USA vs. Venezuela: Score and Reaction from U-20 FIFA World Cup 2017

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2017

Venezuela's forward Adalberto Penaranda Maestre (L) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring during their U-20 World Cup quarter-final football match between Venezuela and the US in Jeonju on June 4, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je        (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

Venezuela continued their imperious form at the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, as they beat the United States 2-1 after extra time to book their spot in the semi-finals.

The United States held their own in a cagey first period before Venezuela stepped it up in the second half, rattling the bar twice through headers from Sergio Cordova and Ronaldo Chacon and creating a string of chances. Neither side was able to find a way through in normal time, though.

Eventually, in the 97th minute, Adalberto Penaranda put Venezuela in front with a guided finish. Nahuel Ferraresi doubled their advantage in the second period, and while Jeremy Ebobisse gave the USA some late hope, Venezuela emerged as deserved winners.

Next up for the Vinotinto will be a semi-final showdown with the winner of the match between Portugal and Uruguay, who meet later on Sunday.

For the United States youngsters, getting the best of this Venezuela side was always going to be testing, as they had yet to concede a goal in the competition.

Cordova thought he'd put his side ahead.
Cordova thought he'd put his side ahead.JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

In the early stages of the quarter-final, there was little to separate the two sides, although the South Americans did show more of a threat in the final third. On 20 minutes, they thought they'd gone ahead through Cordova, although his effort was scratched off for offside.

Per the U.S. Soccer YNT Twitter feed, the match officials used the technology available to come to a decision:

For the rest of the first half, Venezuela continued to turn the screw. Their use of the ball was impressive, while their defence, as it had been throughout the tournament, was rock solid.

By the end of the first period, the United States would have been happy to hear the whistle and still have parity on the scoreboard.

Venezuela spurned a string of chances to go ahead.
Venezuela spurned a string of chances to go ahead.JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

Venezuela were not ready to sit back, though, and were so close to going ahead three minutes after the restart, as Chacon's superb header smashed against the woodwork. The Vinotinto were sensing a go-ahead goal.

They continued to be frustrated by the goal frame, though, with Cordova planting another header against the bar. As noted by the Scouted Football Twitter feed, an opener was edging closer and closer:

Penaranda was next to go close for Venezuela, wriggling away from a couple of defenders in the penalty area and slashing wide. Meanwhile United States coach Tab Ramos withdrew the team's top scorer Josh Sargent after a quiet 83 minutes.

The United States very nearly snatched this one in normal time, as Eryk Williamson fired narrowly over. But it would have been Venezuela most aggrieved at this one going into extra time.

Having had some time to clear their heads at the end of the 90 minutes, there was a renewed swagger about Venezuela in the early stages of the extra period. Within seven minutes, they were finally ahead through Penaranda.

Penaranda nets the crucial opener.
Penaranda nets the crucial opener.JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

Alejandro Cordero sent a pinpoint cross into the penalty area, and the vibrant forward was on hand to steer the ball home expertly. Per sports journalist Jack Grimse, it had been a while coming:

Having clung on for so long against waves of Venezuelan pressure, the United States players were understandably downbeat after falling behind. The game should have been wrapped up a couple of minutes later, too, although Cordova fluffed his lines in front of goal again.

Ferraresi leapt highest to make it 2-0.
Ferraresi leapt highest to make it 2-0.JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

Venezuela did get their second in the 116th minute, with those in all-white beginning to look jaded. Ferraresi was alive in the area to head home a corner, sparking more wild celebrations from the South Americans.

The United States did find something late on, as Ebobisse did superbly to find space in the area and head home a free-kick with two minutes left. But Venezuela knuckled down to stem any late pressure and continue their march towards glory in South Korea.

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