CONCACAF determines their entrants into the FIFA U-20 World Cup in their CONCACAF Championships with their four semifinalists getting the confederations four World Cup slots. That means that when the United States and Guatemala squared off in Wednesday night's quarterfinal it was for a spot in the World Cup. Well, it is the underdog Guatemalans who will head to Colombia for this summer's U-20 World Cup after they defeated the heavily favored Americans, 2-1, in front of a vocal crowd at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.
Most of the match was controlled by the Americans as their quality in the midfield showed, but they couldn't find the necessary final ball. The U.S. kept pushing, but despite their pressure could not get a goal. While the Americans were flying forward, the defense wasn't asked to do much, but when they finally were, they were exposed. Poor marking on a corner kick and goalkeeper Zac MacMath hesitating coming off his line led to the Guatemalan's first goal.
The U.S. continued to pressure in the second half and it finally paid off when Amobi Okugo spotted Connor Doyle making a run behind the defense. Doyle was in alone and chipped a charging keeper to equalize. As soon as the U.S. had equalized though, Guatemala had grabbed the lead back thanks to unorganizing and somewhat laughable defending.
By the time the match came to an end, the U.S. were out of the World Cup and complaining about the referee. The referee was poor, making several mind-boggling decisions and awarding just three minutes of extra time in a half that had two goals and more than a half dozen Guatemalans rolling around injured, including one stretched off, but it didn't matter. The Americans had been beaten. They failed to capitalize on their chances and looked leaky at the back. Of course, the point of youth teams is to develop talent and not win matches so any overreaction to a single youth match is beyond laughable, albeit inevitable.