The United States have been eliminated from the Under-20 World Cup by Ghana, who were excellent in their 4-1 win on Thursday. Unlike the France and Spain games, which had very obvious positives from the U.S., Ghana was superior to the United States in every way.
Frank Acheampong scored the opener in the 37th minute, thanks to a poor clearance attempt and subsequent giveaway by Will Trapp. This followed a decent spell from the U.S., who looked like the more likely team to score for a period of around 20 minutes in the first half. The second half was a different story, with the U.S. looking poor from the start. Ebenezer Assifuah capitalized on a giveaway in midfield and scored a rocket from 15 yards in the 57th minute, putting Ghana 2-0 up.
Shane O'Neill scored on a corner with a header to bring the U.S. back into the game, but they fell apart shortly afterwards. Assifuah scored again in the 77th minute from a corner and Kennedy Ashia added the exclamation point in the 83rd minute, beating Cody Cropper with a shot between the keeper's legs.
- I was surprised that Oscar Sorto got a start, but he proved that he deserved it. I thought the was the United States' best player from start to finish. Looked decent at both right wing and right back.
- Shane O'Neill was terrific. Only defender who never put a foot wrong and had the only U.S. goal.
- Will Trapp and Caleb Stanko were not good. Trapp failed to clear on the opening Ghana goal and Stanko was caught ball-watching. Later, Stanko got killed on Ghana's third goal, from a corner.
- I was impressed by Juan Ocegueda, who has improved in each game I've seen him in. He was poor in the Toulon Tournament and against Spain, very solid against France and then good in this game.
- Mikey Lopez was less than impressive in relief of Benji Joya, who was suspended for yellow card accumulation.
- Daniel Garcia made the giveaway that led to the second Ghana goal. It was a really, really, really ugly giveaway.
- This was Luis Gil's weakest game of the competition.
- Mario Rodriguez was better than Alonso Hernandez was at any point in this tournament. He really should have done something with his one truly great opportunity, though. He did an excellent job in the first half to turn the Ghana defense inside out and create a great shot for himself before he played what looked like a pass to the Ghanian keeper.
- Cody Cropper had a rough qualifying tournament. Then he had a rough Toulon Tournament. Then he had a decent first two World Cup games. Then he was brilliant for 80 minutes against Ghana. Then a hilarious howler. I have no idea what to think of this kid.
- While the results were disappointing, this looks like a solid Under-20 class. Luis Gil and Shane O'Neill look like they could play in the Gold Cup. Benji Joya, Daniel Cuevas, Jose Villarreal, Mario Rodriguez, Juan Ocegueda and DeAndre Yedlin all look like promising players who could have big futures. There are a bunch of good Under-20 players who were not on this team for various reasons. This result is not a sign that the U.S. is going backwards.