USA U-20s self-destruct in World Cup quarterfinal defeat to Uruguay

The United States men's U-20 team wanted to make history Sunday by advancing to the World Cup semifinals for the first time in program history, but after looking like tournament favorites while rattling off four straight victories, scoring 10 goals and conceding none, the U.S. dream quickly became a nightmare against Uruguay in the quarterfinals.

The American backline, led by 19-year-old Chelsea goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, had withstood all challenges before encountering 20-year-old Uruguay winger Juan Cruz de los Santos. The River Plate Montevideo attacker terrorized the USMNT's right-hand flank in the opening 45 minutes, and it wasn't a surprise when De los Santos broke free out wide to create Anderson Duarte's opener in the 21st minute.

U.S. manager Mikey Varas hooked Austin FC's Owen Wolff for Wolfsburg's Kevin Paredes at halftime in a bid to stymie Uruguay's superiority, but everything went to hell in 10 minutes when 18-year-old Louisville City center back Joshua Wynder put the ball into the back of his own net. 

The U.S. came closest to pulling one back in the 78th minute, but Cade Cowell's goal-bound effort was inadvertently blocked by teammate Rokas Pukštas. Uruguay really just got to sit back and watch the Americans defeat themselves in the second 45. 

The semifinals are Uruguay vs. Israel and Italy vs. South Korea on Thursday, June 8.

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