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U-20 MNT Draws Group A for 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship from Jan. 9-24 in Jamaica

CHICAGO (Oct. 30, 2014) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn with Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Panama and Guatemala in Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The draw took place in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and the qualification tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup takes place Jan. 9-24 in Kingston and Montego Bay.

In the group stage, the USA opens against Guatemala on Jan. 9, followed by Panama (Jan. 11), Aruba (Jan. 14), Jamaica (Jan. 18) and Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 21).

The tournament will qualify four teams to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“It was a difficult draw for many of the teams, including Group A because we will be one of the teams that has to travel from Kingston to Montego Bay during the tournament,” U.S. U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos said. “I think getting drawn with Jamaica and Panama in particular, those will be some difficult opponents. At the end of the day, if you want to advance to the World Cup, you need to beat good teams, so we’re looking forward to the tournament.”

2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship

  • Group A: Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Panama, USA, Guatemala
  • Group B: Haiti, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador

USA’s Group A Schedule:

  • Friday, Jan. 9: Guatemala, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Sunday, Jan. 11: Panama, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Wednesday, Jan. 14: Aruba, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Sunday, Jan. 18: Jamaica, 9 p.m. ET
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21: Trinidad & Tobago, 6:30 p.m. ET

Tab Ramos

The CONCACAF U-20 Championship format has changed for 2015 with two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments had featured four groups of three teams.

Under the new setup, the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In preparation for qualifying, the U.S. U-20 MNT is headed to Marbella, Spain, from Nov. 10-19 for three international matches. The USA will face Russia’s U-20 national team on Nov. 12, the Republic of Ireland’s U-21 national team on Nov. 15 and Canada’s U-20s on Nov. 18. The U-20 MNT roster for the Spain trip will be announced in the coming days.

“As we get into Spain, that will be a great opportunity to see some of our European-based players, so I’m excited about finally getting that camp in Europe,” Ramos said. “Come December, when we are putting things together, I believe we will have a group that will help us qualify for the World Cup. It is a deep group, so we will definitely have some difficult decisions to make.”

The U.S. finished runner-up to Mexico at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico. That group qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where the team was drawn a difficult Group A that included France, Spain and Ghana. Though the USA did not advance out of the group, it did play eventual champion France to a 1-1 draw.

The USA has earned second place in the qualification tournament six times (1980, 1982, 1986, 1992, 2009, 2013), but has yet to win a CONCACAF U-20 Championship title.

The U.S. has qualified for 13 FIFA World Youth Championships/FIFA U-20 World Cups. The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship.

2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Draw

The Younger Yanks Are Coming

ussoccer.com: Having reviewed the win against the Czech Republic, what are your lasting impressions of the performance?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “There are a lot of positives we can take out of this game. We asked this younger generation - the group that here and there was not a big part of the World Cup in Brazil - to step it up and make statements. I think that young group made a very, very strong statement. We asked players such as Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Jozy Altidore and others to take the responsibilities into their hands and guide that young team in Prague, and that’s what they did. Winning in Prague against a Czech team that barely missed out on qualifying for the World Cup is a strong statement. So overall, it was a very positive trip. We learned a lot, and this group deserves to come along.”

ussoccer.com: There seemed to be an increased aggressiveness in the midfield. What were your instructions to those guys?
JK: “With every young group that comes through the system, you want them to step it up physically year by year. You want them to take over responsibilities, you want them to grow, to be louder on the field, but also to send out signals physically. It’s a physical sport, and in many cases it’s about one-on-one battles on the field and winning those battles. That’s what Mix, Michael Orozco, Joe Corona, John Brooks, Jozy Altidore, Ale Bedoya did. They stepped up and showed they can compete physically. That’s what we wanted to see, so for that reason they deserve a compliment.”

ussoccer.com: The team also seemed to show a commitment to playing out of the bac, particularly with the distribution by Brad Guzan. Did you ask them to stick with that plan and not be afraid to take risks? Is that something you plan to preach moving forward?
JK: “It’s definitely a huge step for us to play out of the back, to find defenders and open up the game right away and not to play long balls all the time. Pretty much every long ball is a turn over. In the first half with Brad Guzan delivering those balls into Diskerud, into the fullbacks, into the centerbacks, that looked really nice. Obviously for Nick Rimando, he’s used to doing that. He’s almost like a field player and he’s very comfortable playing out of the back. We told them not to worry about making mistakes. Here and there it might happen, but we want this game to be developed from the back into the midfield and then into the forwards and not to be forced always to play long balls. This is something we are going to encourage more and more going forward. We want to keep the ball. We want to build out of the back. We want them to have the confidence to do that and not worry about mistakes. I think it was a big step forward, and we will emphasize that going into the October games as well.”

ussoccer.com: While Jozy didn’t have many scoring chances, he seemed to show improved hold up play. What were your impressions?
JK: “It was huge for us to have Jozy Altidore back in our lineup. This was the biggest bummer for us in the World Cup, to lose Jozy in the first game. I think we could have made a huge step in the World Cup, especially facing a team like Belgium in the Round of 16, if Jozy had been on the field.  I asked him to guide this young group. He’s still a young guy himself - he’s 24 years old but he already has 70 caps. We made him the captain and told him to guide these guys and he enjoyed that. He battled the whole game. He won most of his one-on-one battles, he provided great assists. He connected with Joe Gyau to the right and Julian green to the left, and connected to the midfield. It was a very strong performance by Jozy, even if he didn’t score. This is what we want to see from him. Sooner or later, I told him you are going to score your goals in the Premier League and continue to score goals for the National Team.”

U.S. U-20 MNT Wins NTC Invitational with Scoreless Draw Against Australia

CARSON, California (July 18, 2014) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team concluded the inaugural National Training Center Invitational with a draw against Australia at StubHub Center, resulting in the U.S. earning the championship trophy.

Both Australia and the U.S. finished with seven points atop the standings, but the goal differential of plus-5 achieved by the U.S. was greater than Australia’s (plus-4) and awarded the USA the title. Australia finished as the runner-up.

Both teams had multiple opportunities to score, much to the delight of the American Outlaws who attended the game and were vocal throughout. The U.S. hit the upright or crossbar four times, coming within inches of scoring on various occasions. Lynden Gooch alone hit the frame three times.

Australia tested U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen early when Brandon Borello found a seam and got behind the defense, forcing Steffen off his line to corral the ball at Borello’s feet.

The U.S. had a near goal in the sixth minute when Tommy Thompson dribbled down the right side and lifted a cross into the box, bringing Australia goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell off his line. The ball fell to U.S. midfielder Fernando Arce, who lofted a shot from the edge of the box that was headed over the goal by an Australia defender.

U.S. midfielder Romain Gall had a free kick from five yards outside the box in the 21st minute and he fired a shot over the wall that hit the upper left corner of the goal and bounced over.

Australia’s Daniel De Silva took a shot from the right side outside the box in the 31st minute, forcing Steffen to make a leaping save to his right.

Gooch gave the U.S. another great chance in the 37th minute when he fired a left-footed, running shot from well outside the box that crossed past Thurtell and hit the right upright before bouncing away.

The U.S. forced Thurtell into action again just two minutes later with a beautiful combination that saw midfielder Paul Arriola dribble toward the end line to the left of goal before finding Arce alone in the center of the box. Arce struck the ball with full force, but his shot was just above Thurtell’s head and he was able to reach up just in time to deflect it away.

In the 46th minute, Gooch’s shot hit the upright again. Gooch took a shot from the edge of the box that was just out of Thurtell’s reach, but proved to be just off target as the ball caromed off the right post.

Thompson dribbled through a sea of Australia defenders in the 77th minute and freed himself for a shot to the right of the penalty area. His shot was deflected wide. Gooch hit the crossbar again in the 79th minute with a shot from the middle of the field outside the 18-yard box that Thurtell tipped, grazing the crossbar and continuing over the goal and out of bounds.

The U.S. U-20 MNT now begins preparations for 2015 U-20 World Cup Qualifying, which begins in January. The team will come together for several foreign-based training camps before the end of the year.

-U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Australia
Date: July 18, 2014
Competition: 2014 Men’s National Training Center Invitational
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, California
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 700
Weather: Clear, 77 degrees

Scoring Summary:           1      2      F
USA                                       0      0      0
Australia                              0      0      0 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 13-Chris Odoi-Atsem, 4-Conor Donovan, 5-Michael Amick, 2-John Requejo; 16-Fernando Arce, 6-Russell Canouse (capt.); 7-Paul Arriola; 24-Tommy Thompson, 8-Lynden Gooch (9-Benji Lopez, 89) , 11-Zach Pfeffer (10-Romain Gall, 8)
Subs Not Used: 12-Santiago Castano, 14-Jacori Hayes, 17-Jesus Vasquez, 19-Andrija Novakovich, 20-Caleb Smith
Head Coach: Tab Ramos

AUS: 1-Jordan Thurtell; 5-Riley Woodcock (15-Scott Galloway, 62), 3-Daniel Alessi, 4-Ben Warland, 16-Ben Garuccio; 7-Shannon Brady (11-Jaushua Sotorio, 28), 6-Hagi Gligor (capt.) (20-Jordan Brown, 83), 10-Stefan Sotorio; 23-Daniel De Silva (14-Devante Clut, 73), 9-Brandon Borrello, 8-Awer Mabil (24-Marc Marino, 72)
Subs Not Used: 2-Shayne D’Cunha, 18-Paul Izzo, 21-Chris Naumoff, 22-Liam Rose,

Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 15 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 11 / 15
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Jaushua Sotorio (caution)               76th minute
USA – Russell Canouse (caution)               86

Officials:
Referee: Victor Rivas (USA)
Assistant Referee: Andrew Bigelow (USA)
Assistant Referee: Eduardo Mariscal (USA)
Fourth Official: Nima Saghafi (USA)


2014 Men’s National Training Center Invitational Continues Wednesday

CARSON, California (July 15, 2014) – The Australia U-20 Men’s National Team will take on Chile to kick off Wednesday’s action at 1 p.m. PT, followed by the U.S. U-20 MNT facing Bermuda at 4 p.m. as play resumes at the 2014 Men’s National Training Center Invitational.

The USA and Australia are even in points with three, but Australia holds first place on goal differential. Both Chile and Bermuda have zero points after one game. Australia’s Awer Mabil is the only player in the invitational thus far to have scored multiple goals as he leads the tournament with two.

The third day of games takes place on Friday, July 18, and will feature Chile against Bermuda at 1 p.m. PT, followed by the U.S. and Australia going head-to-head. Both games will be live on ussoccer.com.

2014 NTC Invitational Standings

Team

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Pts

Australia

1

1

0

0

4

1

+3

3

USA

1

1

0

0

2

1

+1

3

Chile

1

0

1

0

1

2

-1

0

Bermuda

1

0

1

0

1

4

-3

0

Monday, July 14
Australia 4, Bermuda 1
USA 2, Chile 1

Wednesday, July 16
Chile vs. Australia
USA vs. Bermuda

Friday, July 18
Chile vs. Bermuda
USA vs. Australia

Goal Scoring Leaders:
AUS-Awer Mabil - 2 goals
AUS-Marc Marino - 1 goal
AUS-Stefan Mauk - 1 goal
CHI-Cristian Cuevas - 1 goal
USA-Andrija Novakovich - 1 goal
USA-Zach Pfeffer - 1 goal

Saves Leaders:
CHI-Brayan Cortes - 5 saves
BER-Jahquil Hill - 4 saves
AUS-Jordan Thurtell - 1 save
USA-Santiago Castano - 1 save

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