On Saturday, 20 May 2023, the USA U-20 Men’s National Team secured their qualification for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 1-0 win over Ecuador, who came third in the 2019 tournament.
Real Salt Lake’s Diego Luna was selected in the starting lineup and quickly made his presence known in the American attack. In the first 15 minutes of the game, the USA set the tempo, controlled possession, and threatened in the attacking third. Luna was particularly active, putting pressure on the Ecuadorian back line, covering wide areas on the flanks, and showcasing his individual dribbling skills.
Although the Americans had their chances in the first half, they were unable to find the back of the net and both teams entered halftime in a stalemate. Luna continued to impress in the second half, setting up Caleb Wylie with a one-touch turn-and-pass, but the shot went wide.
In the 65th minute, Luna’s high press paid off as he intercepted a cleared ball, got past Ecuadorian keeper Guilmar Napa, and hit the empty net from outside the 18-yard box. However, the goal was ruled offside.
The USA continued to dominate the game, with Darren Yapi creating a one-on-one chance in the 83rd minute, only to be denied by Napa. But in the 90+3 minute, Jonathan Gomez scored the winning goal with a left-footed volley from outside 18 yards, which went into the top right corner. Luna played the full 90 minutes, spurring the US attack and shining in tight spaces, but was sent off just before the USA scored the winner.
The United States U-20 Youth National Team will face Fiji in their next Group B match on Tuesday 23 May at 12:00 PM MT. The match will be available on FS2, Universe, and Telemundo. More information can be found on USSoccer.com.