Feb 23, 2013, 7:30 AM EDT
Thanks to Jose Villarreal and Luis Gil, the U.S. U-20s are one step closer to this summer’s World Cup, with the team’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Friday giving the team Group A at the CONCACAF tournament in Puebla, Mexico. Now the team faces a in-and-in Tuesday against Canada in the competition’s quarterfinals.
The four quarterfinal victors will clinch spots in the 2012 U-20 World Cup, which begins in Turkey on June 21.
The U.S. had already clinched a place in the knockout round after Haiti lost to Costa Rica on Wednesday. With the victory over the Ticos, the U.S., winners of Group A, avoided the first place team in Group B. Costa Rica gets that honor, slated to play Cuba on Tuesday.
Friday’s only goal came early in the second half when Gil lofted a corner into the middle of the area. Villarreal rose uncontested to head a shot toward Jairo Monge’s goal line, the Costa Rican keeper unable to react to a well-headed ball that became the game’s only score.
Gil now has a goal and an assist in the tournament having scored in the third minute of Monday’s 2-1 victory over Haiti.
Per U.S. Soccer’s report, head coach Tab Ramos deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation against Costa Rica, a setup that featured Villarreal at its tip. Gil, Sporting KC draftee Mikey Lopez, Columbus prospects Shane O’Neill and Wil Trapp, and Chivas USA defender Juan Pablo Ocegueda were other Major League Soccer representatives in the U.S.’s starting lineup.
The tournament continues Saturday with Jamaica facing Panama while Mexico takes on El Salvador. All four teams, having already clinched spots in the quarterfinals, are jockeying for position in the knockout round.
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