The United States under-20 men’s national team have been eliminated from the World Cup in a eerily familiar fashion. A 2-1 extra time loss to Venezuela evoked the ghosts of USMNT past to haunt Tab Ramos.
Venezuela dominated play through out the first half, coming close to scoring several times including the very first minute. Jonathan Klinsmann was forced into a tremendous diving save with an early free kick was headed back across his goal. It wouldn’t be the only solid stop he had to make to keep it scoreless going into the half.
La Vinotinto had the ball in the net and a goal awarded in the 22nd minute when the tournament’s joint-leading scorer Sergio Cordova received the ball in the box and finished past Klinsmann. However after a short and efficient review from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the goal was taken off due to being offside.
It took a good 35 minutes for the U.S. to get some kind of control of the match. Luca de la Torre had some really nice moments on the left flank, using his silky dribbling skills to create some openings.
The Venezuelan assault on the American goal continued in the second half. At one point, they held a 14-1 advantage in shots with several crossbar hits as well. A complete onslaught of attack somehow didn’t result in a goal through 70 minutes of play.
It took until second half stoppage time for the U.S. to mount any sort of threat to the Venezuela goal. They had a golden chance to grab a late winner off a free kick, but Erik Palmer-Brown couldn’t direct his open header from six yards out on goal.
Extra time began with the U.S. carrying over their good play for a short spell before La Vinotinto got back control. Finally after 96 minutes of pressure and chances the deadlock was broken. Adalberto Peñaranda opened the scoring after flicking in a nice ball from the left flank past Klinsmann.
Flashbacks of Belgium in 2014 began filling the arena as Jurgen Klinsmann quickly hid under his seat. Chris Wondolowski then emerged onto the field, looked into the TV cameras and extended both of his middle fingers in a condescending manner, mocking every single soccer nerd who bothered to stay awake to watch. Another goal hits the net. Wondo’s image weirdly distorts and reveals that he’s actually been Torsten Frings all along.
Suddenly, the ghost of Julian Green floated over the stadium and consumed the vessel of Jeremy Ebobisse and the U.S. magically pulled a goal back. However it would be for naught as the final whistle blew ending the hopes and dreams of a nation.