The US national team officially booked their place in the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland, after defeating Costa Rica 4-0 at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship in Bradenton, Fla. on Friday.
The result guarantees the US will finish no lower than second in their current group stage, the second of the tournament, and the top two teams in both of those groups qualify for the U-20 World Cup. So far, in addition to the US, Mexico and Panama have also qualified for the U-20 World Cup next year.
In Friday’s match, the Americans got the scoring started early and Alex Mendez once again got the proceedings started with a highlight-reel goal, followed by a tally from leading US scorer Ulysses Llanez to give them a 2-0 lead inside of 20 minutes. In the second half, Juan Pablo Torres and Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola added goals to secure the vital win over the Ticos.
Next up, the US will play Honduras on Monday in the final second group stage game in the Concacaf U-20 Championship. The winner of the group will then go on to the tournament final, to be held on Wednesday.
US lineup: Brady Scott; Sergiño Dest, Mark McKenzie, Matt Real (C), Chris Gloster; Alex Mendez, Brandon Servania, Juan Pablo Torres; Ulysses Llanez (Ayo Akinola, 30), Paxton Pomykal; Sebastian Soto (Justin Rennicks, 79)
US goalscorers: Alex Mendez (15), Ulysses Llanez (19), Juan Pablo Torres (49), Ayo Akinola (76)