PLYMOUTH, England – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell to England’s Under-20s 2-1 Sunday afternoon in front of 11,406 fans at Home Park in Plymouth, England. The matched capped off a week-long camp as the U-20 MNT continues preparation for this summer’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
England built a two-goal lead behind goals from John Swift and Kwame Thomas before U.S. forward Maki Tall scored his first international goal for the USA late in the match that featured the U.S. debuts for defender Desevio Payne, midfielder Ethan Sonis, and Tall.
The game began under a driving rain with neither side threatening for the opening 20 minutes. The U.S. had the first chance when Paul Arriola was able to spring Maki Tall down the right side from near midfield. Tall advanced the ball into the box and let go of a shot toward the near post but was denied by a great save from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 20th minute.
England responded immediately. Captain Matty Grimes ripped a low shot from just inside the box that U.S. goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell stretched out to his left to tip away. Minutes later, Grimes tested Caldwell from about 22 yards, but the U.S. ‘keeper did well to handle the curling, left-footed shot.
Forty-three minutes in, U.S. forwards Rubio Rubin and Bradford Jamieson combined near midfield to get out of pressure, sending Jamieson down the center only to be fouled outside the arc. Rubin took the freekick but could not get it to dip quick enough as it went just over the crossbar.
England took the lead right before the half. Winger Moses Odubajo took a ball down the right side and sent a cross in to the area where an unmarked John Swift collected and shot past Caldwell.
England doubled the lead in the 68th minute on a nice play from the left side as Harry Tofollo linked up with Swift who passed to Kwame Thomas at the top of the six. Thomas re-directed the ball past Caldwell as defenders attempted to block the shot.
The U.S. got one back five minutes later when Rubin beat his man on the left endline near the goal. His cross came back to the top of the six to Joel Sonora who mishit a shot. The ball went to the far post where Maki Tall slid down to shoot past the last defender for his first goal.
The U.S. U-20 MNT will next gather for an Austria-based camp in April that will feature friendlies against Qatar and Croatia.
-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. England U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: March 29, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Home Park; Plymouth, Devon, UK
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. Local)
Weather: 48 degrees; Rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
ENG 1 1 2
ENG – John Swift (Moses Odubajo) 44th minute
ENG – Kwame Thomas (John Swift) 68
USA – Maki Tall (Joel Sonora) 74
USA: 12-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaq Moore, 4- Desevio Payne (14-Conor Donovan, 75), 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 3-John Requejo; 6-Russell Canouse (15-Ethan Sonis, 78), 7-Paul Arriola (17-Joel Sonora, 61), 11-Marky Delgado; 10-Maki Tall (16-Boxi Yomba, 78), 9-Rubio Rubin (capt.; 23-Lynden Gooch, 75), 8-Bradford Jamieson IV (21-Tommy Thompson, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 22-Thomas Olsen, 18-Andrija Novakovic.
Head coach: Tab Ramos
ENG: 13-Jordan Pickford, 4-Dominic Ball, 12-Harry Tofollo, 16-Jack Stephens, 17-Jordan Turnbull; 2-Moses Odubjo (10-Callum Robinson, 70), 7-Matty Grimes (capt.), 15-Harrison Reed, 19-John Swift (14-Jamie Hanson, 89), 20-Alex Mowatt (9-Chuba Akpom, 80), 18-Kwami Thomas
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Christian Walton, 3-Kortney Hause, 5-Dominic Iorfa, 6-Bailey Cargill, 8-Lewis Baker, 9-Chuba Akpom, 11-Jack Barmby.
Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd
Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 6 / 8
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 6 / 6
Offside: 1 / 1
ENG – Jack Stephens (caution) 81st minute
USA – Dembakwi Yomba (caution) 82
Referee: Steve Martin (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Russell (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Antony Coggins (ENG)
Fourth Official: Adam Hopkins (ENG)
ussoccer.com sat down with U.S. Under-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos to discuss the upcoming trip to England and the team’s overall preparation for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer.
On the team’s preparation and schedule leading into the U-20 World Cup:
"Right now we have our entire plan set leading up to the World Cup. We’ve got this trip to England first from March 23-30, which will include a game against England’s U-21s, which will be a good measuring stick for us to see where we are. England always has good players, and to play them there will be a good competitive game for us.
"From there we are going to Austria from April 18-26, which will include a couple games against Qatar and another against Croatia. Those are two different types of teams, but I think are teams that will prepare us well for the World Cup. They are both high caliber teams, and I think they’re both gearing up as well.
"And then after that we head out to Australia in the middle of May for training in advance of going to New Zealand. So we have a pretty busy schedule.”
On his goals for the camps in England and Austria:
“Now that we’ve qualified to the World Cup, I obviously have a good gauge in terms of where our players are, and how most players respond because we had them in a very tough competition, in difficult fields, in must-win games. But also, it’s an opportunity to bring in one or two new players over the next couple months and see who’s doing well in their league.
"Desevio Payne has been doing well in Holland. He’s a player we’ve never seen before. He’s a starter now for Groningen in the first division. He’s going to be a new player on this roster. So as players pop up over the next couple months, we have to take a look because who is in good form is going to be really important for us.”
- Feature: Building the U.S. MNT Pyramid
On if other new players apart from Desevio Payne may be brought in to the upcoming camps:
“There are some potential names that I’ve been following, but I would rather not give names because at this point they’re just prospects. I like following new guys because it keeps the group fresh and it keeps everybody on their toes. I’m excited about bringing Desevio along and seeing how he can do. I know he’s excited to come.”
On the status of midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Emerson Hyndman who were injured in Jamaica:
“Kellyn is not ready to come with us yet. He’s been running and starting to practice, but he’s not ready for us yet. Emerson is ready to come which is great, especially since he’s in England.”
On keeping track of everyone in the player pool:
“There are always challenges for us at the U-20 level in terms of keeping up with players because not all of them play on a consistent basis. It’s easy sometimes when all players are playing in a first division and you can track them on weekends and see how many minutes they played and see their highlights. When you have our players, and most of them do not play on their club's first team, you have to find them playing on second teams, reserve teams or under-20 teams, so it’s a little bit more difficult. But, I've been doing this now for quite a few years so I've figured out a way to keep track of the guys.”
On if there are differences in selecting a roster for the CONCACAF Championships compared to the FIFA U-20 World Cup:
“There are some differences in terms of picking the team, because for the World Cup you know that all of the players will be available. For qualifying, you have to build a team that you know 100 percent is going to be available because you can’t take a chance on preparing a team for months and then not being able to count on a player at the last minute. I thought as a staff we did a good job with that. It was a nice surprise for us to get Emerson Hyndman to come with us, which we didn’t expect. So if you get a surprise like that, that’s a good thing. You want to be surprised in a good way and not a bad way. So if anything, we went with a player that made a big difference for us that we didn’t expect; that made us even better. Going into the World Cup we expect everyone to be there, and so our preparation will gear towards that.”
On getting the players early in advance of the World Cup:
“With player releases, it depends on how much the club can allow their player to come on board with us for some of the preparation. As we know, we never have them for too long, so basically we’ll be going to the World Cup maybe with seven to ten days of having a full team together, which will be difficult. But overall we have a good relationship with the clubs and work with them to figure out the best situation.”
On his conversations with U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann about what players will be available for the U-20 World Cup:
“The plan is to mix and match players for the upcoming camps, but we do know that going into the summer, the U-20 World Cup becomes a priority. So going into June, the U-20 eligible players – even if they were to be called to the senior team – Jurgen has assured me that the U-20 World Cup is a priority until that’s over. From then on we’ll be moving players to the 23s and to the senior team.”
March 2015 is the curtain raiser on a busy cycle for the men’s side of the U.S. National Team program.
And USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will use the March friendlies at Denmark and Switzerland as prep for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, while also wearing his other hat as Technical Director as he helps oversee a busy time for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 MNT sides that will hold simultaneous European camps at the end of the month.
Beginning preparations for CONCACAF Olympic qualification in October, USMNT assistant coach Andi Herzog convenes his first camp in charge of the U-23 side ahead of games at Bosnia-Herzegovina (March 27) and Denmark (March 31). Meanwhile, having recently qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, U-20 head coach Tab Ramos will bring his team to England for a pair of matches against the England U-21s and Tottenham Hotspur U-21s.
“For the youngsters to look towards the U-20 World Cup is huge,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “For the U-23s, we have to get them going in order to prepare for the qualifiers later this year towards the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Andi Herzog has his hands full with that group. For me and the Senior Team perspective, I’m looking at all these youngsters and thinking who can come through these periods and develop the fastest possible in order to make himself a strong competitor for the senior group. So this is a great time now, and we can’t wait to get these games going at the end of the month.”
BREAKING DOWN THE ROSTERS
The balance has a telling diversity among the 62 players that have been summoned.
With all three camps taking place at the same time, the understanding between the three coaches, all of whom worked together at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has been key as Klinsmann has continued to develop a structure that works not only for the senior team but helps develop players that will one day play for it.
“In terms of style of play, it’s the same approach that Jurgen has and what Tab Ramos has done with the U-20s,” Herzog said in regards to coaching the U-23s. “We all work together with the senior team. For this group, I want to have a team where there are a lot of variations. We want to be attack-minded, keep possession, and have the whole team proactively working to win the ball back as soon as possible.”
- Q&A: Klinsmann Breaks Down Thinking Behind Current MNT Squad
- Q&A: Herzog Laying Foundation for U-23 Olympic Qualifying
- Q&A: Ramos and U-20 MNT Ramp Up Prep for 2015 U-20 World Cup
Though just beginning the U-23 cycle, with the previous team missing out on qualification for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Herzog said the task of getting the team to Rio next year begins with his new side understanding the playing philosophy being handed down this initial camp.
“It’s a big goal, and I think it will be really important to start from the first session to get the players into this philosophy.”
Beyond ensuring a similar playing style, the understanding has perhaps been most important when figuring out how to balance three different rosters with players that could go between two different teams.
“It’s all very clear,” Ramos told ussoccer.com. “Jurgen and I have had a conversation to make sure that we put all things in the right places as we’re moving forward. Obviously having three National Teams go to camp at the same time is not easy. We don’t all get the players we need at times, and it’s not easy on the clubs because MLS doesn’t stop for the FIFA dates and we’re at times asking for a bunch of players from the same team. We try not to deplete any one club at one time so the conversations between Jurgen, Andi and me as he passes down the information have to be very clear. We’ve done that, we’re all on the same page and I think it’s going to go smoothly.”
A past member of U.S. U-17 and U-20 World Championship squads as well as the 2008 Olympic team, U.S. senior international Jozy Altidore spoke to the value of these experiences for players who are beginning to develop international careers.
“It’s great to be involved at these levels because you get exposed to different types of teams,” said Altidore. “You see early how competitive it is, and how good the up and coming players are. Even getting used to things like travel is valuable. Dealing with all the elements of being an international player helps you get used to it and it becomes less of an issue as you progress, because it doesn’t get any easier. All these things prepare you for what’s to come.”
Altidore joins Beijing 2008 teammates Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco for USMNT camp this month, while another six of the senior players called in have represented the U.S. at various youth World Cups or in qualifying.
“These are important experiences,” continued Altidore. “A lot of the things you see at that level can prepare you for when you make the jump to the senior team, so these guys should take it seriously and get the most of out of it.”
CHICAGO (March 22, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named the roster for the USA’s first foreign training camp of the year from March 23-30 in England.
Twenty players are headed to the camp, which will include a closed door match against Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-21 team on Friday, March 27 in London, followed by a matchup against England’s Under-21 Men’s National Team on Sunday, March 29 at 11 a.m. ET at Home Park in Plymouth. Admission to the game on Sunday is open to the public. Neither game will be streamed or televised.
This will be the U-20’s first training camp of the year as the team continues its preparation for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, taking place this summer in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.
“Right now we have our entire plan set leading up to the World Cup,” said U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos. “We’ve got this trip to England first from March 23-30, which will include a game against England’s U-21s which will be a good measuring stick for us to see where we are. England always has good players, and to play them there will be a good competitive game for us.”
Midfielder Russell Canouse is the most capped player of the group with 14 appearances during his U-20 career; John Requejo and Tommy Thompson follow close behind with 13 apiece.
Four USA players making the trip overseas play on English clubs, including midfielders Emerson Hyndman (Fulham) and Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), forward Andrija Novakovich (Reading FC) and defender Cameron Carters-Vickers (Tottenham).
Five players represent clubs in Major League Soccer: defenders Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC) and Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), midfielder Marco Delgado (Toronto FC), and forwards Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy) and Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes).
Following the trip to England, the USA will travel to Austria for a second foreign camp running from April 18-26, that will feature games against Qatar’s and Croatia’s U-20 sides.
The USA was drawn into Group A of the U-20 World Cup alongside host New Zealand, Ukraine and first-time participant Myanmar. The U.S. opens the tournament May 30 against Myanmar, continues play on June 2 against New Zealand, and wraps up the group stage against Ukraine on June 5.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego; Las Vegas, Nev.)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Ethan Sonis (SC Freiburg; Coral Springs, Fla.), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina).
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Andrija Novakovich (Reading; Muskego, Wis.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.), Dembakwi Yomba (Atlético Madrid; Lithonia, Ga.).
CHICAGO (March 20, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will play a pair of friendlies during its second foreign training camp of the year in Austria, as it continues the road to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The camp will run from April 18-26 and will include a matchup against fellow World Cup participant Qatar on April 21, and a game against Croatia on April 25. Both games will be played in Linz, where the U-20’s will be holding camp.
Roster details will be announced at a later date.
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