Howard, 1999
History of Metro at the U-20 World Cup
June 8, 2023

Usually, when we do these rundowns, we talk about every single player with a Metro connection, whether they appeared before, during, or after their Metro stint. However... the U-20 World Cup list is quite large and includes such gems as Chris Unger (1987), Joey DiGiamarino (1997), Walter Garcia (2003), and Samuel Tetteh (2015). So let's just concentrate on a more select list: those who played in the U-20 World Cup during their Metro stint.

We start in 1997, when MLS was just in its second year of existence. The U-20 tournament (then called the World Youth Championship) was held in Malaysia. Metro was represented by the first ever Project-40 player in league history, Carlos Parra. He played in two games, as the US lost in the Round of 16.

If Parra doesn't ring a bell, the next Metro participant should. In 1999, Tim Howard was the US's starting goalkeeper in Nigeria. He shutout England, beat Cameroon, but lost to Spain in the Round of 16.

There were no Metros in 2001, so we move to 2003 when we got two in the United Arab Emirates: Ricardo Clark and Mike Magee. The US made it all the way to the quarter, losing to Argentina. Clark started every game. Magee started the first two, scored the winner against Paraguay in the group stage, but did not appear in the final three.

Two years later, it was Eddie Gaven's turn to play for the US in the Netherlands. The US won the group, even beating Argentina, but lost in the Round of 16 to Italy. Gaven started three of the four games.

In 2007, Jozy Altidore's star was on the rise, and he did not disappoint in Canada, playing in every game and scoring four goals. The once-beloved striker tallied against Poland, and then twice to beat Brazil. The US then beat Uruguay on an extra time goal by Michael Bradley. In the quarterfinals, Altidore opened the scoring against Austria, but the US lost in extra time.

No one in 2009. (2009 sucked.) The US missed out in 2011. No one in 2013, with Tab Ramos as the coach. (He would coach for four cycles.) Finally, in 2015, it was the time for Matt Miazga in New Zealand. Once again, the US advanced out of the group stage. This time, they beat Colombia but lost to eventual champion Serbia in the quarterfinal on penalties. Miazga started four of the five games.

In 2017 in South Korea, Tyler Adams walked on the world's stage and didn't disappoint. He started every match, the US won the group, trashed New Zealand 6:0 in the Round of 16, and was knocked out by Venezuela in the quarters in extra time.

No Metros in 2019, COVID cancelled 2021, so this brings us to 2023 in Argentina. Daniel Edelman appeared in all five games, captaining the US during each one of his three starts. The US romped into the quarters, not allowing a goal. There, they succumbed 2:0 to Uruguay. These U-20 World Cups seem to follow a pattern, don't they?

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