Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – The United States U20s will kick off their campaign to reach a third consecutive FIFA U20 World Cup on Saturday afternoon when they face fellow 2015 qualifier Panama in Group B of the 2017 CONCACAF U20 Championship at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
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United States news and notes
The U.S. squad – which includes eight players with USL experience – enters the tournament with Head Coach Tab Ramos aiming for a third consecutive trip to the FIFA World Cup after reaching the quarterfinals in 2015.
One member of that squad returned for this year’s cycle, with Sporting Kansas City’s Erik Palmer-Brown being named the team’s captain this week in the build-up to the tournament.
Two members of the 2016 USL 20 Under 20 were named in the squad, with 2016 USL Cup winner Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II) and Coy Craft (OKC Energy FC) both having featured in the league last season.
Adams is one of three players in the squad, alongside fellow USL alum Auston Trusty (Bethlehem Steel FC) and Luca De La Torre, who helped the U.S. reach the FIFA U17 World Cup two years ago included in the squad.
Panama news and notes
Panama has reached two of the past three FIFA U20 World Cups, and finished as runner-up to Mexico two years ago in the CONCACAF U20 Championship to reach the 2015 tournament.
The side is led by Columbus Crew SC midfielder Cristian Martinez, who made five appearances in Major League Soccer last season, recording one goal in 197 minutes of action.
Panama will also look to 18-year-old forward Jose Rodriguez, who joined Belgian club K.A.A. Gent this past June and secured a permanent transfer to the club last month.
Panama finished fourth in Central American Qualifying for the tournament, but advanced to the tournament after third-place finisher Guatemala’s federation was suspended by FIFA.
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