It would have been a travesty if Venezuela had not won its 2017 U-20 World Cup quarterfinal against the USA. La Vinotinto forced American 'keeper Jonathan Klinsmann into a save in the opening minute, setting the tone for a game the Venezuelans dominated by almost every metric - except the score.
Venezuela had a goal called back for offside in the first half, the ball hit the frame of the American goal almost as often as it hit Klinsmann's gloves: it was clear which team was having the better day. But the USA would have come into this game expecting to absorb a lot of pressure, and riding some luck was probably a not-insignificant part of the game-plan. It very nearly paid off: captain Erik Palmer-Brown headed just wide as the match neared the end of 90 minutes with the scores 0-0.
In extra-time, the USA's luck ran out. Adalberto Penaranda had the ball in the net in the 96th minute, and this time there was no complaint from the Video Assistant Referee. In the 115th minute, Nahuel Ferraresi made the score 2-0: Venezuela was going to the semifinals.
But the Americans had enough in the tank for one last surge. Jeremy Ebobisse scored in the 117th minute - the first goal Venezuela had conceded for the tournament. And the final minutes played out much like the entire match, with the Venezuelans painfully aware of the fact that one mistake could cost them dearly.
Venezuela held on for the 2-1 win and a semifinal match against Uruguay (as was eventually established by another quarterfinal that could not be settled inside 90 minutes).
The New York Red Bulls Tyler Adams had his quarterfinal cut short in the 51st minute by a tactical substitution that saw Ebobisse brought into the game.
Jeremy Ebobisse replaces Tyler Adams in 51st minute. Didn't seem himself all day, think he may have felt the short rest moree than anyone— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) June 4, 2017
BTW, Jeremy Ebobisse is on for Tyler Adams. Tab Ramos trying to fix his tired and struggling midfield. #USMNT— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) June 4, 2017
Adams is one of several young Americans leaving this U-20 World Cup with an enhanced reputation. A foreshortened performance in the quarterfinals does nothing to alter the perception that the RBNY Academy product was one of the USA's better players at the tournament.
Though he doubtless would have preferred to be in South Korea for the last week of the U-20 World Cup, Adams returns to the Red Bulls with another significant cup competition to contemplate: RBNY plays NYCFC in the fourth round of the 2017 US Open Cup on June 14.