2016 USL 20 Under 20 selection Derrick Jones (Bethlehem Steel FC) had a positive impact as the United States earned a 3-3 draw with Ecuador at the FIFA U20 World Cup.
INCHEON, Korea Republic – Luca de la Torre’s stoppage-time goal earned the United States a 3-3 draw in a thrilling encounter with Ecuador to open Group F play in the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup at Incheon Stadium on Monday evening. Ecuador got out to a flying start as Herlin Lino and Bryan Cabezas both struck inside the opening seven minutes, Lino putting home a finish after a counter-attack by Washington Corozo and Cabezas turning his defender well before firing home. The U.S. took time to settle, but improved in the second part of the first half and found an equalizer as Josh Sargent notched his first from Luca de la Torre’s through-ball nine minutes before the break. Sargent then tied the game after an outstanding move that saw Brooks Lennon find the 17-year-old with a perfect back-post cross from the right nine minutes into the second half, but the level scoreline was short-lived as a goalkeeping error by Jonathan Klinsmann 10 minutes later gave Cabezas his second. The goal seemed to deflate the U.S., but its late pressure – mostly provided by Lennon’s tenacity – paid off when a loose defensive header set up De La Torre for a low, first-time finish in stoppage time to grab a massive point for the U.S.
5’ – ECU – Herlin Lino (Washington Corozo)
7’ – ECU – Bryan Cabezas (Jhonny Quiñónez)
36’ – USA – Josh Sargent (Luca de la Torre)
54’ – USA – Josh Sargent (Brooks Lennon)
64’ – ECU – Bryan Cabezas
90+’ – USA – Luca de la Torre
Three Things That Matter:
1. One of the rules of any tournament is to make sure you get something from the first game. Thanks to Luca de la Torre’s late finish, the U.S. was able to do just that as it earned a point it ended up deserving against a good Ecuador side. There’s plenty to be learned, the U.S. cannot afford as bad a start as it made on Monday evening against either Senegal or Saudi Arabia, but there’s plenty also to be taken away as the U.S. rallied twice to get something out of a game that appeared to be lost as stoppage time ticked down, only for De la Torre’s heroics to come through in the nick of time.
2. The United States had found its footing in the game prior to the entry of Derrick Jones as an injury substitute in the 34th minute, but the former Bethlehem Steel FC standout helped the side rise to another level as his physicality in the center of the field helped disrupt Ecuador’s rhythm. Jones also showed off his passing ability, helping set up Sargent’s first goal by winning possession and quickly getting Luca de la Torre into a position to run at Ecuador’s defense. A start next time out against Senegal should be on the cards for the Philadelphia Union youngster.
3. After getting back into the game thanks to a picture-perfect goal that saw Tyler Adams play Brooks Lennon into space down the right for a back-post cross that was a good as you’ll see anywhere that allowed Josh Sargent to equalize, the U.S. was deflated again as a disastrous decision by goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann handed Ecuador the lead back. Klinsmann had shown his worth earlier in the second half with a pair of excellent saves, but his gratitude for De la Torre’s late equalizer that pardoned his gaffe was evident as the goalkeeper charged upfield on the final whistle to likely thank his teammate at a point salvaged from a game that could have gone the other way.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Luca de la Torre, United States – The Fulham midfielder had a perfect set-up for the opening U.S. goal for Josh Sargent, and then came through with a clutch finish to salvage a point in stoppage time.
United States vs. Senegal – May 25, 7 a.m. ET, Incheon Stadium (FS1 / Telemundo)
Ecuador vs. Saudi Arabia – May 25, 4 a.m. ET, Incheon Stadium (FS1)