The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team (MNT) has learned who they will face in the group stage matches at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea. Drawn into Group F, the U.S. U-20 MNT will open the tournament against Ecuador on May 22, which will be followed by Senegal on May 25. The U.S. will wrap up group play against Saudi Arabia on May 28.
The 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup runs from May 20 – June 11 throughout six cities in South Korea.
The U.S. enters the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup after winning its first ever CONCACAF U-20 Championship on March 5 by defeating Honduras on penalties 5-3. San Diego’s Luca De La Torre converted the fourth penalty for the stars-and-stripes.
This is the third consecutive U-20 World Cup the U.S. has qualified for and the 15th overall. The U.S. will be looking to replicate the success the 2015 U.S. U-20 World Cup squad had as they advanced to the quarterfinals and were knocked out of the tournament by Serbia on penalties 6-5. The best finish the U.S. has had was a fourth place result in the 1989 U-20 World Cup.
California natives are expected to make the squad. At the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, the following California natives were on the roster: Goalkeepers Jonathan Klinsmann (University of California; Newport Beach), JT Marcinkowski (Georgetown; Alamo), and midfielders Luca de la Torre (Fulham F.C.; San Diego) and Jonathan Gonzalez (CF Monterrey; Santa Rosa). The only player who did not feature was Gonzalez, and Klinsmann was the primary goalkeeper. Torre appeared in every match, but one (4-1 victory over St. Kitts & Nevis), and scored one goal against Haiti.
The following is from U.S. Soccer’s release…
2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup
Group A: Korea Republic (host), Guinea, Argentina, England
Group B: Venezuela, Germany, Vanuatu, Mexico
Group C: Zambia, Portugal, Iran, Costa Rica
Group D: South Africa, Japan, Italy, Uruguay
Group E: France, Honduras, Vietnam, New Zealand
Group F: Ecuador, USA, Saudi Arabia, Senegal
U.S. U-20 MNT’s Group F Schedule:
May 22, 4 a.m. ET: Ecuador vs. USA; Incheon Stadium, Incheon
May 25, 7 a.m. ET: Senegal vs. USA; Incheon Stadium, Incheon
May 28, 5 a.m. ET: USA vs. Saudi Arabia; Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon
U.S. U-20 MNT’s Group F Opponents:
Ecuador: Ecuador finds themselves in the U-20 World Cup for the third time and first since 2011. In 2011, Ecuador tied for its best World Cup finish when they advanced to the Round of 16. In eight total matches played during the 2001 and 2011 U-20 World Cups, Ecuador has posted a 2-4-2 record.
Senegal: Senegal makes their second U-20 World Cup appearance, with their first coming in 2015 when they posted a 2-3-2 record. After getting out of the group stage, Senegal continued their underdog run with a win in penalty kicks against Ukraine in the Round of 16, followed by a 1-0 quarterfinal win over Uzbekistan. Senegal’s magical run came to an end in the semifinals, where they lost to eventual runner up Brazil.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia earns its eighth U-20 World Cup berth in 2017, and first since 2011. The team’s best finish came in 2011, when they made it out of the group stage before falling 3-0 to Brazil in the Round of 16. In their seven tournament appearances since 1985, Saudi Arabia has posted a 4-12-6 overall record across 22 matches played.