RBNY's Cristian Casseres Jr, Venezuela U-20s aim to clinch World Cup berth

New York Red Bulls - Cristian Casseres Jr. - August 29, 2018

New York Red Bulls midfielder Cristian Casseres, Jr is closing in on a spot in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Casseres and the rest of the Venezuela Under-20 national team can clinch qualification with a win or draw when they face border rivals Colombia on Thursday night in the 2019 South American U-20 Championship at Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua, Chile. Having started in every one of Venezuela's matches thus far, RBNY's talented central midfielder is likely to again get the nod from manager Rafael Dudamel in the heart of their 4-3-3 shape.

"I'm going to raise all my energies to raise my boys," said Dudamel this week. "I want to give them a hug, to feel all the support and thus return to the main objective of Poland 2019."

It's the second-to-last match of the tournament for the Vinotinto, who surprised some by finishing first in their group in the first phase of the competition, nosing ahead of powers Brazil, Colombia and Chile with a 3-1 record. That saw them advance to the event's final stage, a second phase of group play featuring the top six finishers from the first round. 

Venezuela suffered a 3-0 loss to Argentina on Monday, but remain in contention thanks to a 1-1 draw with Uruguay and a 2-0 upset of Brazil. They conclude the final phase against Ecuador on Sunday.