USMNT U-20’s down Ecuador in World Cup opener

The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team opened play at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Saturday with Mikey Varas’ squad using a late winner from Jonathan Gomez to claim three points in Group B play.

Gomez’s long-range strike in the 92nd minute was all the Americans needed to earn a 1-0 opening day victory. Gilmar Napa made four saves to keep the USMNT U-20’s at bay, but the Americans eventually broke through Ecuador’s defense to take an early advantage in Group B.

Both teams had ample opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half but were unable to do so.

Caleb Wiley was denied in the 55th minute by Napa, which went down as the first shot for either team on net.

Darren Yapi came off the bench for the USMNT U-20’s later in the second half and became a handful for the Ecuadoran backline. Yapi’s long-range shot in the 80th minute was caught by Napa before the Colorado Rapids forward was also denied from close-range in the box three minutes later.

Gomez was denied in the early stages of stoppage time by Napa, but had the final say on his next offensive opportunity. After receiving a pass from Owen Wolff just outside of the box, Gomez unleashed a blistering effort which landed into the right side of the net.

It was Gomez’s first international goal with the USMNT U-20’s.

The USMNT U-20’s will next face Fiji on Tuesday before closing group stage play on Friday against Slovakia.

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