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Paxten Aaronson brace leads United States U20s to semifinal, clinches U20 World Cup berth

Aaronson scored a goal in each half to lead the offense

Miguel Gutierrez /

Another night, another man of the match from the Philadelphia Union in the U20 Concacaf Championship.

Paxten Aaronson scored early in each half to lead the United States U20s to a 2-0 win over Costa Rica that clinched a U20 World Cup berth and put them one step closer to a final that would also clinch a berth into the Olympics.

Aaronson’s goal in the 5th minute with a left footed shot inside the box off a pass from Quinn Sullivan made it five straight games in the U20 Concacaf Championship that a player from the Philadelphia Union has scored. Aaronson had a brace to open the tournament in a 10-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis.

The 18-year-old from Medford, N.J. scored with his left foot again in the 49th minute off a pass from Caden Clark.

Sullivan, who scored five goals over the last two matches, had a couple chances to extend the lead. One came off a deflected free kick by Union teammate Brandan Craig and another off a pass from Aaronson. Both were dealt with well by Tico keeper Bayron Mora. Craig was dangerous all night from dead balls and playing the ball out of the back.

After Aaronson extended the lead, the referee handed Costa Rica a lifeline with a handball call in the box but Brandon Aguilera’s was way off target and over the goal.

The U.S. will play the winner of Panama and host Honduras in the semifinal on Friday at 7 p.m.