U-20 World Cup: USA continues its perfect start by topping its group after 2-0 win over Slovakia

Team USA continues its perfect start to the U-20 World Cup by topping the group after a 2-0 victory over Slovakia, with top MLS prospect Cade Cowell among the goalscorers

  • Cowell’s made 11 MLS appearances for the San Jose Earthquakes so far this year
  • The winger’s 19-year-old teammate Niko Tsakiris added a second in the 90′
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The USA completed a perfect group stage at the Under-20 World Cup and will be joined in the knockout stage of the tournament by Ecuador, who finished in second place after both teams won on Friday.

The Americans leading Group B defeated Slovakia 2-0 at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina. Second-seeded Ecuador beat Fiji 9-0 in Santiago del Estero.

The USA had already secured a place in the knockout stage, but finished the group stage with three wins from three matches and no goals conceded. They are the only team left in the league with three clean sheets in as many games played.

Cade Cowell scored from a counter-attack before half-time, dribbling past several Slovak defenders, before Niko Tsakiris added a second goal in stoppage time.

Both players are teammates on the San Jose Earthquakes, of the MLS, and are highly rated by the US Soccer Federation.

Winger Cade Cowell, 19, scored his second goal of the U-20 World Cup vs. Slovakia

Cowell celebrates with teammates after his first-half goal in the Group B final in the USA

Cowell celebrates with teammates after his first-half goal in the Group B final in the USA

Cowell made his debut for the USMNT first team as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2021.

The 19-year-old winger has yet to score a goal for Anthony Hudson’s side, with his last senior cap coming in April when he started for the Star and Stripes in a friendly against rivals Mexico.

Cowell is also yet to score for his club after appearing in 11 MLS games so far this season, although he did provide an assist in the league.

The California native previously said he was ‘more than ready’ to move abroad, with the 2021 MLS All-Star drawing interest from top European clubs. He is also expected to be selected for the US Gold Cup campaign, which begins against Jamaica in June.

Niko Tsakiris, 17, and Cowell's San Jose teammate, scored a second in stoppage time

Niko Tsakiris, 17, and Cowell’s San Jose teammate, scored a second in stoppage time

On the other hand, Tsakiris – a 17-year-old midfielder – appeared in one MLS match for the Earthquakes this season.

He has been tipped to be destined for big things after becoming the third youngest player to appear in a league game for San Jose in an away game against Philadelphia in March 2022.

Elsewhere in the World Cup, Ecuador led Fiji 4–0 at half-time, including a brace from Justin Cuero that saw the game close to ending in double digits.

Alan Minda also scored twice in the second half, and Cristhoper Zambrano got both in stoppage time.

England’s U-20s also qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup if they beat Iraq on Sunday. The Three Lions will come out on top of their group with a win.