JEONJU, Korea Republic – The United States U20 National Team saw its journey at the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup come to an end as a late goal in overtime by former Charleston Battery loanee Jeremy Ebobisse wasn’t enough as Venezuela took a 2-1 victory at Jeonju Stadium.
Venezuela threatened from the opening kickoff, as a free kick by Ronaldo Lucena was put toward the right corner by Nahuel Ferraresi, only for U.S. goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann to turn it wide for a corner kick. Adalberto Peñaranda also had an effort turned wide from 25 yards as the Vinotinto pressed the U.S. strongly in the opening 15 minutes. Venezuela appeared to have taken the lead in the 21st minute as a deflected shot came to Sergio Cordova, but the Video Assistant Referee was utilized and ruled Cordova was in an offside position on the initial shot.
The U.S. came into the game more as the half went on, and the game went to the break scoreless, but Venezuela again went close as Ronaldo Chacón hit the crossbar with a header. Cordova again went close, forcing a low save from Klinsmann in the 61st minute as he slipped through the center of the U.S. defense, and he then hit the crossbar with a header two minutes later. The U.S. had the best chances late on, and almost grabbed victory with the final action of the second half as Brooks Lennon’s free kick found Erik Palmer-Brown, but the Swope Park Rangers loanee’s header went wide of the right post with the goalkeeper off his line and beaten.
Venezuela needed only six minutes into overtime to finally open the scoring as Peñaranda got in to tuck home Samuel Sosa’s cross from the top of the six-yard area. Lennon almost caught out Venezuela’s goalkeeper Wuilker Fariñez early in the second period of overtime, firing on net from distance as the ‘keeper anticipated a cross into the penalty area, but Venezuela appeared to have wrapped up a place in the semifinals as Ferraresi scored from a corner with five minutes to go. The United States quickly responded as Ebobisse scored his second goal in as many games off a free kick by Lennon, but the U.S was unable to find an equalizer as its hopes of becoming the second side to reach the semifinals in the programs history came to an end.
96’ – VEN– Adalberto Peñaranda (Samuel Sosa)
115’ – VEN - Nahuel Ferraresi (Ronaldo Lucena)
117’ – USA – Jeremy Ebobisse (Brooks Lennon)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Venezuela should have wrapped up the victory in regulation, but through a combination of great goalkeeping by the U.S.’s Jonathan Klinsmann, some committed defending and some profligate finishing, the game ended scoreless after 90 minutes. When the Vinotinto’s first big chance of overtime presented itself, though, Adalberto Peñaranda was decisive as Samuel Sosa’s cross found him at the top of the six-yard area, giving Klinsmann little chance as his flicked finish found the right corner of the net.
2. As under pressure the United States was for most of the game, it had the chance it needed in second-half stoppage time to grab victory away from their South American opponents. The twist in the flow of the game arrived soon after Lagos Kunga’s entry as a substitute, with the former Super Y League standout’s speed providing an edge to the U.S. attack alongside the solidity of Jeremy Ebobisse’s hold-up play. After earning a free kick on the left deep in stoppage time, though, Swope Park Rangers loanee Erik Palmer-Brown couldn’t quite find a captain’s moment as his header went agonizingly wide, allowing the game to go to overtime.
3. Venezuela’s victory marks the fourth consecutive time the United States has been eliminated in the FIFA U20 World Cup’s quarterfinals either in overtime or a penalty shootout. There’s even a decent chance that this side will befall the same fate as its predecessors two years ago, and end up losing to the eventual champions as happened following the United States’ shootout loss to Serbia in 2015. For the tournament as a whole, though, the side can take pride in the determination it showed throughout – even giving itself one final glimmer of hope through Jeremy Ebobisse’s 117th minute goal – and will learn a lot from a solid run at the tournament. Hopefully the players will return to their respective clubs ready to find another level in their young professional careers.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Adalberto Peñaranda, Venezuela – Peñaranda scored the go-ahead goal for the Vinotinto, and was a threat to the U.S. defense throughout the game as he led his side into the semifinals with a second consecutive overtime victory
United States – End of Tournament
Venezuela vs. Uruguay – June 8, 4 a.m. ET, Daejon Stadium (FS1 / Telemundo)