U.S. U-20s Fall To Japan In World Cup Opener

U.S. Soccer, Gilroy, U.S., Japan
Photo via U.S. Soccer

Bellmore’s Erin Gilroy started and played all 90 minutes for the United States in the team’s opening match in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, a 1-0 loss to Japan.

A 76th-minute goal from Japan’s Honoka Hayashi would prove to be the only tally of the match. The long-range shot evaded a leaping U.S. keeper Laurel Ivory, skimmed the bottom of the crossbar and bounced over the goal line.

The U.S. will take on Paraguay in its second Group C game on Thursday, August 9, at 1:30 p.m. ET (FS2, UNIVERSO). Paraguay fell to Spain, 4-1, in the other Group C game of the afternoon.

First-half opportunities for the United States were limited. Midfielder Jaelin Howell pushed a header wide early, and forward Sophia Smith had the team’s best opportunity in the first 45 when just prior to halftime she raced into the box but was thwarted by Japan keeper Hannah Stambaugh.

Six minutes before Japan would take the lead, the U.S. nearly found the game’s first goal when substitute Abigail Kim sprinted down the right side and crossed into the middle, but Gilroy couldn’t turn her well-struck header on goal.

Following Hayashi’s goal, the U.S. pressed for the tying goal but could not convert opportunities in the 80th minute, 86th minute and in the second minute of stoppage time.

The U.S. had more possession in the match and completed more passes, but Japan out-shot the Americans 14-10 and had four shots on goal to three for the U.S.