Cowell Magic Secures U.S. U20 Perfection

Cowell Magic Secures U.S. U20 Perfection
by Victor Olorunfemi
May 27, 2023

The first 30 minutes of the U.S. vs. Slovakia game was a cagey affair, with both teams having a decent chance to take the lead. That was until Cade Cowell stepped in and scored one of the best solo goals you’ll ever see. 

Going into the game, the U.S. knew they had secured a spot in the knockout stages, but a draw or win would guarantee they finished first. The line-up reflected that with Mikey Varas returning to essentially the same line-up as the Ecuador match with a few changes. 

After the first fifteen minutes was a back-and-forth affair, a saved Justin Che header in the 22nd signaled the start of increased U.S. dominance, led by Cowell’s aggressive running in behind. He missed a few chances before atoning for it all with a magical solo goal, receiving the ball from just inside the halfway line, weaving in and out of four defenders, and seeing his deflected left-footed strike find its way past the goalkeeper. It was the kind of moment that could win the Goal of the Tournament.

Most of the second half was a continuation of the same as the Slovakian backline struggled with Cowell’s pace and power. Both teams had chances they would have liked back, but the half favored the group leaders. 

The final chance fell to another San Jose Earthquakes product. Niko Tsakiris showed great composure in controlling a Quinn Sullivan pass, cutting past a defender, and finishing just outside the six-yard box in the sixth minute of added time.

The win secures a perfect group stage for the U.S. with nine points from nine, six goals scored, and none conceded. With a few games still to play from the other groups, all the U.S. knows is they will play on May 30th at 1:30 ET, and Rokas Pukstas and Kevin Paredes will have joined the team by then.

U.S. Lineup: Gaga Slonina; Joshua Wynder, Brandan Craig, Justin Che; Michael Halliday, Caleb Wiley (Jonathan Gomez), Daniel Edelman (Jack McGlynn), Obed Vargas; Cade Cowell (Quinn Sullivan), Diego Luna (Darren Yapi), Owen Wolff (Niko Tsakiris)

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