The U.S. squad failed to claim its first title, as Costa Rica grabbed a 3-0 victory, breaking the scoreless streak for opponents of the Americans.
For the third time overall, the U.S. fell short of winning what would have been its first-ever regional title.
The scoreless streak the Americans were maintaining against their rivals all tournament long was breached in the 41st minute by Diego Alonso Estrada.
As the U.S. pushed forward in search of the equalizer, Costa Rica capitalized on the counterattack, scoring two more goals in the second half.
However, the amount of changes U.S. coach Thomas Rongen made for the final match could have unsettled the squad somewhat. Most importantly, goalkeeper Brian Perk, who kept four clean sheets in the tournament, gave way to Josh Lambo and Sean Johnson, who each played a half in the final. Rongen made six other changes from the starting lineup that won Friday night’s semifinal game in a penalty shootout against Costa Rica.
On the other hand, the U.S. could afford to experiment, as qualifying to the U20 World Cup in Egypt later this year was assured by finishing in first in their qualifying group. Besides Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobogo, and Honduras also qualified for the tournament.
"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."
Other teams who will be competing in the U20 World Cup include Australia, Korea Republic, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Tahiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. -
USA: 18-Joshua Lambo (1-Sean Johnson, 46); 6-Amobi Okugo (15-Brian Ownby, 58, 5-Aaron Maund, 2-Kyle Davies (capt.), 11-Jorge Flores; 12-Bryan Arguez, 8-Jared Jeffrey, 3-Anthony Wallace; 14-Sam Garza (7-Daniel Cruz, 66), 16-Billy Schuler, 23-Brek Shea
Subs not used: 4-Sheanon Williams, 9-Peri Marosevic, 10-Dilly Duka, 13-Tony Taylor, Subs not available: 22-Gale Agbossoumonde, 24-Brian Perk Head coach: Thomas Rongen
Costa Rica: 1-Esteban Alvarado; 2-Jose Antonio Mena, 5-Derrick Alberto Johnson (capt.), 6-Ricardo Jose Blanco, 7-Marcos Danilo Urena (11-Diego Josue Madrigal, 85), 8-David Alberto Guzman, 13-Allen Guevara, 14-Brian Jose Oviedo, 16-Diego Alonso Estrada (10-Carlos Hernandez, 90+), 17-Josue Martinez (9-Jorge Castro, 90+), 19-Jose Daniel Varela
Subs not used: 3-Kenner Gutierrez, 15-Javier Mynor Esoce, 18-Minor Jesus Alvarez Subs not available: 4-Juan Andres Monge, 12-Cristian Gamboa
Head Coach: Ronald Gonzalez