While his teammates were getting ready for their season opener in Vancouver Sunday night, Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty and his United States U20 countrymen were hoisting a trophy in Costa Rica after defeating Honduras 5-3 in a penalty shootout.
Trusty made his second appearance in the competition when he replaced Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad in the 47th minute. The Media native started at left back in their win over El Salvador on Friday.
The title was the first for the United States at the U20 level after coming up short in finals on four previous occasions.
The U.S. had their chances to win it in regulation when Glad nearly opened the scoring in the 8th minute with a snap header off a corner from Brooks Lennon, who nearly delivered the opener on a set piece 18 minutes later that Honduras goalkeeper Javier Delgado did well to stop. Delgado again denied the U.S. in the 50th minute when he kept out Emmanuel Sabbi’s header off another Lennon free kick at the right post.
For their part, Honduras had a pair of chances from Darixon Vuelta that were shut down by two of the U.S. team’s standout performers. The first came in the 30th minute and was shut down by goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, who was named best goalkeeper in the tournament. The second was a key intervention from U.S. captain Erik Palmer-Brown - named the tournament’s best player - when he denied Vuelto’s breakaway chance in the 75th minute.
Once into penalties, the U.S. did not disappoint. Lennon, Coy Craft, Sabbi, Luca De La Torre and Danny Acosta went five-for-five in the shootout with Acosta’s penalty following a Rembrandt Flores miss sealing the victory.
While the most important goal heading into the tournament was to qualify for the U20 World Cup in South Korea, a mission already accomplished with wins over defending champs Mexico and El Salvador in the classification stage, a championship was both a pleasant and unexpected result, particularly after an opening game loss to Panama playing with a man advantage for 72 minutes.
The U20 World Cup is scheduled for May 20-June 11 in South Korea. The draw will take place on March 15.