Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil helps Under-20 MNT qualify for World Cup
Brian Nicholson, El Observador de Utah
Expectations, pressure, leadership.
All of these fell on the shoulders of RSL midfielder Luis Gil Tuesday as the U-20 U.S. Men's National Team came from behind against Canada to win 4-2 in the quarterfinals at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP.
With this win, the United States qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will take place in Turkey this summer.
The U.S. fell behind early in the game when Canada's Dylan Carreiro fired a shot from 30 yards out to the right corner of the net in the 23rd minute.
Not getting discouraged by the early deficit, Gil fired in one of his own just six minutes later to even the score. Taking a good first touch, he created space and directed a left-footed shot to the far post.
This was Gil's second goal of the tournament, his first coming in the USA's 2-1 victory over Haiti. He has four total goals for the Under-20 MNT, which is second most on the squad.
Before halftime, the United States rattled off two more goals, coming from Jose Villarreal and Wil Trapp, in the 40th and 45th minutes respectively.
Even with a two goal advantage, the United States did not let up on the intensity in the second half. The deficit created in the first half was too much for Canada to overcome.
"I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction on the players’ faces when they accomplished something big," U.S. Under-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos said, according to U.S. Soccer. "I'm glad to be a part of today’s result.”
Gil has been a large part of this team, and for him the victory meant he is headed to Turkey for a month this summer to play in the World Cup.
"Going to Turkey!!! Proud of my team! Love you guys!" Gil tweeted following the game.
Gil headed back to Utah today to get ready for Real Salt Lake's season opener against San Jose on Sunday.
Whitney O'Bannon is currently a new media sports intern for the Deseret News.
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