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US loses to Ecuador 2-1 in Under-19 World Cup quarterfinal

The United States was knocked out of the Under-20 World Cup in the quarterfinals for the third straight tournament, losing to Ecuador 2-1 Saturday at Gdynia, Poland.

The United States was knocked out of the Under-20 World Cup in the quarterfinals for the third straight tournament, losing to Ecuador 2-1 Saturday at Gdynia, Poland.

Jhon Espinoza scored the tiebreaking goal in the 43rd minute for Ecuador, which next plays South Korea on Tuesday. Italy meets Ukraine in the other semifinal.

José Cifuentes put Ecuador ahead in the 30th minute and Tim Weah tied the score in the 36th.

The U.S. lost to Serbia on penalty kicks in the 2015 quarterfinal and to Venezuela in extra time in the 2017 quarters. The Americans have not advanced past the quarterfinals since 1999, when a U.S. team with goalkeeper Kasey Keller lost to Nigeria in the semifinals.

Cifuentes, not pressured by defenders, put Ecuador ahead with a curling shot from about 28 yards that went to the left of diving goalkeeper David Ochoa.

Alex Mendez was just wide with a free kick four minutes later.

Weah, a son of Liberia president and former FIFA player of the year George Weah, tied the score with his second goal of the tournament. Mendez’s corner kick was headed by American defender Chris Richards and bounced off Ecuador’s Gustavo Vallecilla. Weah reacted just outside the 6-yard box and scored with a left-footed volley.

Ecuador went back ahead when Gonzalo Plata’s long shot hit the crossbar, and Leonardo Campana passed the rebound in front, where it went off a leg of sliding Espinoza. The goal was upheld after a video review determined Espinoza was not offside.

Jackson Porozo hit the crossbar with a header off a free kick in the 60th minute,

Mendez and Chris Durkin, both midfielders, returned from one-game suspensions for yellow card accumulation and replaced Richard Ledezma and Brandon Servania. Ochoa, who played in the group-stage final against Qatar, took over from Brady Scott in goal.

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