Los Angeles Soccer: FIFA U-20 World Cup
Goals by Gerson Lima and Henry Lopez lifted Guatemala to one of its greatest victories on a soccer field Wednesday night, a 2-1 shocker over the U.S. in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship quarterfinals to book its first trip to the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Lopez's goal in the 69th minute carried the host Guatemalans, who bunkered in the back after taking a first-half lead on Lima's header from a corner kick. The U.S., applying heavy pressure throughout the second half, pulled even when Conor Doyle finished a feed from former UCLA star Amobi Okugo in the 66th minute.
Three other quarterfinal winners -- Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica -- also qualified for the July 29-Aug. 20 World Cup in Colombia. The U.S., seeking its eighth successive World Cup berth, featured Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin, UCLA stars Kelyn Rowe and Eder Arreola, German-based Irvine product Bobby Wood and Mexico-based Oxnard product Moises Orozco.
Mexico meets Panama and Guatemala takes on Costa Rica in Friday's regional semifinals. The title game is Sunday.
The loss means Valentin likely will be available for Chivas on Saturday, when it plays Columbus at Home Depot Center, and throughout the summer.
ELSEWHERE: Real Salt Lake learned its foe in the CONCACAF Champions League final: Monterrey. Chilean World Cup star Humberto Suazo's 81st-minute penalty kick gave the Rayados a 1-1 draw at Mexican rival Cruz Azul and a 3-2 aggregate victory in the semifinal series. Cesar Villaluz scored in the 23rd minute for Cruz Azul, which lost in the past two finals.
RSL, which advanced on 3-2 aggregate after a 2-1 loss Tuesday at Costa Rican powerhouse Saprissa, will visit Monterrey for the April 20 first leg and be home for the April 27 finale.
Irvine's Bobby Wood scored the first goal and UCLA's Kelyn Rowe added a goal and an assist to lead the U.S. past Suriname, 4-0, in its opener at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala City.
Wood, who plays for 1860 Munich in Germany, scored in the 19th minute as the Americans romped to a 3-0 halftime advantage. Rowe set up Conor Doyle's 37th-minute goal and tallied in the 81st. Joe Gyau also scored for the U.S., which outshot Suriname, 27-2, and took 11 corner kicks while conceding none.
Wood and Rowe were joined in the starting lineup by Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin and former UCLA midfielder Amobi Okugo, who plays for the Philadelphia Union. Oxnard's Moises Orozco (Oxnard HS), who is in UANL Tigres' system, replaced Okugo at halftime.
The U.S. will close Group B action Saturday against Panama. Quarterfinal winners will advance to the July 29-Aug. 20 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
Chivas USA's top draft pick, three current or former UCLA stars and rising prospects from Irvine and Oxnard are part of U.S. under-20 national team coach Thomas Rongen's roster for the region's qualifiers for this summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Rookie Zarek Valentin, Chivas' top pick (at No. 4 overall) in January's draft and an projected backline starter, is one of seven Major League Soccer players headed to Guatemala for the March 28-April 10 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which will send 12 nations to the July 29-Aug. 20 World Cup in Colombia.
The team gathers Sunday in Dallas, so Valentin will depart after Chivas' opener Saturday night at Home Depot Center against Sporting Club Kansas City and likely will be unavailable for three games: March 26 at home against MLS champ Colorado, April 2 at Toronto FC and April 9 at home vs. Columbus.
UCLA's contingent: All-American Kelyn Rowe, a freshman midfielder, and junior forward Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS), plus former Bruins standout Amobi Okugo, a Philadelphia Union midfielder.
Also chosen: Oxnard's Moises Orozco (Oxnard HS), a playmaking midfielder in UANL Tigres' system in Mexico, and Irvine's Bobby Wood, a forward promoted to German second-division club 1860 Munich's top team this winter.