With a 2-0 victory Friday over Cuba, the United States’ men advanced to the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. They will face Mexico on Sunday for the a chance at their first full regional title.
Kaiserslautern attacker Mario Rodríguez got the States on the scoresheet early, beating Cuban goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez near post on an eighth minute roller from just inside the area.
Three minutes later, a deflected shot from Santos Laguna forward Daniel Cuevas went into the upper-right part of the net, providing an early finish to the night’s scoring.
Cuba would finish with only one shot on goal to the U.S.’s six, their defeat relegating them to Sunday’s third place match against El Salvador. Both teams, along with the U.S. and Mexico, have already qualified for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Mexico advanced to the final with a 2-0 victory over the Salvadorians, with Atlas’s Antonio Briseño scoring both Tri goals.
Mexico have outscored their opponents 12-0 while posting a perfect record over their tournament’s five games. The United States also reaches the final perfect, having scored nine while conceding three times en route to Sunday’s final.
It will be the first time the U.S. and Mexico have met in a CONCACAF U-20 final since 1980 when the Mexicans won 2-0 at Giants Stadium.
From 1986 through 2007, CONCACAF did not hold singular tournament finals. The region used a final group stage from 1986 through 1996 before switching to a split-tournament World Cup qualifying format in 2007.
The U.S. had reached one previous final since CONCACAF went back to a full tournament in 2009, losing that year’s final to Costa Rica.
Should the U.S. win in Puebla on Sunday, it will be their first full CONCACAF U-20 title.