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United States comes up short in U20 World Cup with quarterfinal loss to Ecuador

Mark McKenzie and Matt Real could only watch as the Americans were bounced from the quarterfinals for a third straight World Cup

Soccer: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Semifinal Round-Guatemala at USA Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a three-goal first half, the United States came up short searching for an equalizer in the second half and exited the U20 World Cup on Saturday for the third straight time after a 2-1 loss.

Philadelphia Union duo Mark McKenzie and Matt Real didn’t play in the game and Philadelphia native CJ dos Santos ended the tournament without making an appearance as the third string goalkeeper.

In a battle of the North and South American U20 champions, Jose Cifuentes opened the scoring for Ecuador at the half hour mark. But it was Timothy Weah responding six minutes later with a volley in the box after Alex Mendez’s corner to level the score.

Jhon Espinoza scored the would be game-winner two minutes before halftime.

While the loss is disappointing for the U.S., it could end up being beneficial to the Philadelphia Union for their U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday. Teams are limited to five internationals in Open Cup games and both McKenzie and Real play positions where the regular starters (Jack Elliott and Kai Wagner) are internationals.