USA U-20s come back twice, tie Ecuador at the death in World Cup opener
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – After a goalkeeping blunder by Jonathan Klinsmann, teammate Luca de la Torre scored an injury-time goal Monday to give the United States a 3-3 draw against Ecuador at the Under-20 World Cup.
The Americans conceded two early goals but managed to get back into the Group F match with a pair of strikes from Josh Sargent. But the mistake by Klinsmann, the son of former Germany great Jurgen Klinsmann, put Ecuador back in front in the 64th minute.
Klinsmann attempted to dribble the ball out of trouble from in front of his own net, but he got tangled up by a pair of opponents and then kicked the ball straight to Ecuador midfielder Bryan Cabezas, who scored.
De la Torre netted the equalizer in the fourth minute of injury time in Incheon. The Fulham midfielder scored with a low shot after the Ecuador defense failed to clear a cross from the right.
''Obviously our fight is always there, so we expect that,'' U.S. coach Tab Ramos said. ''We have been able to see this team for the last year and a half, this team has a lot of character. Having to dig yourself out of this type of hole in the World Cup is not easy. So I obviously have to give the team a lot of credit for that. I think the players did a great job.''
Herlin Lino scored the first goal for Ecuador in the fifth minute, and Cabezas got the second in the seventh. But Sargent scored his first goal in the 36th off a pass from De la Torre. In the second half, Sargent headed in his second after a cross from Brooks Lennon.
''I wish I had the answer for the first 10 minutes, that wasn't the plan,'' Ramos said with a laugh. ''We are a high-press team and we like to come after teams. Unfortunately, we made a couple of mistakes and we paid for that.
''Other than that, I am very happy with the players and the team. It was a great effort.''
The Americans next face Senegal on Thursday while Ecuador takes on Saudi Arabia.
Senegal leads the group after a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Ibrahima Niane and Ousseynou Diagne scored a goal each.
In Group E, France defeated Honduras 3-0 in Cheonan.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Jean-Kevin Augustin put France in the lead with a long-range free kick in the 15th minute, and Amine Harit added the second just before halftime. Martin Terrier scored the final goal in the 81st.
In the other group match, Vietnam and New Zealand drew 0-0.
Sixteen of the 24 teams advance to the second round - the top two from each of the six groups and the four best third-place finishers. The final is scheduled for June 11 in Suwon.