U-20 World Cup: USA continue their perfect start, topping their group after a 2-0 win over Slovakia
Team USA continue their perfect start to the U-20 World Cup, leading their group after a 2-0 win over Slovakia with top MLS contender Cade Cowell among the goalscorers
- Cowell has played 11 MLS games for the San Jose Earthquakes so far this year
- Niko Tsakiris, the 19-year-old winger’s club-mate, added a second in the 90th minute.
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USA completed the group stage of the U20 World Cup perfectly and will meet second-placed Ecuador in the knockout stages of the tournament after both teams won on Friday.
The Americans, leaders in Group B, defeated Slovakia 2-0 at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina. Runners-up Ecuador defeated Fiji 9-0 in Santiago del Estero.
USA had already secured a spot in the knockout stages but finished the group stage with three wins from three games and clean sheets. They are the only side in the competition to have kept three clean sheets in as many games played.
Cade Cowell made a counterattack before half-time and dribbled past several Slovakian defenders before Niko Tsakiris scored a second goal in added time.
Both players are teammates with the MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes and are highly regarded by the US Soccer Association.
19-year-old winger Cade Cowell scored his second goal at the U-20 World Cup against Slovakia on Friday
Cowell celebrates with his team mates after scoring in the first half in their final Group B game in the USA
Cowell made his debut for the USMNT senior team as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2021.
The 19-year-old winger has yet to score for Anthony Hudson’s side. His last senior cap came in April, when he started for the Star and Stripes in a friendly against rivals Mexico.
Cowell is also yet to find success for his club, having made 11 MLS appearances this season despite recording one assist in the league.
The California native previously said he is “more than ready” to move abroad as the 2021 MLS All-Star attracts interest from top European clubs. He is also expected to be picked for the USA’s Gold Cup season, which begins in June against Jamaica.
NIKO TSAKIRIS USA GOAL ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder scores as the USA make it 2-0 in their group stage win over Slovakia at the U20 World Cup. The 17-year-old’s father from Saratoga, California, is the assistant coach of this Under-20 team in Argentina.pic.twitter.com/DsXBUkGO27
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) May 26, 2023
17-year-old Niko Tsakiris, Cowell’s San Jose teammate, scored a second in added time
On the other hand, Tsakiris – a 17-year-old midfielder – played in an MLS game for the Earthquakes this season.
It is believed that great things lie ahead for him after becoming the third youngest player ever to feature in a league game for San Jose in a March 2022 away game against Philadelphia.
At another World Cup, Ecuador led Fiji 4-0 at half-time, including a brace from Justin Cuero, and almost finished the game in double figures.
Alan Minda also scored twice in the second half and Cristhoper Zambrano scored both goals in added time.
England’s U-20 side could also qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup if they defeat Iraq on Sunday. The Three Lions will emerge as group winners with a win.