U.S. Under-20s beat Portugal in final World Cup tune-up

USAU20 vs Canada

By DAN KARELL

The United States Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Portugal Under-20 on Friday, 3-1, in their final match before the start of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey in seven days.

Jose Villarreal got the U.S. off to a great start in the ninth minute, scoring off a direct free kick past Portugal goalkeeper Jose Sá to put Tab Ramos’ side in the lead. Sporting Lisbon attacker Bruma equalized for Portugal in the 28th minute, and then in the 40th minute, the U.S. suffered a blow after Luis Gil was forced to be taken off after knocking heads with Portugal midfielder Ricardo Alves.

U.S. defender Shane O’Neill was one of two changes to the side at halftime, and six minutes into the second half, the Colorado Rapids centerback lost his mark and headed home to regain the lead.

U.S. Under-20 newcomer Alonso Hernandez scored his first goal with the team when he took advantage of a mistake by Portugal substitute goalkeeper Bruno Varela and scored a goal that gave the U.S. a two-goal advantage in the 53rd minute.

Cody Cropper, continued to prove himself to be the number one goalkeeper in the U.S. squad by making a number of stops late, making eight saves total. Ramos and the U.S. now prepare for their first match at the Under-20 World Cup, taking on title-favorites Spain next Friday in Istanbul.

What do you make of this performance? Excited to see the team in action in Turkey? Where do you see them finishing in Group A?

Share your thoughts below.

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28 Responses to U.S. Under-20s beat Portugal in final World Cup tune-up

  1. ed - houston says:

    Well that’s good, now take it to the Spaniards in the opening game.

  2. Noah says:

    What’s Gil’s prognosis?

    • NE Matt says:

      US Soccer says he’s ok but has a headache. Should be ok for next week.

    • Primoone says:

      He will continue to improve at a snail’s pace…continue to play the safe ball…and keep the US fan-base wondering if he made the right move turning down Arsenal development.

      • Dinho says:

        Forgot about that. Wow. What a decision.

      • TomG says:

        A big BPL factory is probably the worst place to develop. Arsenal is better than the others but the pressure to sign proven players over developing young talent turns the academies into giant stew rooms where many guys never see the light of day.

      • 2tone says:

        This man is awarded the dumbest post award. Congrats!

        • Mike in Missouri says:

          There is no right decision for everyone. What % of members of Arsenal’s academy make it to the Premier league? 10% maybe?

      • vik says:

        That’s pretty tough on the kid. I’m sure some parts of his game would have improved at Arsenal, but he would not have been starting with their first team by now.
        Spector came through the ManU academy, and left to find playing time. Lletget has yet to get a chance with the West Ham first team, and he’s done as well as anybody in their youth setup.
        There are pros and cons to a first rate academy, but I think as MLS improves, getting first team minutes here beats academy/reserve minutes in Europe. If anything, we should praise RSL for bringing him along and actually playing him, many MLS teams are unwilling to field unproven players to give them time to develop.

        • Tom says:

          Agreed Vic…I haven’t seen an academy games in the EPL, but I have to assume playing with Beckerman, Morales, Sabario, Findley, etc in competitive MLS matches is more valuable then playing with other talented teens in an academy games.

  3. Dinho says:

    good result. should provide some much needed confidence going into the tournament.

  4. bryan says:

    that’s good, well done.

  5. zztoppppp says:

    Glad to see Hernandez get a goal, I think this group shows a lot of potential.

  6. Anthony says:

    Does anybody know where to find highlights?

  7. Pingback: Anthony Anish | U-20s: Jose Villarreal, Shane O’Neill lead US to 3-1 win over Portugal in final World Cup tune-up

  8. Marlon says:

    I get sad when I think about how good this team would be if it weren’t missing JAB, Packwood, and Pelosi.

  9. smash says:

    Villareal is developing into something special. If he doesn’t lose that edge like Agudelo he could be a solid senior player.

    • Adam says:

      Agudelo only lost that edge because he wasn’t finding any playing time. New England slots him right into the Starting XI, and he’s already got three goals. He’ll be back.

  10. Tony says:

    Now is this crop of young players really this good? Has the USA really improved in producing talent? Because I can see this team beating anybody

  11. Ricardo says:

    How do you know?

    • Francois says:

      Because i’ve been following them since throughout European qualification for this U-20 world cup. This is the majority of the starting 11 that they used in the majority of their qualifying games. This game seemed more even than the scoreline indicates, but this U.S. team is very good in the midfield and attack. The backline and Cropper should be the main concern.

  12. Ricardo says:

    Thanks for that info. It just infuriates me when people actually think we are developing players or that their development has anything to do with US Soccer.
    We are slightly improving in spite of our system
    What irritates me is that we could be a top 15 nation and produce at least 10 really good players who could play anywhere in Europe but we have no idea what we are doing and people on this forum are almost wetting their pants because we beat Jamaica and Panama

    Thanks for the info on Portugal