The U.S. U-20 men's national team stayed atop Group A of the CONCACAF U-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament with a 0-0 draw against Guatemala Friday in the team's second match at Rommel Fernandez Stadium in Panama City, Panama. The top two teams from the group advance to the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
Going into the final match, the U.S. is tied with Panama with four points, but ahead of the hosts with a better goal differential. The U.S. can guarantee a spot in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a win or draw against Panama in their third and final match on Sunday, Jan. 21, at Rommel Fernandez Stadium. The U.S. could also still qualify with a loss, but only if Guatemala loses or ties Haiti.
The U.S. will be attempting to qualify for their sixth straight U-20 World Cup, which would break the previous CONCACAF record that they U.S. and Mexico (1977, '79, '81, '83, '85) currently hold. The 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup will take place in Canada from June 30-July 22 across six cities -- Burnaby, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria.
"We designed a game plan for us to be victorious and get three points, but we also knew that this would be a tough game against a very disciplined and well organized Guatemala team," said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. "I think at the end of the day, us not being good in the final third, not great finishing touches for us, that's what let us down. Those missed opportunities are what disappoint us. "
Rongen made just one change to his line-up from the team's opening 4-1 victory against Haiti, replacing Tony Beltran for Quavas Kirk at right back. Beltran and the rest of the U.S. defense held Guatemala to zero shots on goal and just four shots total.
Along with the host, 10 teams from Europe and Asia have already booked a place in the World Cup. Japan, Jordan, Korea Republic and North Korea qualified from Asia, while Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain are in from Europe.