by GIANFRANCO PANIZO
With qualification to the Under-20 World Cup already in the bag, and having just come off a thrilling penalty kick victory against Trinidad & Tobago in the semifinals, the U.S. Under-20 national team fielded a mostly-reserve side against Costa Rica in the final and paid dearly for it.
Thomas Rongen and the U-20 U.S. national team fell, 3-0, to Costa Rica on Sunday. Goals from Diego Estrada, Josue Martinez and Allen Guevara crowned Los Ticos as CONCACAF U-20 champions.
The loss denied the U.S. team its first U-20 CONCACAF Championship, but the team accomplished what it set out to do: qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Egypt. The other three World Cup representatives from CONCACAF are Costa Rica, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.
The current U.S. Under-20 squad doesn't have the name recognition of past teams, but it impressed throughout the tournament with the likes of Dilly Duka, Brian Perk, Daniel Cruz and Peri Marosevic standing out. With Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu possibilities to represent the United States in September's Under-20 World Cup, the U.S. team could be a force once again.
What did you think of the U.S. team's performance in the tournament? Who do you think was the best U.S. player? Who do you see playing a vital role for the U.S. once the U-20 World Cup rolls around?
Share your thoughts below.