With the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Draw in the books, the entire focus of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is now on the preparation phase for the tournament.
The U-20 MNT reconvenes with a March 23-30 trip to London that will include matches against Tottenham’s U-21s and England’s U-20s. Following that camp, the U-20s travel to Austria for an April 18-26 session that will feature games against Qatar’s and Greece’s U-20 sides. Further game and roster details will be announced at later dates.
“Our preparation is going to be good,” U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos said. “It will be the right preparation for the teams we’re playing in the World Cup, so I’ve been very happy with our planning.”
Looking Ahead to U-20 World Cup Group Opponents:
On Tuesday, the USA was drawn into Group A against host New Zealand, Ukraine and first-time side Myanmar. The U.S. opens the tournament May 30 against Myanmar.
“I think the draw went very well, and it’s a draw where we can be successful if we play at the best level possible,” Ramos said. “These are teams who have eliminated other great teams to get here, and sometimes just reading the names doesn’t do fair justice.”
The June 2 game against host New Zealand certainly stands out as the All Whites look to make a strong run in front of their home base.
“New Zealand has been training together and should be very well prepared,” Ramos said. “They will want to do well at home since they will have the support of the home crowd. Soccer is an up-and-coming sport there, and they will have that weight on their shoulders to go along with the excitement of the tournament. All of that will make them a dangerous side.”
The USA caps off the group stage against Ukraine on June 5. Ukraine is the only side the USA has faced in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, tracing back to a 1-1 draw on June 23, 2001, on a goal by Bruce Arena’s son Kenny Arena in the first half.
“Ukraine consists of all professional players, and they’re similar to a Russia in terms of playing style,” Ramos said. “With the type of players they have, they are experienced in the world game in general.”
Myanmar is a different story as a virtual unknown at the moment but established its presence with a run to the semifinals of the 2014 Asian Football Confederation U-19 Championship to qualify for the World Cup. Myanmar clinched a spot with a 1-0 victory against United Arab Emirates on Oct. 17.
“I really don’t know much about Myanmar, and all you can really look at is the teams they have left behind,” Ramos said. “In the youth game, sometimes it only takes two or three really good players to make a difference in the team, which makes it different than senior teams. So we will focus and prepare for Myanmar in the same way we would prepare for a Germany.”
Reflecting on Qualifying Stage:
The USA is coming off a third-place performance at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. After a slow start with a draw against Guatemala and a 1-0 loss to Group A winner and fellow FIFA U-20 World Cup participant Panama, the U.S. mounted a strong run with four consecutive shutout victories, capped off by a 2-0 win against El Salvador to book a spot to New Zealand.
“I feel good about how we defend with this team,” Ramos said. “Our center backs were excellent, and I think we have good complementary players all over the field. I think that gives us some liberty to attack with a lot of players. We led the tournament in shots, so we feel secure in the back to be able to take more chances. I like taking chances, but we also have to improve on our finishing.”
That was Ramos’ main talking point following the tournament as the USA looks to have a balanced attack to coincide with the defensive play.
“I told them that it was important that we are good in front of the goal, because at the World Cup you won’t have as many chances as we did in qualifying,” Ramos said. “We have to get better, and I asked all of our players to go back to their clubs to focus on this. It’s important for their future.”
CHICAGO (Feb. 10, 2015) – The U.S .Under-20 Men’s National Team was drawn into Group A with host New Zealand, Ukraine and Myanmar at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The USA opens group play against Myanmar on May 30 in Whangarei, followed by New Zealand on June 2 and Ukraine on June 5, both of which will be played in Auckland.
“It’s always an exciting moment to know your group as the reality sets in for the World Cup stage,” said U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos. “New Zealand, Ukraine and Myanmar will certainly prove to be formidable opponents. At this phase, every country is a challenge, so we will need to be clicking on all cylinders tactically, physically and mentally. We made great strides during the qualifying tournament, and we’re confident that with our deep pool of players that we can have a successful run at the World Cup.”
The FIFA U-20 World Cup runs May 30-June 20 among seven sites in New Zealand: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Whangarei. The championship and third-place matches take place Saturday, June 20, at the 25,000-capacity QBE Stadium in Auckland.
A total of 24 countries participate in the tournament. The top two teams in each group, as well as the best four third-place teams, advance to the Round of 16 on June 10 and 11.
At the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the USA drew a difficult Group A that included group winner Spain, Ghana and eventual World Cup winner France, which the U.S. drew 1-1 on June 24. The U.S. went 0-2-1 and did not advance to the knockout round.
This is the 14th occasion that the USA has advanced to a FIFA World Youth Championship or World Cup at this age group. The USA’s best performance was a fourth-place finish at the seventh FIFA World Youth Championship in 1989 that included wins against East Germany and Iraq and was capped off by a 2-0 loss to Brazil in the third-place match in front of 65,000 spectators at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. earned third place at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in January. The USA went 3-1-1 in the Group A stage for second behind Panama to earn the top seed in the playoff stage. The U-20 MNT defeated fourth-seeded El Salvador 2-0 on Jan. 24 to clinch its spot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
U.S. defender Shaquell Moore and midfielder Romain Gall earned CONCACAF U-20 Championship Best XI honors, and Gall shared the tournament’s golden boot with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano after scoring five goals in qualifying.
2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup
Group A: New Zealand (host), Ukraine, USA, Myanmar
Group B: Argentina, Panama, CAF 3, Austria
Group C: Qatar, Colombia, Portugal, CAF 4
Group D: Mexico, CAF 2, Uruguay, Serbia
Group E: CAF champion, Brazil, Korea DPR, Hungary
Group F: Germany, Fiji, Uzbekistan, Honduras
U.S. U-20 MNT’s Group A Schedule:
May 30: USA vs. Myanmar; Northland Events Center, Whangarei
June 2: New Zealand vs. USA; QBE Stadium, Auckland
June 5: Ukraine vs. USA, QBE Stadium, Auckland
2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Quote Sheet
USA 1, SLV 0
Jan. 24, 2015
U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS
On accomplishing the goal of qualifying for the World Cup:
“Obviously the Guatemala game changed our plan a little bit for the Panama game, which put us behind the 8-ball for the rest of the tournament. I’m really happy for the boys because it was really difficult in the last four games to have to eliminate an opponent, and they did it. We pushed them hard and they did a good job. Today’s game, we knew it was going to be very difficult. I thought we were well prepared because we’ve played in particular the last two games were very difficult for us as well. The boys did a good job. Defensively we’re playing really well, very organized. And when you limit other teams to very few opportunities to score, when you do that and you have the sort of firepower that we have up front, we always feel that at some point we’re going to get the game going in our direction. And today that’s just the way it went.”
On Zack Steffen’s penalty kick save and the defense posting four straight shutouts:
“Zack made a great save at the right time for us, although I felt El Salvador really was not dangerous throughout the game. They did have some possession on our side of the field, which is not really what we wanted. But these are difficult games.”
“In general, the defense played very well. We have Cameron [Carter-Vickers] and Matt [Miazga] in the middle and I think they’re a great pair of center backs. They play well together. And with Zack in goal – we’re very fortunate in that way. The U.S., we have very good goalkeepers and Zack is definitely one of the next ones to come up. And so between the two center backs and the goalkeeper I think they did a amazing job throughout the whole tournament.”
On how you compare this team to the 2013 team that also advanced to the World Cup:
“Well, this team is better. This team is just as technical as the last group, but they’re more dynamic and we have speed on this team. And also anxious going in to the World Cup, in getting guys like possibly Rubio Rubin back, and other guys that may come in to the fold at that point that may get released and that will help us up front as well.”
On how the second-half substitutes made a difference again:
“We feel fortunate with this particular group because I’ve been speaking about the depth of this group in general. I felt as if I really had 14 starters, and the other guys also play well. I felt like there were 14 guys that really could have started tonight’s game, and last game and the game before. And when I brought them off the bench, to have that type of attitude to come in and be willing to change the game, they did an amazing job. At the end of the day, they may be the guys that made the difference for us.”
On the character of the team to bounce back after a rocky start:
“It’s definitely not easy. I think you need good leadership in the group. I thought we had that. I thought we had humble players who were willing to work hard. It’s not easy because the expectations are so high for us. We came here with no other desire than to be champions of CONCACAF, and after two games that dream was already over. It was hard to regroup, but we regrouped and we got to this game. And as everybody knows, it’s always difficult to qualify to the World Cup. So for them to have won four straight games and to go to another World Cup, I think it’s just really an amazing job, considering where we were after two games.”
U.S. U-20 MNT forward BEN SPENCER
On his first-half goal:
“Emerson [Hyndman] put in a ball and I knew I had to get something on the end of it. I got on the end of the cross and it hit off the crossbar and sort of followed up and was able to put it in.”
On scoring in such an important game:
“It was a huge game for all of us, and we knew that coming into the game. So to be able to score in a game like this is definitely big. But the most important thing is that we won and we’re going to New Zealand.”
U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder RUSSELL CANOUSE
On not starting the first two games and then taking the captain’s responsibility to lead the team:
“In a couple of camps when Kellyn [Acosta] wasn’t in, I tried to take lead of the team the best I could. So when he went out injured, I just tried to step and lead the team, and try to get everyone to fight for what our goal was and it worked out well. We were able to win our last four games and made our dreams come true.”
On how all 20 players played in the tournament and were able to contribute:
“Tab said from the beginning that depth was important and we used all our guys. And offensively everyone was able to contribute. That was definitely one positive that we can take from this tournament.”
On how it feels to know the U-20 MNT is going to the World Cup:
“It’s a dream come true. That was one of my goals from the beginning of this cycle. You don’t want to think of it too far in advance, but it was definitely one of my goals and I’m glad we achieved it.”
U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN
On saving the penalty kick:
“I knew it was a PK, so I didn’t even try to argue it. I went back, got a sip of water and relax myself. We did a little bit of scouting on No. 11 on his previous PKs, that he went to my right side. So it was kind of a little mind game to see if he would switch it up and go to the left side. But I saw him look to the left side, and players usually try to trick the goalkeeper by looking one way and going the other. So I saw him look one way and I had a strong feeling he’d go right. And I was able to save it.”
On how he prepared for penalty kicks at training the day before:
“After he took it, I was thinking about yesterday and how we practiced them and how I was feeling good. The practice helped get me in the zone. If we didn’t practice I think I would have been a lot more nervous.”
On helping the team return to the World Cup:
“It’s awesome. To be the No. 1 and be able to carry the team with Russ [Canouse] and Kellyn [Acosta] to the World Cup, it’s very exciting.”
U.S. U-20 MNT defender MATT MIAZGA
On qualifying for the U-20 World Cup:
“Obviously it’s a good moment for us and U.S. Soccer. To be able to represent our country to the World Cup is a huge achievement. We’re going to work hard in the next few months and make that dream come true.”
On if there were any doubts after the first two games that the team would qualify:
“No. We’re a very confident group. We know we made our mistakes but we knew that we could correct them. And we knew that we had the chance to fix them in the upcoming games, and that’s what we did. We took each game one game at a time and we got the results. And it all came down to today against El Salvador and I thought we played a very good game and we got the result. All that matters now is that we booked our ticket to New Zealand.”
On the defense posting four straight shutouts:
“We’re a tight knit group of guys. We all get along really well, we all have each other’s backs, we all cover each other. If one guy makes a mistake, the other guy has his back. And I think we’re all very good players. So together we’ve played well and it showed in the results.”
U.S. U-20 MNT defender CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS
On qualifying for the U-20 World Cup:
“I think in the first games, we didn’t perform that well. But we improved. I think by the end, even though our performance may not have been the best, I always knew that we were going to win. I always knew that we had it in us to do what needed to be done.”
On Steffen’s PK save:
“It was excellent. I gave away the PK, so I was a bit nervous. And when he saved it I was relieved. I thought he was going to save it; I had a feeling he would and believed in his ability. We were practicing penalties yesterday in training and he saved quite a few, so I thought he had it in him.”
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Jan. 24, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team clinched a spot at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 2-0 victory against El Salvador in its playoff match at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Ben Spencer scored a first-half goal and Paul Arriola added a tally in the second half to help the USA advance to its 14th appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which takes place May 30-June 20 in New Zealand. The tournament draw will be held Feb. 10. With the win, the USA earns third place for the qualifying tournament.
The U.S. U-20 MNT capped off the tournament with four straight shutout victories to clinch its World Cup berth. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen came up with a clutch penalty kick save early in the second half against El Salvador to maintain the USA’s one-goal lead at the time.
Earlier Saturday, Honduras defeated Guatemala 2-1 in the other playoff match to clinch a World Cup berth. Later Saturday, Group A winner Panama and Group B winner Mexico competed in the title match of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Mexico earned its 13th CONCACAF title at this age group, defeating Panama 4-2 in a shootout after playing to a 1-1 score line in regulation. Heading into the match, both teams clinched a berth to the U-20 World Cup by winning their respective groups.
Romain Gall scored five goals in the tournament and shared the golden boot honors with Mexico's Hirving Lozano. Gall and Shaquell Moore were also named to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship All-Tournament Team. The USA as a group won the tournament's Fair Play award.
Sixteen of the 24 spots are now set for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup:
- CONCACAF (4): Mexico, Panama, Honduras, USA
- AFC (4): Korea DPR, Myanmar, Qatar, Uzbekistan
- CAF (4): Teams qualify from the 2015 African U-20 Championship
- CONMEBOL (4): Teams will qualify from the 2015 South American Youth Championship
- OFC (2): Fiji, New Zealand (host)
- UEFA (6): Austria, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Ben Spencer, 37th minute: After a slow first half that featured just one USA shot up to that point, the USA capitalized on a set piece. Emerson Hyndman took his free kick from the right side and found Spencer in the middle of the box, Spencer’s header struck off of the crossbar. The U.S. striker followed his own rebound, heading the ball back in from eight yards out into the upper left corner of the frame for his second goal of the tournament. USA 1, SLV 0
USA – Paul Arriola, 68th minute: Second-half sub Junior Flores had an immediate impact with the attack down the right side of the box, dribbling near the end line and crossing in for Bradford Jamieson IV who one-timed his shot. Carlos Cañas reacted to make the save, and the ball bounced to Arriola above the box. Arriola followed with a left-footed shot that trickled past two El Salvador defenders and Cañas and into the net for his first goal of the tournament. USA 2, SLV 0 (FINAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
SLV – Carlos Cañas, 13th minute: El Salvador’s defense had to back track on a USA counter attack, led by Emerson Hyndman’s through ball to Romain Gall. Gall’s touch was a tad too heavy and Cañas read the sequence well, rushing up from his line and disrupting the U.S. offense near the top of the box to clear before Gall could get a shot off.
USA – Zack Steffen, 52nd minute: El Salvador did not have a single shot through the first half, but the team earned a penalty kick chance when the USA committed a hand ball in the box. Jose Villavicencio went to the spot, and Steffen dove to his right for his biggest save of the tournament. El Salvador did have a corner kick chance afterward, but the U.S. eventually cleared.
SLV – Carlos Cañas, 62nd minute: Off of Emerson Hyndman’s free kick from the right, he drove the ball over to a lunging Matt Miazga who headed the ball from 10 yards out. Cañas deflected the shot just enough as the ball clanked off of the crossbar.
- The USA moved to 4-3-1 all-time against El Salvador in this tournament. Saturday’s win also marked the third time in the past seven CONCACAF U-20 Championships that the U.S. directly clinched a FIFA U-20 World Cup spot by virtue of a victory against El Salvador. The previous meetings clinched berths to the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup .
- For a third straight game, U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos went with the identical lineup as the USA’s Group A wins against Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
- Zack Steffen earned his fourth cap of the event with the start in goal.
- The defense featured John Requejo at left back, Shaquell Moore at right back and the center back combination of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga.
- The midfield of the USA’s 4-4-2 formation included Tommy Thompson on the right, Romain Gall on the left, Russell Canouse at defensive midfield and Emerson Hyndman in the attacking role. Canouse wore the captain’s armband for the fourth time in the tournament.
- Ben Spencer and Bradford Jamieson IV were paired up front together for a fourth-straight match.
- During a 42nd-minute attacking sequence, Spencer collided with El Salvador goalkeeper Carlos Cañas, forcing medical staff to take a look at his leg. Spencer was able to trudge through the remainder of the half, but Ramos utilized his team’s first substitution to open the second half, bringing in Paul Arriola.
- Junior Flores entered the match in the 62nd minute for Gall, the USA’s leading goal scorer with five tallies in the tournament.
- The USA’s final substitution was Lynden Gooch for Hyndman, who was receiving attention from the medical staff shortly after the U-20 MNT’s second goal.
- El Salvador played the final 12 minutes and stoppage time down a man when Andres Flores was called for an intentional foul from behind against the USA’s Junior Flores in the 79th minute.
- The USA outscored its opponents 14-2 during the qualifying stage.
- Hyndman led the team with three assists.
- Carter-Vickers and Requejo played in all 540 minutes of six games at the tournament.
- Heading into Saturday night’s final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Gall is tied with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano for the tournament goal-scoring lead with his five goals.
- Gall has nine-career goals with the U-20s in 14 international matches.
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report -
U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador
Date: Jan. 24, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship; Playoff
Venue: Montego Bay Sports Complex; Montego Bay, Jamaica
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: 81 degrees, light rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
SLV 0 0 0
USA – Ben Spencer 37th minute
USA – Paul Arriola 68
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-Shaquell Moore, 3-John Requejo Jr., 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga; 16-Russell Canouse (capt.), 8-Emerson Hyndman (18-Lynden Gooch, 70), 9-Romain Gall (10-Junior Flores, 62), 11-Tommy Thompson, 19-Bradford Jamieson IV, 20-Ben Spencer (7-Paul Arriola, 46)
Subs Not Used: 12-Ethan Horvath, 13-Tyler Turner, 14-Conor Donovan, 15-Fernando Arce, 17-Amando Moreno
Head coach: Tab Ramos
1-Carlos Cañas; 2-Nelson Moreno, 4-Bryan Tamacas, 12-Cesar Flores (20-Romilio Hernandez, 46), 17-Juan Barahona; 6-Narciso Orellana (capt.), 8-Alvaro
Guardado (16-Eduardo Merino, 65), 9-Byan Perez, 11-Jose Villavicencio (19-Julio Amaya, 85), 14-Andres Flores; 15-William Canales
Subs Not Used: 5-Edwin Cuellar, 10-Josue Martinez, 13-Jonathan Miranda, 18-Nicolas Pacheco
Head coach: Mauricio Alfaro
Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 9 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 25 / 17
Offside: 2 / 0
USA – Ben Spencer (caution) 38th minute
SLV – Narciso Orellana (caution) 38
SLV – Eduardo Merino (caution) 71
USA – Tommy Thompson (caution) 73
USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers (caution) 76
SLV – Andres Flores (sent off) 79
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Rangel (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Garnet Page (JAM)
Fourth Official: John Pitti (PAN)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Emerson Hyndman
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, which earned a top seed in the playoff stage of the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, will face fourth-seeded El Salvador on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Jamaica (5 p.m. ET, FOX Soccer Plus and FOXSoccer2Go). The winner earns a berth to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Should the USA secure a berth, it would also mark the third time in the past seven CONCACAF U-20 Championships that the U.S. would directly clinch a spot by virtue of a win against El Salvador. In the past two meetings at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament between these sides, the U.S. defeated El Salvador and clinched a berth in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
In addition to FOX Soccer Plus and FOXSoccer2Go, the USA-El Salvador playoff match will be available on the FOX Sports Go app on phones, tablets and computers. Anyone authenticated as a FOX Sports 1 or FOX Sports 2 subscriber and has a provider that has FOX Sports Go can watch the game for free.
The U.S. finished in second place in Group A with a 3-1-1 record and claimed the top spot among the four playoff seeded teams. El Salvador finished third in Group B with a 2-1-2 record and was seeded fourth. The U.S. enters Saturday’s match having won three straight and outscoring its opponents by a combined 11-0 during this stretch. For the tournament, the U.S. has scored 12 goals and conceded two.
In group play, El Salvador drew Honduras (2-2) and Haiti (1-1), defeated Canada (3-1), lost to Mexico (3-1) and closed with a win against Cuba (2-0).
Group B winner Mexico and Group A winner Panama have already clinched berths to the World Cup and will play Saturday night to decide the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship title. Before the USA-El Salvador match, Guatemala faces Honduras in the other playoff to determine the other berth from CONCACAF for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
USA vs. El Salvador (5 p.m. ET, Jan. 24; Montego Bay Sports Complex; Montego Bay, Jamaica; FOX Soccer Plus):
- The U.S. U-20 MNT is 3-3-1 all-time against El Salvador in U-20 qualifying.
- The first meeting between the two was in the 2nd CONCACAF Youth Championship in Guatemala on April 10, 1964, where the U.S. lost 4-2.
- The U.S. defeated El Salvador 2-0 in its next match in the eighth edition of the tournament on Aug. 7, 1980, in Princeton, New Jersey.
- Four years later, the teams met twice at the 10th CONCACAF Youth Championship held at the National Stadium in Trinidad. Following a 1-1 draw in group play on Aug. 27, 1984, El Salvador then defeated the USA in the third-place match with a 3-0 win on Sept. 8, 1984.
- The U.S. lost to El Salvador in group play on Aug. 20, 1994. Chad Barrett scored the lone goal in the 3-1 loss in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
- The U.S. has won its past two encounters with El Salvador – and with each win advanced to that year’s U-20 Youth Championship / World Cup. On Nov. 15, 2002, the U.S. – playing with 10 men for 71 minutes – needed an 85th-minute own goal to defeat El Salvador 1-0 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina. The victory was the second for the U.S., following a 2-0 win against Haiti, and guaranteed the team at least a second-place finish in the four-team group, and therefore, one of the tournament’s two automatic berths for the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.
- On March 10, 2009, the U.S. secured a place at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 2-0 win against El Salvador in its final Group A match of the 22nd CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Bacolet, Tobago. First-half goals from Brek Shea and Tony Taylor secured the win as the U.S. finished with nine men after two ejections.
2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Quote Sheet
USA 1, TRI 0
Jan. 21, 2015
U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS
On his assessment of the match:
"It was a very difficult match. We knew Trinidad had quite a few good players that we had to be careful with, and they played like it was their last game. We’re happy to get the three points. I know in general terms we played poorly compared to the way we’ve been playing. Having said that we took 19 shots which is very positive for us. Unfortunately we just couldn’t cash in. That’s kind of been the story for us in this tournament. We’ve taken a lot of shots – I think we’re leading the tournament in shots and yet we’re not getting the goals. We’ve got to do better for the next game if we’re going to go to the World Cup, that’s for sure.”
On the play of Bradford Jamieson and his goal:
"I think he made a good effort. I’m not disappointed with the effort of the team in general. Bradford made a good effort, and I think the whole team made a good effort. I just think in general we didn’t play well today. I thought it was a poor game on our side. Obviously some of it has to do with the fact that Trinidad played really hard and didn’t give us an opportunity to get forward too much. But like I said, we did create a lot of chances and Bradford was responsible for a lot of them. I’m happy with his work.”
On how the team adjusted to Trinidad attacking from the left side:
“Actually Trinidad is a stronger right-sided team than they are a left-sided team. So we actually wanted them to play out of the left side, so that was part of the plan to have them come out of their left side. We just didn’t think they’d have as much success. They did have some success down that line, but we rathered that the game was played down that side.”
On how to prepare for the playoff game against a team still to be determined:
“We know that whoever we play against is going to obviously be a good opponent, an opponent that’s going to be looking to go to the World Cup. But I think after the game we played today, especially because I’m thinking that we played poorly, we have to play a lot better on Saturday. And I think this gives us a little bit more motivation going towards that game. We came to this tournament to try to be champions of CONCACAF. Unfortunately it didn’t happen for us; we started slow. But we want to end on a high note and see if we can take third place.”
U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN
On his thoughts on the game:
"I think we played well, battled hard. [Trinidad & Tobago] played well, they pressed us, they’re physical and fast, but I thought all and all we did well. We got the result which was the most important thing and it’s on to the next one.”
On being more involved in this game compared to previous ones:
“Yea, I had more crosses and touched the ball with my feet a little more. It’s nicer – to stay in the game and get more action. Mentally you’re more focused and can be off your line. You’re more awake and ready for other plays than when you don’t have as much action.”
On keeping a shutout in close games:
“It’s obviously what we aim to do, get shutouts. I know the goals are coming – we have a lot of confidence in our forwards and attacking players. They’ll come when we need them, really. But shutouts are our goal regardless.”
U.S. U-20 MNT forward PAUL ARRIOLA
On his thoughts on the game:
"It definitely wasn’t easy. I give a lot of credit to Trinidad – they were a good team and they definitely gave us a run for our money. But from the beginning we knew what we had to do. We knew that a tie would get us through, but we wouldn’t’ be through how wanted to be. So we went out with a winning mentality that we had to win. In the second half we were able to put a little more pressure on them and got more chances to score, and we were able to get one.”
On his instructions coming in off the bench:
"The coaches made it clear from the beginning of the game to be ready, to be loose. The way the game kind of ended up being back-and-forth, not how we really wanted it to be. I went out to warm up at halftime. Anytime you’re a substitute you have to go out – no matter how many minutes you get – you have to make the most of it. Today I was able to make the most of it, and get down the line and get an assist which provided the game-winner.”
On how the goal came about and his assist:
“Junior (Flores) had the ball in our own half and he started dribbling. I noticed there were two defenders only, and so I knew I had to make that run since I was kind of fresh, and I knew that out of everyone on the team that I’d be able to get to that. We had a pretty good chemistry in that moment and he was able to leave it off to me. I knew I had wait for the defender to catch up to me a little bit so I could play it backwards. Junior went in front and took the first defender which left BJ (Jamieson) wide open in the middle to tap it to the other side. Anytime I get an assist, it’s like I scored the goal. It’s an amazing feeling, I was celebrating just as much as BJ was.”
On if there’s relief when a goal comes late:
“I think specifically in this game, where it was kind of back and forth, we knew that if we made one mistake and they were able to get a goal and win the game that we would be out completely. So I would say there was a big sigh of relief after the goal. We felt a lot more comfortable.”