USMNT U20s player ratings vs Fiji: Diego Luna changes game off bench as Cade Cowell & Caleb Wiley score for wasteful U.S.

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Diego Luna US U20s Fiji
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The U.S. U-20 Moon Boy came off the bench to score a goal as Mikey Varas' team left it late to beat Fiji.

Under the bright Argentinian sun, it was the rising star known as Moon Boy that changed the game for the U.S. U-20 men's national team.

Diego Luna came off the bench to help the U.S. finally break down a pesky Fiji defense with a goal in the 66th minute. He was joined on the scoresheet by Cade Cowell and Caleb Wiley, as the U.S. overcame a poor start to ultimately seal the 3-0 win they expected to earn.

The triumph over Fiji is the U.S. team's second in as many games at the World Cup, sealing their place in the knockout rounds. It didn't come easy, though, even if many thought it would. Fiji were blown out 4-0 by Slovakia in their opener, but they were better here. Their defense was somewhat stout, but they were also aided by a very wasteful U.S. performance.

A total of 16 shots failed to find the net before the 17th, Luna's effort, finally made the difference. In total, the U.S. fired 31 shots to Fiji's six , but only seven were on target. Fiji were very much in it for large stretches and it took goals from Cowell and Wiley after the 88th minute to truly seal the result.

It was an attacking performance that will raise some alarm bells for Mikey Varas, but there will also be little reason to panic given the rotations made by the U.S. head coach.

In the end, it was a win; a somewhat ugly win, but a win nonetheless. Up next is a match against Slovakia, but the U.S. will be looking ahead to the knockouts now.

GOAL rates the Star and Stripes players from the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario.

  1. Goalkeeper & Defense
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    Goalkeeper & Defense

    Gaga Slonina (7/10):

    Had to make a save early in the second half but, other than that, not much, which makes that save all the more vital. Important to get minutes, though, even if he's rarely needed.

    Jonathan Gomez (6/10):

    A few good crosses, but never got close to recreating his magic from the opener. Should get a rest against Slovakia after taking a beating from a physical Fiji team.

    Marcus Ferkranus (7/10):

    An absolute wrecking ball as he left several Fiji players worse for wear. Had a few okay sequences defensively the few times Fiji got forward.

    Brandan Craig (7/10):

    Didn't need to do much, but did take the free kick to tee up Wiley's tap-in. Also provided one of the funniest moments of the match when he was overheard asking the referee for 20 minutes of added time to combat Fiji's time-wasting.

    Michael Halliday(6/10):

    Not too impactful. Got on the ball a few times, but no signature moments.

  2. Midfield
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    Daniel Edelman (7/10):

    A solid 80 minutes for the captain, who returned to the XI after sitting out the opener. Still key to the U.S. midfield and should be in the lineup going forward.

    Jack McGlynn (8/10):

    Another standout performance from the Union homegrown. Even at such a young age, McGlynn understands how to dictate a game, and open one up with a ball over the top, and he did so again here.

    Owen Wolff (5/10):

    Taken off at halftime as Varas looked to shake things up. Fairly quiet once again, all things considered.

  3. Attack
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    Cade Cowell (7/10):

    Credited with the assist on Luna's goal, and his penalty shout distracted Fiji just long enough for the RSL man to pounce. Added the second goal late on with a stunning long-range finish, which saved his score a bit in a game that lacked end product until that moment.

    Darren Yapi (4/10):

    On the one hand, the Colorado Rapids star was incredibly dangerous. On the other, he seemingly found a way to place the ball everywhere other than the goal. The hope is that he can smooth that out, but he could have had several goals in this one.

    Quinn Sullivan (5/10):

    Had one good chance early on, but dragged it wide, which was a theme for the U.S. throughout the first half. Sacrificed at the break for Luna, which turned out to be the right call.

  4. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Diego Luna (8/10):

    Came on and changed the game with his goal. Created a few other chances and, like many of his teammates, could have maybe added another goal. Overall, a reminder of what Luna brings: creativity.

    Niko Tsakiris (6/10):

    Important minutes for a player that still needs to shake off the rust. Didn't look quite himself, but he's on his way.

    Caleb Wiley (6/10):

    Came on in the 75th minute and got his late goal to help lift the goal difference a bit. It was an easy one, too, as he tapped in from close range.

    Obed Vargas (N/A):

    Replaced Edelman to add some fresh legs late in the midfield.

    Mikey Varas (6/10):

    Will definitely be disappointed, but it's always better to be disappointed with a win than a loss. Made the right call to rotate and to bring Luna in when needing a goal, but the U.S. may now have to sweat out a goal difference race atop the group.