Ecuador beat the U.S. 2-1 on Saturday in Poland, as Tab Ramos’ side crashed out of the U-20 World Cup.
A fine strike from Jose Cifuentes put Ecuador ahead but then Tim Weah equalized in a topsy-turvy first half in Gdynia, Poland.
The winning goal arrived just before half time as Ecuador’s captain Jhon Espinoza bundled home and the U.S. failed to create any real clear-cut chances in the second half as their South American opponents looked more likely to find the back of the net.
Overall, this was a disappointing to the World Cup for the U.S. after their heroic comeback to beat France in the Round of 16. For large periods of this game they lacked energy and were totally overpowered in central midfield.
Ecuador will now play either South Korea or Senegal in the semifinal on Tuesday.
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The U.S. had plenty of chances early on as Weah was proving to be a handful for the Ecuadorian defense, but just when it looked like the game would turn into a midfield battle, it exploded into life.
But then Ecuador took the lead as Chris Durkin turned the ball over and Jose Cifuentes ran towards goal unopposed and smashed home a fine effort on target. 1-0.
Alex Mendez then curled a free kick just wide for the U.S. as the Stars and Stripes battled their way back into the game and Weah equalized before half time.
A corner from the left saw the ball deflect into the air and Weah was there to volley home and make it 1-1.
Sebastian Soto was then inches away from getting on the end of Weah’s teasing cross as the U.S. were dominant but Ecuador were a real threat on the break. And that was how they went ahead before the break.
A stunning strike from distance hit the crossbar and captain Jhon Espinoza followed up to bundle the ball home and make it 2-1.
A lengthy VAR check looked at the goal but it was correctly allowed as Ecuador led at half time.
In the second half Ecuador had plenty of the ball but the U.S. squandered a great chance to equalize. Soto was found at the back post and he squirmed free before flicking a shot into the side-netting.
David Ochoa kept the U.S. in the game late on as Espinoza’s cross found Alvarado in the box but Ochoa pushed his header away for a corner. From that corner Ecuador went even closer to going 3-1 up as a superb flicked header from Porozo hit the bar and came back out.
Late on the U.S. chucked plenty of players forward but Ochoa was again called into action but he denied Campana’s powerful strike after a poor giveaway from Durkin.
In the end, Ecuador held on for the win in comfortable fashion as the U.S. saw their run at the U20 World Cup come to an end.