February 26, 2013
THE VILLARREAL THING
Forward strikes twice to help lift USA over Canada and into U-20 World Cup
PUEBLA, Mexico -- PUEBLA, Mexico — The United States overcame an early one-goal deficit to register a 4-2 quarterfinal victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship to book a spot at the Under-20 World Cup on Tuesday night.
Jose Villarreal scored two goals — once in each half — and Luis Gil and William Trapp added first-half goals to boost the Americans to their first FIFA tournament at that age group since 2009. The U.S. had failed to qualify in 2011. The World Cup will be held in Turkey in June.
The Canadians were eliminated from the competition.
“You have to congratulate USA,” Canada head coach Nick Dasovic said. “The boys gave it everything they had but it just seemed it wasn’t to be.”
The U.S. will face Cuba, 2-1 winners over Costa Rica in the second game of the quarterfinal doubleheader, in the semifinals at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP on Friday (FOX Soccer, Univision Deportes).
“I have to give the players so much credit for today,” U.S. head coach Tab Ramos said. “Not only are they playing a very difficult game that has a lot of pressure, but at the same time they found themselves behind. I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction on the players’ faces when they accomplished something big. I’m glad to be a part of today’s result.”
Despite the U.S. enjoying the early possession, Dylan Carreiro had given Canada a 1-0 advantage in the 23rd minute when he scored from distance, a shot that bounced once and went past goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
The lead, however, did not last very long as Gil equalized six minutes later. Daniel Cuevas sent a short left-wing cross to the Real Salt Lake forward and Gil connected from eight yards past goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau for a 1-1 deadlock and his second goal of the tournament.
“We really didn’t wake up until we were down 1-0,” Ramos said. “Even though Canada allowed us to have the ball, I thought we really weren’t creating opportunities. We have a lot of improvement to do.”
Six minutes later Villarreal, of a Mario Rodriguez feed from the left side, snapped the tie with a seven yards for his sixth U-20 goal and a 2-1 USA lead.
“I’m just happy to be able to help out the team in any way possible,” Villarreal said. “If they need me to score, I’ll score. If they need me to defend, I’ll defend. We work as a unit.”
The Americans, however, were not finished. A minute into first-half stoppage time, Crepeau punched out a corner kick. The ball came to Trapp, who powered a long-range blast that deflected off a Canadian defender and into the goal for a 3-1 bulge.
“It’s awesome. You look up in the stands, you look at your teammates and everyone’s smiling,” Trapp said. “I don’t score many goals, so it’s very exciting.”
Not everyone was smiling.
“Their third goal just ahead of halftime killed us and we were always fighting an uphill battle from then on,” Dasovic said.
Villarreal struck for his second goal as he sent a shot to the far left corner for a 4-1 American advantage in the 54th minute.
The Canadians brought their deficit down to two goals as Samuel Piette tallied off a long-range effort off a corner kick that was cleared by Trapp in the 64th minute.
Canada’s Manjrekar James was awarded a red card for head-butting a U.S. player three minutes into second-half stoppage time.