The United States' U-20 World Cup dreams came to an end on Sunday. The Americans were outplayed for 90 minutes and still managed to force extra time, but there they were bested by Venezuela, 2-1, and sent packing from the tournament in the quarterfinals.
It was a wonder that Venezuela didn't score in regular time, having a goal ruled out by video replay, twice hitting the bar, forcing Jonathan Klinsmann into a couple fine saves and just missing the net on a couple other opportunities. Meanwhile, the Americans couldn't do much of anything to threaten the Venezuelan goal.
Extra time wasn't as kind to the U.S. as Adalberto Penaranda andNahuel Ferraresi scored in the first 15 minutes. Jeremy Ebobisse's goal with three minutes remaining gave the Americans some hope, but it wasn't enough and their World Cup came to an end.
It's not a major surprise that the U.S. were outplayed. While they have been good, Venezuela have been arguably the team of the tournament. Ebobisse's late tally was the first goals they've give up at the World Cup, having entered the match with four wins from four matches, including victories over Germany and Mexico. And they won those four matches by a combined score of 11-0, so this Venezuela team is a powerhouse.
Even with the loss, the U.S. still had a strong tournament. They won their group and made the quarterfinals for the second straight U-20 World Cup. They saw players like Josh Sargent, Erik Palmer-Brown, Tyler Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Brooks Lennon play fantastic, giving hope that they can be senior team players in the future. And more impressive was the Americans' depth of talent, shining despite several injuries and suspensions to a team that was already short-handed due to clubs not releasing some of their best talents (or, in the case of Christian Pulisic, simply being too good for the U-20 team).
The future is very bright for this group of U.S. players, but, unfortunately, their U-20 World Cup is over.