Photo courtesy Victor Straffon / Straffon Images
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – The United States U20s booked their place at the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup as Eryk Williamson had a goal and assist in a 2-1 victory against El Salvador on Friday night at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica. The win also moved the U.S. into the final of the CONCACAF U20 Championship on Sunday, where it will face Honduras for the title. The U.S. took the lead in the 18th minute when a perfect pass by Eryk Williamson caught out the El Salvador back line and allowed Emmanuel Sabbi to move in on goal alone before chipping past the advancing goalkeeper. Williamson doubled the lead seven minutes later with a rasping shot from 25 yards that found the top-left corner of the net, but 10 minutes later El Salvador got back into the game when a cross from the left by Josue Rivera Arevalo found Marvin Marquez Ayala arriving late for a first-time finish that eluded Jonathan Klinsmann. The U.S. was able to regain some control in the second half, but the tension in the contest continued to rise, and both sides saw players sent off. El Salvador’s Kevin Reyes earned a second yellow card with 10 minutes to go, and both El Salvador’s Marcos Rodriguez and the United States’ Sebastian Saucedo were dismissed after a late altercation before the final whistle blew.
18’ – USA – Emmanuel Sabbi (Eryk Williamson)
25’ – USA – Eryk Williamson
35’ – SLV – Marvin Marquez Ayala (Josue Rivera Arevalo)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The United States accomplished what it needed to on both fronts on Friday night, securing its place at the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea later this year and also booking a spot in the tournament’s final on Sunday as it came through a scrappy contest against an El Salvador side that was fighting for its tournament life. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest performance, the U.S. completed only 69 percent of its passes, but it was effective enough to get the job done.
2. The two high spots of the contest were both provided by former D.C. United Academy midfielder Eryk Williamson, who scored one of the goals of the tournament that proved to be the game-winner. The assist for Emmanuel Sabbi’s goal was excellent, too, and Williamson could have had a hat trick if he had taken a good second-half chance, but his outstanding blast proved a worthy game-winner.
3. The U.S. will try to claim the CONCACAF U20 Championship for the first time on Sunday afternoon when it takes on a Honduras side that will be well-rested after taking victories earlier this week against Costa Rica and a Panama side that earned victory against the United States in the opening group stage in the other group. The United States has finished as runner-up twice since CONCACAF restored the knockout stage in 2009, and with a place in South Korea clinched will be looking to end its tournament on a high note.
United States – vs. Honduras, Sunday, March 5, 5 p.m. ET
El Salvador – End of Tournament