The U.S. Under-20 women’s national team fell to 10-player Netherlands 3-0 in its second match of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sunday, setting up a crucial meeting with Japan on Wednesday in the final Group D match of for both teams.
Despite putting together a solid attacking performance and outshooting the Dutch, 14-11, the U.S. was lacking in both penalty areas and will need at least a two-goal victory over Japan to ensure advancement to the quarterfinals.
After defeating Ghana, 2-0, in its second Group D match on two penalty kicks, Japan leads the group with six points and plus three goal difference. The USA and the Netherlands are tied on points with three each, but the Dutch have a plus two goal difference to the USA’s zero. If the USA can win by two goals over Japan, it would give both teams six points, but the Americans would have a plus two goal difference, which is the first tiebreaker, and Japan would be at plus one, putting the USA ahead of the Japanese no matter the result of the Ghana-Netherlands match, which will be contested at the same time. If Ghana and Netherlands draw, the USA can advance with any victory over Japan.
The match against Japan will take place on Wednesday at Estadio Morera Soto in Alajuela (7 p.m. ET; FS2).
The USA came out with energy and was on the front foot early as midfielder and team captain Talia DellaPeruta tested the Dutch goalkeeper from the top of the box and forced a save three minutes into the match. Netherlands returned the favor a few minutes later as a long ball off a goal kick resulted in forward Ziva Henry trying to catch USA goalkeeper Neeku Purcell off her line from distance, but her shot went wide.
Those early chances set the tone for what would be a back-and-forth attacking affair with both sides creating a plethora of dangerous chances.
Netherlands opened the scoring in the 31st minute off a corner kick that was sent back into the middle off the head of Marit Auée and forward Sane Koopman looped her header over U.S. goalkeeper Neeku Purcell and just under the cross bar. The USA put the ball into the net nine minutes later courtesy of a quality finish by forward Ally Sentnor, but her goal was correctly waved off due to her being offside by inches.
Helped by three halftime substitutions, the U.S. threatened early in the second half, but Netherlands doubled their lead in the 55th after midfielder Dana Foederer scored from 30 yards out with an impressive strike from the right side that flew over Purcell and dropped into the upper left corner. The Dutch added to their lead in the 62nd minute after drawing a foul inside penalty box which Auée converted for the final margin.
The Dutch played the final eight minutes of the match down a woman after defender Samantha Van Diemen committed a last defender foul on halftime substitute Michelle Cooper as she burst behind the defense. The foul first earned a yellow card, but the play was then sent to VAR review, and it was changed to a red. The USA strung together a handful of chances at the end of the match but were poor in their final passes and finishing all night.