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FIFA U-20 World Cup: Reaction vs. Ghana – June 27, 2013

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell to Ghana 4-1 in the Group A finale of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Kayseri, Turkey. Head coach Tab Ramos, defender/midfielder Oscar Sorto and defender Shane O’Neill comment on the loss, which eliminated the USA from the tournament.

U.S. U-20 head coach TAB RAMOS
On the match against Ghana:
“It was a very difficult match for us. It was a game in which we needed goals. We tried to go forward as much as we could, but in the end it became a transition game, and we took goals at the wrong time. Even when we got back in the game in the second half at 2-1 we took a corner kick and they were going forward pretty well. You’re playing good teams here. We knew coming in that we were going to be in a group with three very difficult teams. I think we competed, but it just wasn’t enough.”

On DeAndre Yedlin’s injury:
“He had an injury to his shoulder with about five minutes left in the half. We didn’t know if he could continue. At that point we thought about taking possibly Oscar out of the game to bring in a forward, but we had to keep them both in to see if he could continue or not because we did not want to lose both right backs.”

On the most frustrating part of the loss to Ghana:
“I don’t think we connected passes well today. We didn’t keep the ball. In the first half, as everybody knows we try to play out of the back, and anytime we found a forward we turned the ball over. That hurt us. We couldn’t get out of our half for periods of time. I think this team was pretty much put together to try to go forward to play the game on the opposing team’s side of the field, and when we can’t do that for long periods of time, obviously that hurts us.” 

On the team’s confidence level heading into each group game:
“We were just as confident in this game as we were against Spain in the first game and against France in the second game. We prepared one game at a time. We knew all the teams were going to be difficult. Ghana, I think, player-by-player is the most skillful team of the three that we were facing. By no means were we thinking that another game was going to be less difficult than the other two.”

On the offensive shortcomings:
“When we get in front of goal we don’t shoot as much. We’re always looking for that extra pass, and as we found out in this tournament I think the teams that are doing well are the teams that are just getting in front of the goal and they take advantage of the opportunities. Even in today’s game, I know we attacked enough to get goals. And yet we didn’t get them. It’s unfortunate for us. I’d have to say we created some opportunities and unfortunately we didn’t get the goals.”

On the tournament overall:
“I’m disappointed that in three games we gave up nine goals. You certainly can’t move on in a World Cup giving up nine goals in three games. But overall, we came here to compete. I think the unfortunate part is in two of the games the results don’t show it. But I think our team showed up and competed in all three games and in a very difficult group against three very difficult teams.”

U.S. U-20 defender and midfielder OSCAR SORTO
On the game against Ghana:
“It was a game we had to win. Unfortunately we made some mistakes, and up top we didn’t take our chances. They countered us well. It was a good team, as well, and I thought the mistakes killed us. It was a hard game, back and forth. They were quick, too.”

On the overall experience of the tournament:
“For me especially, it was the biggest experience. Two months ago I didn’t know if I was going to come here because of my injury. I just want to thank Tab and all the coaches for giving me a second chance. And for the team, it was amazing. Everyone is a good player. No one gave up for 90 minutes. I have no words for this team – we were fighting. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the second round.”

U.S. U-20 defender SHANE O’NEILL
On the loss to Ghana:
“Obviously it’s a tough loss. They were a good team. They came out and played well. Once we got that goal we were back in the game, but Ghana’s third goal kind of broke our spirits I think. There were definitely chances to come back in the game, but it just wasn’t our night. They came out with a lot of effort. They were on top of us for most of the game. It was a tough group, but that’s not an excuse. It was a disappointing loss.”

On Ghana’s response following his goal:
“We were just lax on set pieces. That’ll hurt you, especially at this level. We kind of fell asleep and they got a goal off of a corner. They were so much smaller than us, and we should have never let that happen. That’s obviously a disappointing part, because I think once we got the goal we were on the front foot and we could have pushed on.”

On the overall experience at the U-20 World Cup:
“It’s a great experience. You learn that a year and a half of work goes by in a flash. In three games and it’s done – especially being suspended for the first one. It just goes by so quick, and if you don’t seize the moment, you’ll be going home after the first round like we are. It’s a good learning experience.”