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Post-Match Quotes: U-20 MNT vs. France – May 28, 2013

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos and midfielder Benji Joya commented about the squad’s 4-1 loss to the U-21 France side on Tuesday in the opener of the 2013 Toulon Tournament:

U.S. U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS
On his overall thoughts of the game:
“This is preparation for us and we’re trying to give key players opportunities. I was a little disappointed with our adjustment to the speed of play in the first half. There was really only one team on the field, but I think in the second half we started to play a little bit faster. We started to become more competitive and aggressive on the ball. Once we started to have the ball at our feet, we did well and we got back in the game. Unfortunately we took those two goals at the end, but I thought the second half was much better for us.”

On whether it was a just score and result:
“I think France created opportunities. In the first half, maybe they should have scored more. In the second half we showed our competitiveness. Once we started to hold onto the ball, we did well. that’s what we do best. I think in the first half we just didn’t have the ball.”

On how he will approach the future tournament games:
“We’re here in preparation. As the week goes on, we’re going to keep rotating our players. At no time during this tournament we will select the top 11 for any game. We’ll have six here, five here. We’re using everyone. The idea for us is come June 7 to have everybody healthy and to have the final 21 players prepared for the World Cup.

On the slow start:
“I thought we didn’t come out aggressive enough. By coming out slow, I thought the French team did a very nice job of playing quickly, especially on our left side and their right side. They move the ball very fast and they got many opportunities to get down the line and get crosses in, so they hurt us, but this is a good team that we played. Obviously I have to give credit to the other team. That was a very good squad we had in front of us.”

U-20 MNT midfielder BENJI JOYA
On the U-21 France team and overall thoughts:
“France is a great team and they put the ball away. We had our moments where we had them on their heels, as well as they did (against us). They’re very fast. Every time we lost the ball they immediately went toward goal, and I felt we could have been better. Next game we have to put it together.”

On the value of playing in this tournament:
“This is very good for us to get in World Cup mode. U-21 France is a great team. They’re very fast and strong, and mentally they’re very good. Defense, offense, they worked hard. This is what we were expecting and it will help us to get better as a team.”

On trying to overcome a slow start:
“I feel the first 15 minutes they had us, just touching the ball, and we were running behind the ball the whole time. We were chasing. And at about 20 minutes, we reacted. They scored the first goal and second, and we woke up. It’s not supposed to happen that way. We’re supposed to come out the first minute when the game starts.”