The United States advances top of Group A to the quarterfinals of the U-20 CONCACAF Championship following a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the group's final match.
Both teams had previously qualified following wins over Haiti. The narrow win means the young Yanks finish first.
Coach Tab Ramos made four changes from the starting lineup that beat Haiti 2-1, inserting Daniel Garcia, Mikey Lopez, and fullbacks Eric Miller and Juan Pablo Ocegueda. The United States kept possession and largely controlled the game in Puebla, Mexico, but struggled to penetrate the Ticos back line without Daniel Cuevas, who had a goal and an assist against Haiti.
At halftime Boyd Okwuonu and Mario Rodriguez replaced Miller and yellow-carded Will Trapp, respectively.
The breakthrough came just after the hour mark. Jose Villarreal leaped impressively to belie his short stature and meet Luis Gil's high corner kick. His snapped header whizzed past the goalkeeper.
Costa Rica's best chance came a few minutes later, when Giovanni Cantillano found space in the box and clacked a shot off the crossbeam.
A few minutes before full time, both teams huddled near the touchline for a brief shoving match. But aside from that and a few yellow cars, the remaining time passed uneventfully.
The USA will face either Canada or Nicaragua in the quarters. All four semifinalists qualify for the U-20 World Cup.
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