U-20 World Cup: Error-prone Richard Sanchez, Mexico on brink of elimination

After their gold-medal finish at last summer's London Olympics, they were billed as perhaps tournament favorites at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. But Richard Sanchez and his Mexican Under-20 national team’s stay in Turkey may last as long as the senior El Tri side’s run at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Paraguay topped Mexico 1-0 on Tuesday in both teams’ second Group D game at the U-20 World Cup, leaving Sanchez and his mates winless through two games and clinging to life in the tournament.

The FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper got off to a shaky start at Kamil Ocak Stadium in Gaziantep, miscommunicating dangerously on a backpass from defender Antonio Briseño just two minutes in and then losing a ball out the endline through his legs before settling in and making four saves.

But he was powerless to stop a stunning half-volley from Paraguay’s Derlis González in the 51st minute of the contest.

READ: Yedlin putting Seattle lessons to work for US U-20s in Turkey

Mexico held more of the possession in the match, and hit the post twice ­– including in the final minute of the match – but otherwise couldn’t break through a stout Paraguayan defense. Chivas USA forward Julio Morales was in the 18, but went unused by Mexican coach Sergio Almaguer.

Tuesday’s result leaves Mexico without a point in the tournament, with one group-stage match left on Friday vs. Mali, who are third place in Group D on three points, trailing Greece and Paraguay on four points each.

The top four third-place teams advance to the knockout round.