U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM DEFEATS ST. KITTS AND NEVIS 10-0 TO KICK OFF 2022 CONCACAF U-20 MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Seven Players Score as Paxten Aaronson and Niko Tsakiris Bag Braces;
Ten Goals Are Second-Most All-Time for USA at Concacaf U-20 Championship
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (June 18, 2022) — The U.S. Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team opened the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship with a 10-0 win against St. Kitts and Nevis on Saturday. In a dominant performance, the USA tallied its second-most goals ever at the tournament as seven different players scored, led by braces from midfielders Paxten Aaronson and Niko Tsakiris.
Five players made their U-20 international debuts against the Sugar Boyz: goalkeeper Antonio Carrera, defenders Noah Allen and Michael Halliday plus midfielders Alejandro Alvarado Jr. and Tsakiris. The 16-year-old Tsakiris, defender Mauricio Cuevas, midfielder Rokas Pukstas, as well as forwards Cade Cowell and Tyler Wolff all netted their first international goals.
The USA controlled the ball for almost the entirety of the match, out-possessing St. Kitts 82 percent to 18 percent. The U-20s earned three corners in the first 10 minutes of the match, and after a few shots on goal, the breakthrough finally came in the 18th, when a Video Assistant Referee review awarded the U.S. a penalty kick. Cowell slotted it home for the opener and his first U-20 international goal.
This year marks the first Concacaf U-20 Championship to feature VAR, and the U.S. would benefit again from video review in the 33rd minute. This time, a St. Kitts handball forced the referee to point to the spot once again and forward Caden Clark sent it into the left side of the net.
The floodgates opened shortly thereafter, as the U.S. scored four more first-half goals after the 42nd minute. In the aftermath of a St. Kitts yellow card, Clark played up to Cuevas, and while the defender’s cross towards goal was deflected, it fell right to Wolff for the tap-in finish. Three minutes later, Pukstas headed home another USA goal after a corner kick.
Two more tallies came during a lengthy stoppage time period caused by a number of long VAR reviews over the course of the half. Clark played provider in the second minute of stoppage time, teeing up Cuevas to rip a shot from the far corner of the penalty box. Eight minutes after the end of regulation, Cowell was tripped up in the box to earn another penalty for the U.S., and Tsakiris coolly finished another penalty to cap off the end-of-half onslaught at 6-0.
The goals continued to roll in after the break. A St. Kitts own goal opened the second-half scoring when substitute Quinn Sullivan went up against Kittitian goalkeeper Xander Parke for a ball in the air, but Parke knocked it into his own net.
A wave of three substitutes- midfielders Aaronson, Diego Luna and Jack McGlynn- at the hour mark kept the momentum rolling for the USA with a burst of three goals in five minutes. Just after coming on, Aaronson bagged a brace in the span of three minutes. Sullivan teed him up for his first in the 64th before Luna played him downfield in the 67th to set up his second. Another ball in from Sullivan gave the U.S. its 10th and final goal when he found an onrushing Tsakiris in the 69th.
The win serves as the U-20 MYNT’s first step towards qualification for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia. Following the interruption of programming due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the U-20s returned to the field in November 2021 and today’s game marked the first official international competition for the team since June 2019.
The U-20 MYNT continues Group E play on Monday, June 20 vs. Regional rival Canada (8:30 p.m. ET) and finishes the group stage on Wednesday, June 22 against Cuba (8:30 p.m. ET). All of the USA’s Group E matches will be played at Estadio Nacional in Tegucigalpa. Follow the U-20 MYNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com as well as U.S. Soccer Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Cade Cowell (Penalty), 18th minute: A VAR review reversed a foul called against the U.S. at the top of the St. Kitts and Nevis penalty box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Cowell stepped up for the kick, shooting left and out of reach of goalkeeper Xander Parke. USA 1, SKN 0
USA – Caden Clark (Penalty), 33rd minute: A second VAR review confirmed a St. Kitts and Nevis handball inside the box, setting up the USA for its second penalty of the day. Clark fired into the same spot as Cowell, and while Parke guessed right, he missed the save. USA 2, SKN 0
USA – Tyler Wolff, 43rd minute: A free kick service after St. Kitts and Nevis’ Zion Nisbett picked up a yellow card saw the U.S. send the ball into the box. On the run down the right side, captain Mauricio Cuevas played it towards goal, where a St. Kitts defender tried to clear and the attempt bounced off Parke before falling to the onrushing Wolff, who tapped it home. USA 3, SKN 0
USA – Rokas Pukstas, 45th minute: Taking one of its 16 corners of the day, Parke punched the ball into the air after a U.S. service into the box. As it came back down, the Kittitian goalkeeper and Pukstas went up for it, but the U.S. midfielder got enough of his head on the ball for his first U-20 international goal. USA 4, SKN 0
USA – Mauricio Cuevas (Caden Clark), 45+2nd minute: From the sideline, Clark found Cuevas at the top right corner of the penalty box. The right back hit a curling shot into the top left corner of the goal. USA 5, SKN 0
USA – Niko Tsakiris (Penalty), 45+8th minute: When Cade Cowell got tripped in the penalty box, the referee gestured for the USA’s third penalty attempt of the day. The 16-year-old Tsakiris stepped up and buried the ball in the right side of the net. USA 6, SKN 0
USA – Own Goal (Xander Parke), 47th minute: On a corner, Tsakiris played a short back-and-forth with Clark before sending it into the box. Substitute forward Quinn Sullivan and Parke both went up for the ball, but as Parke tried to punch it out, he sent it into the bottom right corner of his own net. USA 7, SKN 0
USA – Paxten Aaronson (Quinn Sullivan), 64th minute: On the run downfield, Sullivan played it back to Aaronson, who took a touch before hitting a hard rolling shot to the far right post. USA 8, SKN 0
USA – Paxten Aaronson (Diego Luna), 67th minute: Diego Luna sprung Aaronson down the right wing, chipping a ball behind the defense. Coming around and into the box, he again sent a shot across goal, this time to the far left post for his second of the day. USA 9, SKN 0
USA – Niko Tsakiris (Quinn Sullivan), 69th minute: Sullivan shook off a few defenders as he drove around the right side towards the end line and played the ball clean across the front of the net for Tsakiris. He met it in stride, tapping it in a few steps in front of goal. USA 10, SKN 0
- The USA improves to 2-0-0 all-time vs. St. Kitts and Nevis at the Concacaf U-20 Championship and 74-26-16 overall.
- Midfielder Niko Tsakiris bagged his brace in his first international match for the USA at any level. The second-youngest player on the roster, he turns 17 tomorrow, June 19.
- The USA’s 10 goals are its second-most all-time at the tournament. During the 2018 competition, the U.S. topped the U.S. Virgin Islands 13-0 in Group A play.
- Following today’s match, all 20 players on the U.S. tournament roster have been capped at the U-20 level.
-U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Under-20 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Date: June 18, 2022
Competition: 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championship
Venue: Estadio Nacional; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Kickoff: 2 p.m. local (4 p.m. ET)
Weather: 79 degrees, cloudy, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 6 4 10
SKN 0 0 0
USA – Cade Cowell (Penalty) 17th minute
USA – Caden Clark (Penalty) 33
USA – Tyler Wolff 43
USA – Rokas Pukstas 45
USA – Mauricio Cuevas (Caden Clark) 45+2
USA – Niko Tsakiris (Penalty) 45+8
USA – Own Goal (Xander Parke) 47
USA – Paxten Aaronson (Quinn Sullivan) 64
USA – Paxten Aaronson (Diego Luna) 67
USA – Niko Tsakiris (Quinn Sullivan) 69
USA: 12-Antonio Carrera; 2-Mauricio Cuevas (Capt.) (13-Michael Halliday, 46), 4-Markus Ferkranus, 14-Jalen Neal, 3-Noah Allen; 20-Rokas Pukstas (15-Diego Luna, 60), 17-Niko Tsakiris, 19-Alejandro Alvarado Jr.; 11-Caden Clark (10-Paxten Aaronson, 60), 16-Tyler Wolff (8-Jack McGlynn, 59), 9-Cade Cowell (7-Quinn Sullivan, 46)
Substitutes Not Used: 1-Chris Brady, 5-Brandan Craig, 6-Daniel Edelman
Head Coach: Mikey Varas
SKN: 1-Xander Parks, 2-Jai’den Myers (14-Joshua Bradshaw, 62), 4-Dejahne Morris (3-Omarion Liburd, 68), 6-Rocco Browne (19-Caaja Burnham, 68), 7-Jabez Dorset, 9-Micaah Garnette, 10-Zion Nisbett, 12-Ajani Mills, 15-Kaylon Liburd (Capt.) (13-Jahlyan Burt, 69), 16-Jermaine Chiuta, 17-Chad Liburd (5-Kenaicy Dorsett, 46)
Substitutes Not Used: 13-Vibert Stephen, 8-Landrick Jones, 11-Shaheem Prentice, 20-Dequan Joseph
Head Coach: Kevin Welsh
Stats Summary: USA / SKN
Shots: 34 / 1
Shots on Goal: 16 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 16 / 1
Fouls: 4 / 12
Offside: 0 / 0
SKN – Zion Nisbett (Caution) 43rd minute
SKN – Jahlyan Burt (Caution) 86
Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
1st Assistant Referee: Enedina Caudillo (MEX)
2nd Assistant Referee: Carlos Fernandez (CRC)
4th Official: Marco Ortiz (MEX)
VAR: Marianela Araya (CRC)
AVAR1: Juan Gabriel Calderon (CRC)