lineup, replacing Brady Scott, after playing in one of the previous four games, the USA's 1-0 win over Qatar in group play. On Ecuador's opening goal, Ochoa was beaten from 26 yards. He made a diving save on Alexander Alvarado's header from eight yards in the 68th minute.

Player (Club) U-20 caps/goals (age)
4 David Ochoa
(Real Salt Lake) 6/0 (18)


In general, the backline coped well with Ecuador's dynamic attack. Chris Richards won a host of high balls and tackles. Right back Sergino Dest stood out for launching much of the USA's attack in the second half. Aboubacar Keita went unpunished when he coughed the ball in the 63rd minute. Chris Gloster won most his battles with Gonzalo Plata. After winning a header that he directed to Chris Durkin, Gloster took the return pass and sent a promising ball to Soto in the 71st minute.

Player (Club) U-20 caps/goals (age)
Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED) 12/1 (18)
7 Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER) 13/0 (19)
5 Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew) 7/0 (19)
6 Chris Gloster (Hannover 96/GER) 16/0 (18)


Chris Durkin misplayed a ball to Jose Cifuentes in Ecuador's half and missed a slide-tackle as Cifuentes stormed upfield to unleash his shot for the 1-0. And he gifted the ball to Campana in the U.S. penalty area in the 82nd minute. (Campana shot straight to Ochoa). But Durkin also hit a couple of nice cross-field passes, toiled defensively and helped the U.S. keep possession for stretches in the second half. Paxton Pomykal, who helped set up Sebastian Soto's 58th minute chance with a crisp pass to Ulysses Llanez, also covered a lot of ground and won balls. But Alex Mendez was still saddled with too much defensive duty. Mendez's clever passing got the USA going after Ecuador's dominating start. He shot just wide from long range in the 20th minute.

Player (Club) U-20 caps/goals (age)
6 Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas) 12/3 (19)
4 Chris Durkin (D.C. United) 5/0 (19))
5 Alex Mendez (Freiburg/GER) 19/8 (18)


After opening the tournament with two strong games, Konrad De La Fuente was ineffective on the wing against Qater and France, making his start against Ecuador a surprise in light of Ulysses Llanez's game-changing appearances off the bench. De la Fuente, subbed at halftime, again disappointed. Much better was winger Tim Weah, who volleyed home in the equalizer from eight yards, and caused by far the most problems for the Ecuador defense.  Weah did rush and hit high and wide an 89th minute shot from the corner of the penalty area with Pomykal and Sebastian Soto open in the middle. Soto hit the USA's best second-half chance into the side-netting.

Player (Club) U-20 caps/goals (age)
7 Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA) 5/2 (19)
4 Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER) 9/6 (18)
Konrad De La Fuente
(Barcelona/ESP) 7/1 (17)


Ulysses Llanez came on at halftime and evaded three Ecuador defenders in the penalty area to feed Soto, but Llanez faded in the past 20 minutes. Richie Ledezma replaced Mendez in the 74th minute and shot wide late in the game.

Player (Club) U-20 caps/goals (age)
6 Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER) 14/7 (18)
5 Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 7/0 (18)
nr Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution) 17/7 (20)

The loss means the USA has yet to win back-to-back games in the knockout stage on the men's side in a U-20, U-17 or senior World Cup.

The USA and Ecuador also met at the last U-20 World Cup, in 2017. The group-stage clash ended, 3-3, with two goals by Josh Sargent, who was eligible for this tournament but not chosen because he was with the full national team for its friendly with Jamaica.

June 8 in Gyndia, Poland
USA 1 Ecuador 2. Goals: Weah 36; Cifuentes 30, Espinoza 43.
USA -- Ochoa; Dest, Keita (Rennicks, 86), Richards, Gloster; Pomykal, Durkin, Mendez (Ledezma, 74) ; Weah, Soto, De La Fuente (Llanez, 46).
Ecuador -- Ramirez; Prozo, Palacios (Castillo, 57), Espinoza, Vallecilla, Cifuentes, Campana (Segura, 89), Rezabala (Alcivar, 75), Alvarado, Quintero, Plata.
Yellow cards: USA -- Durkin 45+3, Weah 77. Ecuador -- none. Red cards: none.
Referee: Benoit Bastien (France).
Att.: 6,389.

Shots: 11/13
Shots on target: 3/5
Saves: 3/2
Corner Kicks: 5/4
Fouls: 9/12
Offside: 1/1
Possession: 54%/46%

8 comments about "USA-Ecuador: U-20 Men's World Cup Player Ratings".
  1. stewart hayes, June 8, 2019 at 6:31 p.m.

    We got too despirate too early.  Many wanting to be the hero instead of finding better options.  We were too niaive.  A US player got checked near midfield and we retaliate nearly the same way nearer our penalty area.  It's too heavy handed though and we give up a yellow card and free kick and stop a potential counter attack.  Hey it's scoring that matters.  Had some good play and opportunities to even the score.  The team's problems were more mental than technical or tactical.   

  2. frank schoon, June 9, 2019 at 9:41 a.m.

    I thought I was watching US vs Jamaica all over again....I don't care who wins these games for that isn't important. What is important is how the players conduct themselves as individuals as related to themselves and an opponent and to their teammate(s). That tells me more about how they will handle themselves in different situations.
    Did anyone notice how often we lost one on one duels against Ecuador. It is so bad that even if one of our players got by an opponent, the Ecuadorian would turn around proceed to chase him down, either steal the ball or stick his foot out reaching for the ball pushing away and stop the attack. Time and time again if an American player and an Ecuadorian player both were going after the ball or contending for it, the Ecuadorian would win it. So often the Ecuadorian would be able to steal the ball from the American because he doesn't or HASN'T BEEN TAUGHT how to SHIELD the ball on the dribble....
    So often I hear, "we have Tab Ramos as coach", yeah, so what!, he can't make these players play better, when you consider their lack of proper development. I've come to the conclusion, they the players will never be fully formed due to a lack of PICKUP soccer environment, but also the Soccer Academies where they are suppose to be honed, skilled and taught to play is a joke; A huge waste of money. I ask myself who teaches at these Academies( a rhetorical question for I know the answer) that allows players to come out of these academies without having the ability to shield the ball, for instance, since everyone on the U20 team doesn't have a clue.
    Obviously, those who teach at these Academies have a coaching license and probably attain the highest level since that will definitely looks impressive on the resume and perhaps to the parents, but it has no application to the real world of soccer. NEXT POST

  3. frank schoon, June 9, 2019 at 10:10 a.m.

    What you see out there is simply a reflection of the Bad teaching these players are getting at these soccer academies. The only way for us to move up a step in play is to bring in EXPERTISE from abroad for we ain't getting from the current crop of coaches/trainers at these academies. In coaching the MLS chose to move up a step by bringing in TATA and De Boer.
    There are so many great and good players who are retired who can be coaxed to come over here to help. We have the money, the economic status to coax them to come over to help. Look at Paul Scholes, Valderama, Pirlo, Henri, Ronald  de Boer, Iniesta, Xavi, just a sample of the many, many others, who can be approached to teach the real world "insights" of soccer ,for they have done it all and experienced at the highest level, to our kids.
     Just look at Ajax, and see who teaches their youth, it is retired players who played at the highest level instead of some licensed "rumdum' with a coaching license acquired from the USSF coaching school. 
    You see the difference? I hope so, otherwise we're in a bigger mess.  The Ajax youth ,right away, receive real world , hands on experience of how to play soccer. Real EXPERTISE.
    In sum, if we want to move a step upwards in our playing capability we have to bring in EXPERTISE, before these players reach the level of being chosen for the NT. It's that simple. Currently we're coasting and we're not going anywhere for we have reached a certain level in our development that needs to have a boost up. To think that sending our kids to these soccer academies will do the trick really doesn't understand for it is all about who you have to look at who teaches at these soccer Academies....and what I see doesn't IMPRESS me one bit.

  4. beautiful game replied, June 9, 2019 at 11:16 a.m.

    Frank; you missed Bogisevic...he disappeared after the NASL folded.

  5. frank schoon replied, June 9, 2019 at 11:31 a.m.

    BG, Amen

  6. frank schoon, June 9, 2019 at 11:06 a.m.

    What I see so often in the game and that pertains not only to the Americans but other teams as well is to see a goalie in the build up phase  throw the ball out to a centerback, positioned square outside of the penalty box. This is so WRONG! but it has become a standard play that coaches don't even see it or react to it and are CLUELESS to the implications and they are even licensed. This is just as bad as a back passing a ball straight up to the wing. It's just about the worst pass you can make, a terrible pass with so many bad complications, in fact Rinus Michels would bench a back for making a pass like that. But today, I watch coaches, including Ramos, sit there on the bench, totally oblivious, with no reaction what these two bad passes ,for example, really imply. Instead I even hear them comment "good ball' , "well done". This is the problem today , we NO LONGER follow or TEACH the real principles of good soccer to the coaches....
    Lets go back to the goalie passing to the centerback. I think if you watched Holland vs England a couple days ago 3 goals were scored due to errors from centerbacks having the ball. In other words , common sense tells you centerbacks are the weakest players on the ball, why give them the ball in the first place...This is just for starters, now tie this in to the build up phase. 
    The first Golden Rule in building up is keep as many players behind the ball as possible giving enough back support, in order to stop a counterattack by the opponent. The implications of passing to a centerback means he has no lines or players behind him for backsupport in case he makes a mistake. There goes Golden Rule One out the window.
    Golden Rule Two,  the build up the INITIAL pass from the goalie should be VERTICAL not Horizontal. Vertical pass can beat opponents, meaning the team contends with less opponents for the other ones are bypassed. Not only does the VERTICAL pass also place more players behind the ball , but it places automatically more back support on defense in case of ball loss and in addition  you reduce the space for the opponents to operate in as well. NEXT POST.

  7. frank schoon, June 9, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.

    Golden Rule Three, is that the passes you make in your own half in your own half in the build up  should BEAT OR BYPASS, an opponent, in other words vertical over horizontal. But what do we see  nothing but SQUARE passes sometimes going from side of the field to the other and accomplish TOTALLY NOTHING and worse it goes back to the goalie.
    Golden Rule Four, the players should NOT be standing still waiting for the ball, they should be moving forwards toward the ball ,in other words you receive the while motion for this gives the opponents less time to adjust.
    Golden Rule Five, in the build up you don't pass to a player with his back facing downfield, for he  can't see what's behind him, opponent wise or playing option wise.  
    Golden Rule Six which I find is the most crucial. Is that the vertical pass forward will be received to a player around midfield with his back facing downfield. And that is fine, although I just stated you shouldn't receive a ball with your back facing downfield. The difference here is that by skipping a station you allow that station skipped become the 3rd man off the ball facing downfield receiving the lay off pass from the first station.
    And the last Golden Rule Seven is that never pass to a Back on the buildup unless he's running on attack down the flank.  Which also means the wing will have create space for the upcoming back.
    So far none of these Golden rules are followed in order to make a decent build up of an attack.
    I'll stop here for don't want this to become a seminar on building up of attack for there is much more  but you will see when watching the USWNT or MNT or other teams they are CLUELESS and doing it  wrong when build up an attack. 

  8. William Thomas, June 9, 2019 at 11:41 p.m.

    It's embarassing!

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