USA tops its group at Concacaf U-20 Championship with hat trick win

Philadelphia Union homegrown forward Quinn Sullivan scored a natural hat trick in the USA's 3-0 win over Cuba that earned Coach Mikey Varas' team a first-place finish in Group E at the Concacaf U-20 Championship.

Cuba led the group going into the game thanks to its 1-0 win over Canada, which held the USA to a 2-2 tie.

Whereas the USA squandered many early chances against the Canadians and entered halftime with only a 1-0 edge on Monday, the Americans' start on Wednesday was swift and precise. Sullivan's first strikes provided a 2-0 lead within eight minutes of kickoff.

Only 75 seconds after the opening whistle, Sullivan finished a fine service across the goal area from Caden Clark, who had received a pinpoint pass from Paxten Aaronson after their one-two.

Sullivan's second finish came after a neat end-to-end string of passes. It started with a pass from inside the U.S. penalty area from Brandan Craig to Sullivan, who juked a Cuban deep in the U.S. half and evaded another at the center circle before passing to Clark. He, after a couple deft touches, passed through a Cuban crowd to Alejandro Alvarado, who set the plate for Sullivan.

Aaronson lofted a ball out of the U.S. half for Sullivan to meet in stride and complete his hat trick two minutes before the halftime whistle.

Goals (with video):
2: Sullivan (1-0)
8: Sullivan (2-0)
43: Sullivan (3-0)

Up next: The USA faces Nicaragua in the round of 16 on Saturday (8:30 ET, ViX, Concacaf app). Nicaragua is one of the four teams that advanced to the knockout stage through a qualifying tournament in November between Concacaf's lower ranked (17 and below) teams.

Elsewhere: Canada finished third in Group E by beating St. Kitts & Nevis to advance along with the USA and Cuba.

The prize. The 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championship serves as qualifying for both the 2013 Under-20 World Cup (four quarterfinal winners advance) and 2024 Olympics (two semifinal winners go to France).

By finishing in the top two of its group, the USA avoids facing Mexico earlier than the final.

By winning its group, the USA avoids the possibility of facing host Honduras before the semifinals. Honduras knocked the USA out of the last two Olympics in the semifinals of Olympic qualifying.

SA Feature: Young Union midfielder Quinn Sullivan served well by Philly family tradition By Brian Sciaretta, September, 2021.

June 22 in Tegucigalpa
USA 3 Cuba 0. Goals: Sullivan 2, 8, 43.
USA — Brady, Cuevas (Halliday, 46) , Neal, Craig, Allen, Tsakiris, Pukstas, Aaronson (Luna, 46), Alvarado (McGlynn, 72), Sullivan (Wolff, 46), Clark (Cowell, 62).
Cuba — Morgado (A.Fernandez, 63), Alvares, Penalver, Torrez (Trutiet, 67), Sanchez, Valdez, Ciudad (Paradela, 46), Angel (K.Fernandez, 46), Oda, Duboy (Palma, 46), Quinones.
Yellow cards: USA — Cowell 83, Wolff 80, McGlynn 75. Cuba — Valdez 13. Red cards — none.
Referee: Selvin Brown (Honduras)


13 comments about "USA tops its group at Concacaf U-20 Championship with hat trick win".
  1. Bob Ashpole, June 23, 2022 at 12:36 a.m.

    Not worth watching. Very boring play. 

    Part of the problem that the coach is facing is there is almost no recovery time between matches. 2 days between matches is a really, really bad idea. So the coach has been forced to be inconsistent in his use of field players. And on this team there are a couple of good players but a very large dropoff in effectiveness after that.

    The USSF mandatory system of play is holding these players back, especially the midfielders who are basically bypassed instead of being the heart of combination play, that would be but for the long passes from the CBs. It worked so far in this competition, but I don't think it would work against quality opponents.

  2. Seth Vieux replied, June 23, 2022 at 12:39 p.m.

    Guess they just captured the pretty solid play in the 8+ minute linked video recap? Was the rest of the game long balls from the centerbacks? Didn't see a single one in the video recap and all three goals were nice combinations involving multiple forwards and midfielders...

    Looks like Paxten Aaronson was playing a pretty effective false 9 in this one.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, June 23, 2022 at 6:19 p.m.

    Cuba was a really poor team. The US team underperformed. All along the competition, a few individuals have had some good play in the final third, but the rest of the game isn't there. It is just knock it around in the back and then kick a long ball forward. The USSF mandate teams use the "play IN the back" long ball style. No rhythm, no penetration with combination passing. 

    The second half was a fast-forward event. 

  4. R2 Dad, June 23, 2022 at 5:27 a.m.

    Is this what parity looks like, CONCACAF? Small roster size and not enough rest means everybody gets to play kickball?

  5. frank schoon, June 23, 2022 at 10:01 a.m.

    Our first goal was pure and pure offside...I can't believe the linesmen missed it...

  6. Michael Saunders replied, June 23, 2022 at 10:52 a.m.

    Frank:   Unless you have another camera angle(s) that cofirms your perspective, than I doubt very much that an offside was missed.   Couple of indicators (but certainly not conclusive)  from the video as well also makes your statement hard to believe... (1)  The Cubans did not protest or even raise their arms for an offside (2) Announcers did not infer that possibility  



  7. Seth Vieux replied, June 23, 2022 at 12:25 p.m.

    Left back is a yard behind the CB - he's possibly level with the CB - imagine VAR would have shown onside or at worst milimeters offside. 

  8. Seth Vieux replied, June 23, 2022 at 12:28 p.m.

    Above referencing the initial through ball - if you're talking about the service and finish he's clearly behind the ball when played.... Frank are you OK? I mean you surely understand the offside rule right?

  9. frank schoon replied, June 23, 2022 at 1:32 p.m.

    Guys, I looked at it again...and he seems to be off-side to me. I watched the replay on it for that is where it shows...
    Look at the clip, beginning at 11:29 to when he scores....I don't know, if that is not an off-sides , then I don't know what is....

    (2) CU20 2022 | United States vs Cuba - YouTube

  10. Seth Vieux replied, June 23, 2022 at 1:54 p.m.

    In that full video I paused at 11:29 (Sullivan clearly behgind the ball but still not played) and 11:30 - at 11:30 the ball is a foot or so already in flight from forward of the penalty spot - this is miliseconds AFTER the ball was played (already in flight) and SUllivan is clearly not even yet to the penalty spot / 12 yard mark. SO ball was played from about less than 12 yards from the end line and Sullivan is more than 12 yards from the endline - that is onside all day long. I guess I don't understand why you see it as offside? What specifically about this play makes it offside in your view?

  11. frank schoon replied, June 23, 2022 at 2:32 p.m.

    Seth, Guys, you're right he wasn't offside, I totally forgot about the pass before the one which allowed the pass to be made in a way that Sullivan to be on side...I think what happened was my eye was Sullivan the whole time ,knowing that's where that ball will end up a couple moves further  ahead in the play. And in so doing that I lost my attention on how the cross was set up.

    Thanks for the help guys...

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, June 23, 2022 at 6:12 p.m.

    Frank, during real time I thought our player was in front of the ball too and expected a flag. It was a twisted camera angle though.

    The 2nd goal was nice.

  13. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2022 at 8:01 a.m.

    Bob, if you look at the last pass given ,yes , he is off-sides. Ofcourse ,I totally missed the third pass because I was looking and paying attention to Sullivan who wasn't in the play at the time but I knew that he, somehow ,would end up with the ball as the last station. 

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