The second round of games in the Qualifying Stage of the 2018 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship saw three teams book their places at the 2019 U-20 World Cup.
Group G: USA 4-0 Costa Rica
Any doubt over which team is favorite to win this tournament ought to be settled by the outcome of this game. The other three games played in the Qualifying Stage so far have been relatively close: Costa Rica and Honduras tied 1-1 in Group G; El Salvador lost 1-0 to Panama and Mexico in Group H. The home team, however, delivered a statement win over an opponent that had conceded just one goal in the tournament until it ran into the USA.
The young Americans have now won six straight games at this championship by an aggregate score of 43-2. There isn’t a team left in the competition playing with the same unchecked confidence and efficiency.
Alexis Mendez set the tone for the rampant Americans, firing to the top corner from maybe 30 yards out in the 15th minute. Ulysses Llanez added a second in the 19th minute; second-half goals from Juan Pablo Torres and Ayo Akinola rounded out the 4-0 win.
The win secured the USA a berth at the 2019 U-20 World Cup. Costa Rica is not eliminated yet: another big win for the USA over Honduras in the last game of Group G would see Los Ticos through to next year’s showpiece tournament.
Next game in Group G: USA vs Honduras - 8:00 pm, Eastern; Monday, November 19, 2018
Group H: Mexico 1-0 El Salvador
Daniel Lopez’s goal in the 11th minute should be remembered as one of the more impactful in the 2018 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship: it qualified Mexico and Panama for the 2019 Men’s U-20 World Cup, and knocked El Salvador out of this tournament.
For the second and last time in the Qualifying Stage, El Salvador ‘keeper Rodrigo Artiga kept the game close, but his teammates were unable to find an equalizer. Two 1-0 losses is the sum of El Salvador’s games in Group G of the Qualifying Stage.
Mexico’s tournament continues with the concluding match of this group - against Panama to see which team from Group G will contest the 2018 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship Final.
Next game in Group H: Mexico vs Panama - 5:30 pm, Eastern; Monday, November 19, 2018