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U-20 MNT Begins New Cycle at Stevan Vilotic Tournament in Serbia

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named a 23-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament in Serbia.

The group will begin training on Aug. 30 in Subotica and begin tournament play against Serbia on Sept. 3, before traveling to Senta for a match against France on Sept. 4. The team will conclude the tournament with a placement match on Sept. 7.

“We’re giving a bunch of players an opportunity here to make an impression in the beginning, and I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017,” Ramos said. “We’re taking 23 players in this camp, and the main reason for that is that we have back-to-back games. We play Serbia on Sept. 3 and we play France on Sept. 4, so those will be two completely different lineups and everybody will be able to get on the field and show themselves and show themselves against excellent competition.”

The Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament is the first test of a new U-20 cycle for the U.S. All 23 players from this group were born in 1997, although Erik Palmer-Brown has experience in this age group as he was a part of the 2015 U-20 MNT World Cup team. Thirteen other players participated in MNT camps with the U-18 team earlier this year.

Fourteen players from this roster represent clubs in Major League soccer, while five play in college, and the English Premier League, Bundesliga and USL each have single representatives on the squad. 22 players are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Monarchs; Las Cruces, N.M.), Justin Vom Steeg (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Nicholas Hinds (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Andrew Lombard (Northeastern; Montclair, N.J.), Christian Onalfo (LA Galaxy; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Pablo Pelaez (Seattle Sounders FC; San Diego, Calif.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.),
MIDFIELDERS (8): Amir Bashti (Stanford; Cupertino, Calif.), Collin Fernandez ( Chicago Fire, Downers Grove, Ill.), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Abuchi Obinwa (Hannover 96; Orlando, Fla.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG; Libertyville, Ill.), Martin Salas (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew SC; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders FC; Des Moines, Wash.), Nebojsa Popovic (Saint Louis FC; Loznica, Serbia), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.)

Tab Ramos Q&A: “I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017.”

ussoccer.com: With this being the first camp of a new cycle, how did you go about selecting this roster?
Tab Ramos: “With all of our youth national teams we’re pretty much integrated, so we’re familiar with the players that we all get coming up, so in this case I’m familiar with this particular group. I think in this camp I’m giving an opportunity to the full depth chart that [U-18 MNT head coach] Javier Perez passed along. This is something that would get done throughout the cycle anyway, so we’re giving a bunch of players an opportunity here to make an impression in the beginning, and I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017.”

ussoccer.com: What is the goal for the team in this tournament?
TR: “The goal at this point is to see the competitiveness of the players. I can consider the last couple of cycles and start comparing what the players in those cycles were like in comparison to these. We can also start to make decisions about the quality and development of some of the players that we have. We’re taking 23 players in this camp, and the main reason for that is that we have back-to-back games. We play Serbia on Sept. 3 and we play France on Sept. 4, so those will be two completely different lineups and everybody will be able to get on the field and show themselves and show themselves against excellent competition. I’m very excited about that and about giving these players an opportunity.”

ussoccer.com: What was attractive about playing this first tournament in Europe against teams like France and Serbia?
TR: “The thing about the European players at this particular age is that already when they’re turning 18, and they’re all turning 18 this year just like our guys, most of them are already on a pretty good professional path. Our guys can see the example of the professionalism of the European teams and how they handle themselves and how hard they play on every single play and in every opportunity that the ball is near them.”

It’s a great opportunity for us. I know that Javier has done a great job with this group when he had them with the U-18’s, so they’ve already had two years of very good competition and now we need to build on that in this age group because inevitably when you move up it gets harder and harder.”

ussoccer.com: Erik Palmer-Brown was with the U-20’s this summer in the World Cup. How will his experience change his role now that he’s back?
TR: “Erik is a great player and he’s one with a lot of potential moving forward and one whose role is definitely going to change in this group compared to his role in the last one. He needs to not only be a good player and help the team, but now he needs to put the team on his shoulders a little bit and his responsibility is a lot bigger. I think it’s a great opportunity for him, and I’m looking forward to seeing him flourish over the next few years and also seeing how he responds to the added responsibility, because it’s definitely not easy.”


Quote Sheet: Ramos, Rubin, Arriola, Steffen and Hyndman On U-20 World Cup Run

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Quote Sheet
USA 0, SRB 0; Serbia wins 6-5 on penalty kicks
June 14, 2015
U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS

On the match:
“It was a very good game. Serbia is one of those teams that is very disciplined, in particular defensively but also when they attack. I thought we countered them very well; I thought we were very well prepared for them. Unfortunately it was a game that could have gone either way and in penalties anything can happen. I’m just very happy for our players for how well they did, proud of how hard they played and know that we were that close in getting to a World Cup semifinals.

On having the game decided on penalty kicks:
“It’s always very difficult. Penalties is a very tough way to lose. But somebody had to win the game. Both teams defended pretty well throughout the game and I think it was two good teams playing a quarterfinal game. Somebody had to go through, and unfortunately it wasn’t us, but I’m very proud of the team.”

On how a tournament like this can help in the development of the players:
“You can take a lot, because at the end of the day the U-20 team is for development. And so hopefully they gained some great experience for the future and something that will be valuable for them on the senior team down the road.”

On his message to the team:
“I think the important thing is for them to keep their head up. They played great throughout the World Cup. We were very competitive with every team and we could have won every game. I’m very happy for them and the work they did, and hopefully this is a good experience for them down the road when they have to play the games that really count for World Cup Qualifying for the senior team.”

[FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE]

On the match:
"It was a hard fought game. We obviously knew that Serbia is a very tactical team, they really know what they’re playing. They’re very patient and they wait for their opportunity. They did a great job. I thought we countered them really well. I thought we were very prepared for their game and we gave ourselves quite a few opportunities to win the game. So from our end, I’m satisfied considering we had a short roster – we really had some players out that were important for us. So I thought the boys did really well. They fought really hard, they stuck to the game plan and we gave them very few opportunities, so that was good from our end. And from their end, they played the game they’ve been playing all along. This is a well-coached team and they did a great job. I think they have as great an opportunity as anyone to win the tournament.”

On the penalty shootout:
“In the end, we have to remember that senior players miss penalties all the time. And so when you go to penalties all you can do is pick the guys who feel confident, who are happy to step up and take a penalty and that’s what we did. In the end, some guys missed, it happens. It happens at the higher levels than this level. Again, I’m very happy with my players and I know they showed a lot of courage. From our end, we’re satisfied. I think we could have done a little bit more, but in the end we’re happy.”

On how difficult it was to break down Serbia’s defense:
“Very difficult. One of the things we talked about coming into the match was that they are very organized defensively. And if you don’t counter them right away, if you don’t hit forward passes immediately after you recover, they get into very good shape in the back and then they make it very difficult to get shots; we knew that coming into the game. I thought we did very well in particular in the first 15-20 minutes of the game when we came out pressing high we seemed to get more control of the game. But then as the game wore on and the game opened up a little bit, I thought Serbia was very disciplined in maintaining their defense. They’re a very tough team, they’re very organized, and like I said before, well coached.”

U.S. U-20 MNT forward RUBIO RUBIN

On the tournament ending the way it did for the U.S.:
"It sucks. To lose that way after we tied them 0-0; we had opportunities to take over the game and win it, but at the end of the day we lost. We lost on PKs. It was a great team effort.

“Now we move on and we just have to keep our heads up. We’re going to have moments like these in our careers. This is one of our setbacks and it’s the way you react to it. I think everyone came into this tournament with a positive mentality to try to win the tournament, and unfortunately we couldn’t. It was a great run, a great team effort.”

On being part of the World Cup team:
“It was a great experience, from the beginning of the tournament through the group stage, beating Colombia and playing in the quarterfinals against Serbia. It was a tough battle going into overtime and even PK’s. You feel the pressure, you feel the nerves and everything. That’s all experience for us. We’re all 19-20 years old. This is just the beginning to setbacks and great moments in our careers. We’re going to have moments like the Colombia game where we’re very happy, and now a disappointment in the quarterfinals with a tough loss. It’s how you learn from this. We have to stay positive. Right now it sucks, every one has their head down. But tomorrow is a different day and we just have to stay positive and use this experience to help us down the road.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder PAUL ARRIOLA

On his thoughts on the match:
“I thought it was a very back and forth game. Serbia is a very good team – they kept the ball, they were physical. And we were the same. We each had a few opportunities and in the end neither team was able to put one away. And unfortunately we had to go to penalty kicks and obviously there has to be a winner.”

On advancing to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup:
"For all of us, from an experience standpoint, it was amazing. To be able to play in a U-20 World Cup, make it all the way to the quarterfinals and go to PKs. Obviously it’s unfortunate to lose like that but there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

On what he can learn from a tournament like this:
“I think I learned a lot about myself in this tournament, especially going from not playing in the first game. I learned to really take my opportunity. Also when a group comes together like this, towards the end you realize what the group had. I look at ourselves and I see us as more than a team, I see us as brothers. I see all of us at the end of the game crying because of how bad we wanted it, not only for ourselves but for everyone else around us, everyone back home watching and supporting us, and people who flew here to support us. So for us to be able to form a brotherhood like we did to get this far in the World Cup was amazing.”

U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN

On the way the match ended:
"I’m very proud of how the guys fought for the whole 120 minutes. They left it all on the field and I couldn’t be more proud of that. It wasn’t the way we intended to go out, we wanted to keep this run going and get to the semis, but that’s soccer.”

On his standout play in the tournament:
“I try to stay grounded. My mom and whole family has always taught us to be humble and to stay grounded, so I don’t think of my play in that way. I want to keep improving and to stay focused. I’m going to go home for a couple weeks and then get back to Freiberg and continue working hard there.”

One what he can take away from playing in the U-20 World Cup:
“You learn a lot. You learn from your teammates and yourself when you’re with a group for so long with everyone focused on the same goals. You learn a lot about soccer with the great coaching. And you learn a lot about what you can continue improving on from the opponents you face and the games.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder EMERSON HYNDMAN

On the match:
"It was a tough game I think for both teams. We really put everything out there and so did they. It went all the way to 120 minutes when it looked like either of us could have broke through at some point in the game. Then it went down to penalties and anything can happen there.”

On what he got out of his leadership role as captain of the team:
“It was nice to be the captain of a World Cup team. Any time you can help a group, especially your teammates that you hang around with all the team, in a game is always a joy. And this is such a great group, they’re all leaders anyway. All I had to do was help out a little bit and represent us.”

On what he can take away from the tournament for his future:
“This was the first for a lot of us. Qualifying, we thought was long at the time. But to really prepare mentally for each and every game in a World Cup is much different. It’s obviously much more competitive in terms of every team in the World Cup qualified from different regions, and they each have different styles. So I think this experience in preparing for and playing these different opponents will help all of us in the long run.”

On how he looks back at the tournament:
“It was awesome. It was a great month. To play in a World Cup, and in New Zealand, a place I didn’t know I’d ever visit. And to share these moments and experiences with a great group of guys and coaching staff and all the staff behind the scenes – It was a joy.”

Valiant U-20 MNT Effort Comes Up Short in PK Loss to Serbia

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (June 14, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team saw its run in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup come to an end at North Harbour Stadium after falling in penalty kicks to Serbia. The game went scoreless through regulation and extra time, but Serbia ultimately prevailed with a 6-5 shootout victory to advance to the semifinals.

Stout defensive performances from both sides limited scoring opportunities to a premium and the result was a 0-0 game when the whistle blew to signal the end of regulation. In extra time, play opened up, but valiant efforts from USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Serbian goalie Predrag Rajkovic held the 0-0 score line through the additional 30 minutes.

After a back and forth affair, where both the U.S. and Serbia survived must-make and must-save scenarios, it was Nemanja Maksimovic who sent a rocket of a PK into the upper left corner to propel Serbia on to the next round of the tournament.

The semifinal round will be played on Wednesday, June 17, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, where Serbia faces Mali and Brazil takes on Senegal.  

Goal Scoring Rundown:
None

Penalty Kick Summary:
USA: Rubio Rubin stepped up first for the U.S. and had his shot saved by Predrag Rajkovic. Desevio Payne sent a rocket into the left side on the USA’s next attempt to level 1-1. Paul Arriola punched in the third attempt by smashing in a shot to the left of the goalie. The captain, Emerson Hyndman ripped in attempt No. 4 to put the U.S. up 3-2. Gedion Zelalem sent in his PK into the right side for the fourth-straight score for the USA. Joel Soñora went for the upper right corner on U.S. attempt No. 5 but hit his shot off the post. Marko Delgado rolled in the next attempt to put the U.S. up 5-4. Cameron Carter-Vickers then sent his shot over the bar, and in the final round, John Requejo’s attempt was saved by Rajkovic.
SRB: Sasa Zdjelar followed the Rubin miss by blasting his PK into the top right to put Serbia up 1-0. Stanisa Mandic missed the target completely on the Serbians’ second attempt, which kept the score level at 1-1. Steffen guessed right on Srdan Babic’s attempt, Serbia’s third, but it rolled under him to level at 2-2. Marko Grujic hit in the fourth attempt to tie it 3-3. Andrija Zivkovic scored the must-make fifth attempt to keep Serbia alive. Predag Rajkovic called his own number for Serbia’s sixth attempt, which could’ve been the game-winner, but Steffen made a diving save to preserve U.S. hopes. Nemanja Antonov converted the next Serbia penalty to level 5-5. On Serbia’s next PK Steffen came up big again to keep the U.S. alive when he saved Milos Veljkovic’s shot. Nemanja Maksimovic sent a rocket into the upper left corner and out of Steffen’s reach to win the game for Serbia 6-5.

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Zack Steffen, 38th minute: Serbia’s Nemanja Antonov received a pass at the top of the box and decided to promptly rip a shot from 20 yards out. The left footed strike spun and rose from right to left and Steffen jumped and bumped it over the bar.

USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers, 54th minute: Good movement off the ball from Serbia led the team into a dangerous area in the penalty box. Serbia attempted a cross in front of goal, but Cameron Carter-Vickers stepped in just in time and cleared it far and away to safety.

USA – Zack Steffen, 68th minute: A foul set up Serbia with a free kick from 24 yards out, a range that they had buried from earlier in the tournament. Gacinovic’s strike was low and hard and bent toward the lower left corner of goal. Steffen dove and just reached the ball, knocking it out of bounds and preserving the clean sheet.

USA – Zack Steffen 82rd minute: Serbia once again attacked from the left and Stanisa Mandic freed himself up for a shot from the left. He sent a rocket of a shot across the mouth of the goal and towards the upper right corner, but Steffen made a diving save away where it was picked up by a U.S. defender

USA-Zack Steffen Penalty Kick Shootout: On two separate occasions where a Serbia goal would have ended the game, Steffen came up big, both times diving to his right and saving to keep U.S. hopes alive.

Additional Notes:

  • This was the fifth time in 14 U-20 World Cup/Youth Championship appearances that the USA advanced to the quarterfinals. The team is now 1-3-1 all-time in quarterfinal matches.
  • Tommy Thompson and John Requejo made their first starts of the tournament.
  • Zack Steffen, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Marko Delgado and Emerson Hyndman were the only U.S. players to start every game of the tournament.
  • After injuries and suspensions, only four U.S. field players were available for substitution in the game: Erik Palmer Brown, Shaq Moore, Conor Donovan and Joel Soñora.
  • The match was the first meeting between the USA and Serbia at a U-20 World Cup.
  • Since 1997 the U.S. has reached the quarterfinal three times and all three matches have required extra time.
  • The clean sheet was the second straight for the USA. Prior to this tournament, the USA last recorded a clean sheet in a U-20 World Cup knockout round match in 2003 when the U.S. downed Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Round of 16. Tonight's shutout is the third all-time for the U.S. U-20 MNT in knockout round play at a FIFA U-20 World Youth Championship/World Cup.
  • In addition to his two penalty kick saves tonight, Steffen also made a penalty kick save in the Round of 16 game against Colombia.
  • The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. That year the USA fell to Nigeria in overtime in the Semifinal before losing to Brazil, 2-0, in the Third/Fourth Place match.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Serbia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: June 14, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand; Quarterfinals
Venue: North Harbour Stadium; Auckland, New Zealand
Kickoff: 12:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 10,826
Weather: 56 degrees, wind and rain

Scoring Summary:   1          2          ET1     ET2     F
USA    0          0          0          0          0
SRB      0          0          0          0          0

Penalty Kick Summary:
USA – Rubio Rubín (saved), Desevio Payne (goal), Paul Arriola (goal), Emerson Hyndman (goal), Gedion Zelalem (goal), Joel Soñora (missed), Marco Delgado (goal), Cameron Carter-Vickers (missed), John Requejo (saved)

SRB - Sasa Zdjelar (goal), Stanisa Mandic (missed), Srdan Babic (goal), Marko Grujic (goal), Andrija Zivkovic (goal), Predag Rajkovic (saved), Nemanja Antonov (goal), Milos Veljkovic (saved), Nemanja Maksimovic (goal)

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 17-Desavio Payne, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga 3-John Requejo; 15-Marky Delgado, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 19-Gedion Zelalem, 7-Paul Arriola; 13-Tommy Thompson (10-Joel Soñora, 103), 9-Rubio Rubin
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Thomas Olsen, 21-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaquell Moore, 11-Bradford Jamieson IV, 16-Conor Donovan, 18-Erik Palmer-Brown
Head coach: Tab Ramos

SRB: 1-Predag Rajkovic (capt.); 3-Nemanja Antonov, 4-Sasa Zdjelar, 5-Milos Veljkovic, 6-Srdan Babic; 8-Nemanja Maksimovic, 9-Stanisa Mandic, 10-Mijat Gacinovic (7-Ivan Saponic, 68), 11-Andrija Zivkovic; 15-Miladin Stevanovic, 20-Sergej Milinkovic (16-Marko Grujic, 111)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Filip Manojlovic, 21-Vanja Milinkovic, 13-Stefan Milosevic, 14-Vukasin Jovanovic, 17-Radovan Pankov, 18-Jankovic, 19-Stefan Ilic.
Head coach: Veljko Paunovic (SRB)

Stats Summary: USA / SRB
Shots: 8 / 19
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 7
Fouls: 22 / 27
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
SRB – Nemanja Antonov (caution)    64th minute
USA – John Requejo (caution)           66
SRB – Stanisa Mandic  (caution)       78

Officials:
Referee: Artur Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Barbosa (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Alvaro Daniel Carvalho Mesquita (POR)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Marques (BRA)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

U-20 MNT Ready for Quarterfinal with Serbia

U.S. U-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos and players preview the match against Serbia in the quarterfinals of the 2015 U-20 FIFA World Cup.

U-20 MNT Faces Quarterfinal Showdown against Serbia

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will meet Serbia in the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday, June 14, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. The match will be broadcast live in the U.S. on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, Telemundo and NBC Universo with kickoff set for 12:30 a.m. ET (9:30 p.m. PT on June 13). Fans can also follow the match live on twitter at @usscocer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

The USA advanced to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Colombia in the Round of 16. Serbia defeated Ukraine in extra time 2-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The winner the USA-Serbia match will play the winner between Germany and Mali in the semifinals. The other side of the bracket sees Brazil meet Portugal and Senegal confront Uzbekistan. All four quarterfinal matches take place on June 14 in four New Zealand cities.

USA TEAM NOTES:

  • Rubio Rubin and Emerson Hyndman, the two players who have earned caps with the senior National Team, lead the U-20 MNT at the World Cup with two goals apiece. Maki Tall, Bradford Jamieson and Paul Arriola have also scored in the tournament.
  • Zach Steffen, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Hyndman, Marky Delgado and Kelly Acosta have started all four matches, with Steffen and Carter-Vickers playing every minute.
  • All 18 field players saw minutes through the first three group games.

DISCIPLINARY REPORT:

  • Acosta and Jordan Allen are suspended for the quarterfinal match after receiving two cautions in the first four games.
  • Shaq Moore, Desevio Payne, Delgado, Matt Miazga and Paul Arriola all carry one caution into the quarterfinal match. Should they receive a caution in the quarterfinal, and the USA wins, they would be ineligible for the semifinal match. Cautions are cleared following the quarterfinals.

U-20 MNT HISTORY AT THE WORLD CUP:

  • This is the fifth time in 14 U-20 World Cup/Youth Championship appearances that the USA has advanced to the quarterfinals. The team is 1-3-0 all-time in quarterfinal matches.
  • The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. That year the USA fell to Nigeria in overtime in the Semifinal before losing to Brazil, 2-0, in the Third/Fourth Place match.
  • The 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia featured 16 teams divided into four groups, with the top two teams after group play advancing to the quarterfinals. The USA finished second in Group C after tying Mali 1-1, defeating Germany 2-0, and losing to Brazil 3-1. In the quarterfinal match, the USA defeated Iraq 2-1 behind goals from Chris Henderson and Dario Brose.

1989 U-20 MNT World Cup team
The 1989 U.S. U-20 MNT featured the talents of players like Kasey Keller (back row center), Troy Dayak (front row, second from right) and Steve Snow (front row, second from left).

  • The 1993 tournament in Australia utilized the same format and number of teams. The USA finished second in Group C after defeating Turkey 6-0, losing to England 1-0, and drawing South Korea 2-2. The USA was matched with Brazil in the Quarterfinal where they fell 3-0.
  • The 2003 U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates was the fourth tournament in which 24 teams participated, with the top two from each group plus the top four third place finishers advancing to the Round of 16. The USA won Group F with a 3-1 victory against Paraguay, a 3-1 loss to Germany, and a 2-0 win over South Korea and then defeated Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinal, the USA lost to Argentina on a golden goal in extra time. Bobby Convey put the USA ahead in the 59th minute, but Argentina’s Javier Mascherano tied the match four minutes into second half stoppage time. In overtime, Fernando Cavenaghi converted a 100th minute penalty kick to win the match for Argentina.
  • The last time the USA advanced to the quarterfinals was in 2007 in Canada. The USA won Group D after tying South Korea 1-1, defeating Poland 6-1, and beating Brazil 2-1. In the Round of 16, the USA defeated Uruguay 2-1 in extra time. Trailing 1-0 on a goal by Luis Suarez, the USA received an 87th minute own goal to tie, and Michael Bradley scored the game-winner in the 107th minute. In the quarterfinal against Austria, Jozy Altidore put the USA ahead in the 15th, but Austria tied the match just before the half and won it on a 105th minute goal by Erwin Hoffer.

THE BOOK ON SERBIA:

  • From FIFA.com: Serbia is making its U-20 World Cup debut as an independent nation at New Zealand 2015. The former Yugoslavia (of which Serbia was one a part) appeared twice in the competition: Japan 1979 and Chile 1987, winning the title on the second occasion.
  • Serbia went undefeated in the 2014 UEFA Europe’s U-19 Championship through all three stages, posting 6 wins and four draws. Upon finishing second in the final group stage with a win against Bulgaria and draws against fellow U-20 World Cup participants, Germany and Ukraine, the Serbs fell to 2015 U-20 World Cup quarterfinalists Portugal in the UEFA Championship semifinals on penalty kicks after a scoreless match.
  • At the 2015 U-20 World Cup, Serbia won Group D with six points (2-1-0). After losing the opener to Uruguay 1-0, Serbia defeated Mali and Mexico by the same 2-0 score. In the Round of 16, Serbia defeated Hungary 2-1 after extra time due to a Hungary own goal.
  • Serbia head coach Veljko Paunovic ended his 18-year career with the Philadelphia Union in 2012. He made 17 regular season and one playoff appearance for the Union in 2011, scoring three goals.

Quote Sheet: Ramos, Miazga, Rubin, Arriola and Steffen Celebrate Round of 16 Win

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Quote Sheet
USA 1, COL 0
June 10, 2015

U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS

On the win and advancing to the Quarterfinals:
“Very excited about the win. It’s really difficult to win games at this stage in the World Cup. I’m very happy for the players because they deserve it, They’ve put in a great effort so far. But we felt like today was the start of the tournament for us, so I feel like we’re not done. We have a game coming up and we’re looking forward to the next one and getting through to the next round.”

On how the match played out:
“We came into the game trying to press them high and try to get turnovers on their side of the field, which we did pretty well for the first 15-20 minutes. The last 15 minutes of the first half, were, I thought, poor on our side because we weren’t able to hold on to possession of the ball. But I felt that in the second half the team really turned it around. We got the goal and then for about the next 20 minutes we had a good opportunity to put the game away. We had a lot of one-on-ones in the back that we didn’t take advantage of. And obviously the last ten minutes of the game, like all great teams, we knew Colombia was going to throw everything forward and they did, and I’m really proud of the guys and the effort they made to hold on to the win.”

On Rubio Rubin’s hard work and goal:
“I wish I could tell you I was impressed by Rubio tonight, but I’m really not because I know he’s that kind of player. I said to him before, coming into the game tonight, that he needs to be one of those number 9’s that people talk about when this tournament’s over. And I think today he took a big step towards that.”

On what impressed him most of the match:
"I think that in the second half we started getting a hold of the ball. I like the way that Gedion (Zelalem) started feeling more confident with the team. Obviously, as you know, he hasn’t been with us for a long time and I think he’s starting to feel more confident and I think the rest of the team is starting to feel more confident with him. The same goes for the rest of the group. I’m very happy with the performance, in particular in the last ten minutes under very difficult circumstances; we held our own pretty well. All these games are very difficult, so I’m very proud of the team and I think more importantly that this is a great experience for them that they’ll take on hopefully to the senior team.”

On Zack Steffen making a big penalty kick save similar to the WCQ match vs. El Salvador:
“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I thought he was going to save it. And I thought the same against El Salvador. We have that type of confidence in our goalkeeper, and I thought that he would come up big – he always does, and it’s kind of expected at this point. So I’m very happy for him. Obviously it’s very difficult to save a penalty and he did it.”

On if he has any complaints on the second yellow card to Kellyn Acosta:
“No, I’m too far away from the play, and I haven’t seen any replays. It is what it is. Kellyn already had a yellow card coming in to this game. He received a yellow card in the first half of this game so he would have been out the next game regardless.”

On what he told the team at halftime after it seemed Colombia had better possession in the first half:
“That’s a good point, because that’s something that we thought we were lacking. We’re a team that likes to have the ball, and one of the things we said to the players at halftime was to play with more confidence, to play into traffic and to play the ball into the middle of the field and to our good players who can hold it. And I think we did a much better job in the second half. Once we did that the game opened up for us and it became a little bit easier.”

On the injury to Bradford Jamieson (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):
“At this time, I don’t have more information. I know he’s doing ok; he’s in the hospital with his mom. They are still evaluating him to see exactly what happened. But in general he is well, he is stable, and he’s with his mom, so that’s good.”

U.S. U-20 MNT defender MATT MIAZGA

On what the defense did to record the shutout:
"I feel like the whole game we were pretty organized. We had two blocks of four, and I think everyone on the field died for each other tonight. We emptied our tanks and we were organized and we fought for every ball.”

On Zack Steffen’s penalty kick save:
“At that moment I was a little bit shocked that we gave up the PK. But I had a gut feeling that Zack would save it – I had a quick flash back to the El Salvador game where Zack made a huge save as well. And Zack did the job and we were there to clear it. We finished the game strong, got the shutout and most important got the big victory.”

U.S. U-20 MNT forward RUBIO RUBIN

On his high work-rate in the match:
"My role today was to make the center backs’ job very complicated. Whenever the ball would come to me, I would try to push them off and get the ball and be able to have the whole team go forward. They were attacking a lot so I wanted to be able to hold the ball a lot so my teammates could get forward. And I think for the defenders, they weren’t able to mark me as they wanted to. But it was a good performance from the whole team and a fantastic win.”

On his goal:
“The ball landed right to Paul Arriola and he shot it. I was kind of jumping for the handball to the ref and the ball landed right at my feet. I just tried to do my best to get under it, wished for the best and smashed it into the goal. So, happy with the goal but it was a fantastic win.”

On Zack Steffens’ save:
“There was a lot of nerves. I was on the ground, pretty much, praying a little bit for Zack to save it, and he came up clutch for us. He had a great game, and for me he was the Man of the Match. He helped us get this win.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder PAUL ARRIOLA

On what was the key to the win:
"The hard work and dedication, not only myself but everyone else. We died for each other on the field. We saved each other; when someone was down, we helped them up. When someone was out of position we got into position. I think that’s the way our team is built. Not only are we good with the ball and can keep the ball at times. There’s going to be times when other teams are better than us or having a better game than us, and so today we just showed the hard work and dedication and we stayed in it.”

U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN

On the play of the defense in front to help get the shutout:
"I thought the whole backline, the midfield, they were all very connected. The communication out there tonight was a lot better than it has been in the past. And I thought Matt (Miazga) and Cam (Carter-Vickers) did block a lot of shots. That was great for the team to be able to step up and make the big plays.”

On his penalty kick save:
“It’s always nice to make the big plays for your team. They’re doing most of the work the whole game, so when a big opportunity comes to me like that, you welcome it and just try to stay focused and hope that you can make the big play. Luckily I did tonight.”

USA Off to U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals After 1-0 Defeat of Colombia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (June 10, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team took down Colombia 1-0, in the Round of 16 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007.

After a scoreless first half, Colombia applied heavy pressure to begin the final 45 minutes. Midway through the period however, the U.S. found its footing and was rewarded when forward Rubio Rubin collected a missed clearance from Colombia inside the box to net the game-winning goal of the match.

The goal was Rubin’s second of the tournament. He also scored during the USA’s 4-0 victory over New Zealand in the USA’s second group game.

Late in the second half, defender Kellyn Acosta was called for a foul inside the U.S. box, earning him his second yellow card of the match and giving Colombia an opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot. With the USA down to 10 men, Jarlan Barrera stepped up for Colombia, but U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen came up big, guessing correctly to the left side and punching the ball out to keep Colombia off the score board.

The U.S. advances to play Serbia in the Quarterfinal Round at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The USA will play on Sunday, June 14, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Kickoff is set for 12:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go and NBC Universo. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Rubio Rubin, 58th: Following a goal kick clearance by Steffen, a couple of U.S. players jumped up to get the ball and control it past midfield. Emerson Hyndman got to it first, heading it down to Paul Arriola, who received it and tried to get off a shot. Colombia’s Juan Quintero was able to block Arriola’s attempt but was unable to fully clear it. Rubio Rubin collected the rebound and from the right side of the box, shot to the near post with his right foot from about five yards out for the USA’s game-winning goal. USA 1, COL 0 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Zack Steffen, 46th minute: Colombia’s Jarlan Barrera found himself alone after leaving his defenders behind inside the USA box. He ran forward, matching up one-on-one with Steffen. Steffen was alert and came out to grab the ball before Barrera could do anything, denying a scoring opportunity.

USA – Zack Steffen and Matt Miazga, 50th minute: In another point-blank shot opportunity for Colombia, Steven Lucumi ran towards the USA net, passing defender Matt Miazga on his way. Steffen again was ready, stepping out of his goal to block the shot then getting help from Miazga, who made the final clearance.

USA – Zack Steffen (penalty kick save), 83rd minute: Kellyn Acosta challenged a play inside the box on the right side from behind and was called for a foul, granting a penalty kick in favor of Los Cafeteros. Acosta received his second yellow of the game for the foul, thus leaving the USA with 10 men on the field as Colombia prepared to take the penalty shot. Jarlan Barrera stepped up to take the shot but his attempt was s by Zack Stuffed out by Seffen, who threw his body to his right side to punch the ball out and preserve the USA lead.

USA – Paul Arriola, 84th minute: Once again, Jarlan Barrera created a dangerous play as he was in a good spot from the top of the box to send a bullet shot straight toward the USA net. This time, it was midfielder Paul Arriola, who was locked in and made a spectacular save off the line, heading the ball away from the net and keeping Colombia at bay.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. U-20 MNT advances to play Serbia in the quarterfinals at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Sunday, June 14. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, NBC Universo
Social: Twitter @ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 6-7-0 all-time against CONMEBOL teams at the U-20 World Cup.
  • After losing its first six meetings against South American teams from 1981-1997, the USA has gone 6-1 against its southern continental neighbors, including wins in the final four meetings: defeating Argentina 1-0 in 2005; 2-1 victories over Brazil and Uruguay in 2007, and tonight's 1-0 win over Colombia.
  • The USA last advanced beyond the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007, when it downed Uruguay 2-1 after extra time in Toronto courtesy of an Uruguay own goal and a strike from current senior Men’s National Team captain Michael Bradley.
  • The USA has advanced past the Round of 16 on three previous occasions: in 2007 (finished 7th overall), 2003 (finished 5th overall) and in 1989 (finished 4th overall).
  • This was the first victory for the USA against Colombia in the teams' only meeting in U-20 World Cup play.
  • The USA last recorded a clean sheet in a U-20 World Cup knockout round match in 2003 when the U.S. downed Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Round of 16. Tonight's shutout is the second all-time for the U.S. U-20 MNT in knockout round play at a FIFA U-20 World Youth Championship/World Cup.
  • Rubio Rubin’s goal was his second of the tournament. He last scored during the USA’s 4-0 win over New Zealand in its second group stage match of the competition.
  • Rubin, who alongside Emerson Hyndman is the only player to have been capped at the senior level, made his MNT debut for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann against then No.3-ranked Colombia last November in a friendly in London. Hyndman made his debut during the second half of the U.S. MNT’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in September 2014. 
  • Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kellyn Acosta, Hyndman, Zack Steffen and Marky Delgado, all were starters in tonight’s match. They were the only players to start all three group stage matches for the USA as well.
  • Steffen recorded his eighth career shutout and second of the 2015 U-20 World Cup.
  • Due to his ejection from tonight’s game, Acosta will have to sit out the USA’s quarterfinal match against Serbia on June 14.
  • Additionally, forward Bradford Jamieson was injured early in the game and was taken off in the 11th minute. He was taken to a local hospital where he is being evaluated further.
  • The USA’s three substitutions of the game were: Jordan Allen for Jamieson, John Requejo for Paul Arriola and Tommy Thompson for Gedion Zelalem. The appearance was the 20th for Thompson with the U-20’s, a leading mark among the roster.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: June 10, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand
Kickoff: 3:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 6062
Weather: 54 degrees; Windy

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

USA – Rubio Rubin    58th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 17-Desevio Payne, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga, 6-Kellyn Acosta; 15-Marky Delgado, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 19-Gedion Zelalem (13-Tommy Thompson, 87), 7-Paul Arriola (3-John Requejo, 84); 9-RubioRubin, 11-Bradford Jamieson IV (20-Jordan Allen, 11)
Subs Not Used: 12-Thomas Olsen, 21-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaquell Moore, 10-Joel Soñora, 16-Conor Donovan, 18-ErikPalmer-Brown
Head coach: Tab Ramos

COL: 1-Alvaro Montero (capt.); 3-Jeison Angulo, 5-Juan Quintero, 6-Andres Tello, 8-Alexis Zapata (9-Joao Rodriguez, 72); 11-Steven Lucumi (18-Carlos Ibarguen, 64), 13-Davinson Sanchez, 14-Rodin Quiñones, 16-Jarlan Barrera; 19-Victor Gutierrez (7-Deinner Quiñones, 60), 20-Santos Borre
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Luis Vasquez, 2-Aldayr Hernandez, 4-Daniel Londoño, 10-Sergio Villareal, 15-Jhoan Ayala, 17-Juan Otero, 21-Yasser Chavez (GK)
Head coach: Carlos Alberto Restrepo

Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 8 / 24
Shots on Goal: 2 / 3
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 17 / 16
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
COL – Juan Quintero (caution)          20th minute
USA – Paul Arriola (caution)             26
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)           34
COL – Andres Tello (caution)             49
COL – Jeison (caution)                       54
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)           81
USA – Kellyn Acosta (ejection)          81
COL – Jarlan Barrera (caution)           86
USA - Jordan Allen (caution)              86

Officials:
Referee: Antonio Ivan Bebek (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomislav Petrovic (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Miro Grgic (CRO)
Fourth Official: Matt Conger (NZL)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Zack Steffen and Rubio Rubin

U-20 MNT Set for Clash with Colombia in Round of 16

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Wellington, New Zealand

U-20 MNT BATTLES COLOMBIA IN ROUND OF 16: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will look to advance to the Quarterfinals at the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup when it meets Colombia on Wednesday, June 10 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. The match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, Telemundo and NBC Universo with kickoff set for 3:30 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on twitter at @usscocer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

HOW WE GOT HERE: The USA finished second in Group A, after defeating Myanmar 2-1, overpowering New Zealand, 4-0 and dropping its final match to Ukraine, 0-3. Meanwhile, Colombia finished second in Group C with a 1-1-1 record, after it defeated Qatar (1-0), tied Senegal (1-1) and lost its final group match to Portugal (1-3).

Despite all six FIFA confederations being represented in the Round of 16, the USA is the sole CONCACAF team to advance to the knockout round, while Colombia joins Uruguay and Brazil as the three members of CONMEBOL in the Round of 16 after Argentina failed to advance.

USA NOTES:

  • Five different players have accounted for the USA’s six goals in the tournament, matching the most ever in the competition. U.S. captain Emerson Hyndman has scored twice, while Maki Tall, Bradford Jamieson IV, Rubio Rubin, and Paul Arriola have scored one each.
  • The other two times a USA U-20 World Cup team featured five different goal scorers was in 1993 and 2003.
  • Hyndman, Zack Steffen, Marky Delgado, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Kellyn Acosta are the only players to start all three of the USA’s matches thus far in New Zealand. Rubin, Jamieson IV, Joel Soñora and Gedion Zelalem have also appeared in all three matches as either starters or off the bench.
  • All 18 field players saw minutes in the group stage.
  • Steffen, Carter-Vickers and Acosta have played every minute of all three matches.
  • The only players who have yet to see any action are goalkeepers Jeff Caldwell and Thomas Olsen.
  • With goals against Myanmar and New Zealand, Hyndman became the first U.S. player to score in consecutive U-20 World Cup games since Jozy Altidore in 2007.
  • Five different players have also accounted for the five assists: Carter-Vickers, Jamieson IV, Rubin, Zelalem, and Desevio Payne.
  • Tall suffered an injury to his left foot during the USA’s first group match and has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament. He was the second player lost due to injury following Russell Canouse, who was replaced by Conor Donovan days prior to the opening match of the tournament.
  • Shaq Moore, Payne, Delgado, Jordan Allen, Matt Miazga and Acosta received one yellow card apiece during the group stage. If any of those players receives a second caution in the Round of 16 and the USA wins, the player will have to sit out a match, missing the USA’s quarterfinal game. All cautions are waived following the quarterfinal round.
  • This is the USA’s 14th appearance in a FIFA U-20 World Cup. The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. That year the USA fell to Nigeria in overtime in the Semifinal before losing to Brazil, 2-0, in the Third/Fourth Place match.
  • This is the ninth time in 14 appearances that a USA team has advanced out of the group stage.
  • This is the first time the USA has advanced to the knockout stage since 2007, when the team defeated Uruguay in the Round of 16 and fell to Australia in the Quarterfinals.
  • The USA did not make it out of group play in 2009, did not qualify for the 2011 tournament, and failed to advance from group play in 2013.

USA VS. COLOMBIA:

  • Colombia has qualified for the U-20 World Cup on nine occasions. Its best finish was third place in the 2003 edition, when they defeated Argentina in the Third/Fourth Place match after losing to Spain in the Semifinals.
  • Colombia has advanced to the Round of 16 in five U-20 World Cups: 2015, 2013, 2011, 2005, and 2003.
  • In 2013, Colombia was eliminated in the Round of 16 by South Korea on penalty kicks after tying 1-1 through overtime. As hosts in 2011, Colombia defeated Costa Rica 3-2 in the Round of 16 before falling to Mexico, 1-3, in the Quarterfinals.
  • The USA and Colombia have never met at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. On the international stage, the two have met twice in other competitions: at the 1993 U-17 World Cup (a 1-2 U.S. loss), and at the 1994 FIFA World Cup (a 2-1 win), which featured current U-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
  • The USA is 5-7-0 all-time against CONMEBOL teams at the U-20 World Cup.
  • After losing its first six meetings against South American teams from 1981-1997, the USA has gone 5-1 against its southern continental neighbors, including wins in the final three meetings: defeating Argentina 1-0 in 2005 and with 2-1 victories over Brazil and Uruguay in 2007.
  • Colombia is 3-2-0 all-time against CONCACAF teams. Its last two meetings were in 2013 when they defeated Costa Rica 3-2 in group play before losing to Mexico 1-3 in the Round of 16.

U-20 MNT Ready for Knockout Clash Against Colombia

Head Coach Tab Ramos, forward Rubio Rubin, and midfielder Emerson Hyndman discuss the U-20 MNT's matchup with Colombia in the round of 16 at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup.

Tab Ramos Q&A: “I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017.”

ussoccer.com: With this being the first camp of a new cycle, how did you go about selecting this roster?
Tab Ramos: “With all of our youth national teams we’re pretty much integrated, so we’re familiar with the players that we all get coming up, so in this case I’m familiar with this particular group. I think in this camp I’m giving an opportunity to the full depth chart that [U-18 MNT head coach] Javier Perez passed along. This is something that would get done throughout the cycle anyway, so we’re giving a bunch of players an opportunity here to make an impression in the beginning, and I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017.”

ussoccer.com: What is the goal for the team in this tournament?
TR: “The goal at this point is to see the competitiveness of the players. I can consider the last couple of cycles and start comparing what the players in those cycles were like in comparison to these. We can also start to make decisions about the quality and development of some of the players that we have. We’re taking 23 players in this camp, and the main reason for that is that we have back-to-back games. We play Serbia on Sept. 3 and we play France on Sept. 4, so those will be two completely different lineups and everybody will be able to get on the field and show themselves and show themselves against excellent competition. I’m very excited about that and about giving these players an opportunity.”

ussoccer.com: What was attractive about playing this first tournament in Europe against teams like France and Serbia?
TR: “The thing about the European players at this particular age is that already when they’re turning 18, and they’re all turning 18 this year just like our guys, most of them are already on a pretty good professional path. Our guys can see the example of the professionalism of the European teams and how they handle themselves and how hard they play on every single play and in every opportunity that the ball is near them.”

It’s a great opportunity for us. I know that Javier has done a great job with this group when he had them with the U-18’s, so they’ve already had two years of very good competition and now we need to build on that in this age group because inevitably when you move up it gets harder and harder.”

ussoccer.com: Erik Palmer-Brown was with the U-20’s this summer in the World Cup. How will his experience change his role now that he’s back?
TR: “Erik is a great player and he’s one with a lot of potential moving forward and one whose role is definitely going to change in this group compared to his role in the last one. He needs to not only be a good player and help the team, but now he needs to put the team on his shoulders a little bit and his responsibility is a lot bigger. I think it’s a great opportunity for him, and I’m looking forward to seeing him flourish over the next few years and also seeing how he responds to the added responsibility, because it’s definitely not easy.”


Tha Carter-VI

The ball was still bouncing inside the goal when Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maki Tall made eye contact and ran towards each other. With smiles across their faces, they slapped backhands and jumped, arms raised as they mimicked fade-away jump shots.

It was a somewhat spontaneous celebration after Carter-Vickers had assisted Tall on the game-tying goal against Myanmar in the first match of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, a game the USA eventually won with a goal from Emerson Hyndman. 

“We’ve been watching the NBA Playoffs. He’s a big LeBron fan, so he thinks Cleveland are going to win. And I like Steph Curry of Golden State,” Carter-Vickers said of the NBA Finals opponents. “From that we made up a handshake and in the game it just came out. We didn’t really plan it; it was more spur of the moment. We were happy that we had scored.”

At just 17 years old, Carter-Vickers is the youngest member of the USA’s U-20 MNT at the U-20 World Cup. And while soccer has been his main focus for the past 10 years, basketball is in his genes.

Say Hello to the New Guys

Of the 21 players on the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team that is in New Zealand for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, 17 have been on a U.S. U-17 or U-20 team at one point or another entering 2015. 

Maki Tall, Desevio Payne, Gedion Zelalem and Thomas Olsen had not. 

The four players were called to their first U.S. Youth Team over the past two months and here they are representing the USA at the U-20 World Cup. 

*** 

Pride for the USA, Not a Tall Order
“The USA is becoming a great football nation, so just being invited to the team was a great honor,” said Tall of being called to his first U-20 camp in England this past March. “And to play in a World Cup, that’s not an every day thing. Every player wants to play in one, and we had been fighting for roster spots. And now that we’re here, everybody wants a shot to help the team do great things.” 

Tall and his two brothers and sister were born in Washington D.C. Their father is from France and their mother is from Ivory Coast. Because of his father’s job, the family moved to Senegal and then Ivory Coast before Maki was offered an opportunity to try out with clubs in France. He elected to join the youth academy at Le Mans and then signed with Lille in 2012.

Along the way he was called in to play for France’s U-18 and U-19 teams, where he appeared in nine friendlies – including a match against the U.S. in 2013. Through it all, he was never distant from his hometown, made much easier when his mom and his two younger siblings moved back to D.C. a few years ago.

Tall scored against England’s U-20s during his USA debut in March, and then again last week against Australia. And while it took a while to put on the USA jersey, he’s excited and ready for the current opportunity to proudly represent his nation.

“I can’t regret the time past, because without those experiences I probably wouldn’t be here,” said the forward, who has scored eight goals while on loan to Red Star since January. “I’m really happy about the future and I see great things down the road.”

Maki Tall, Gedion Zelalem, Tommy Thompson
U-20 MNT members Maki Tall, Gedion Zelalem and Tommy Thompson kick the ball around during training.

*** 

No Payne, No Gain
Defender Desevio Payne also made his first USA appearance during the England camp last March. 

Born in Greewood, South Carolina, Payne was only a year-and-a-half when his family moved to the Netherlands. He comes from a sporting family - his father is from Trinidad and Tobago, and his mom is from Holland. The two met at Landers University when they went to play soccer and softball, respectively. 

Growing up in Holland, Payne spoke English with his father and Dutch with his mom. Among his siblings, they speak English with each other.

At age 13, he joined the academy of 100-year-old HFC Haarlem. However when the club dissolved, he moved to lower tier side Zeeburgia. In 2013 he signed with Groningen in the Eirdevisie, and was eventually invited to a Holland U-18 camp. He made his professional debut with Groningen on Feb. 22, 2015 in a 3-1 loss to Heerenveen. A short time later, he received a call from U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos. 

“Tab called me to introduce himself, and ask about me and tell me about the England camp,” Payne said. “I was excited for the invitation, but I didn’t know what to expect. I just told him that I would do my best in England and wanted to show myself.” 

In early May, the former judo competitor was contacted again. 

“It’s all happened so quick,” he said. “I thought I had a good first camp, so I was hopeful I would get another call from Tab. I was nervous as the weeks went by, but was really happy when I got that email that I was going to the World Cup.” 

Desevio Payne
U-20 MNT's Desevio Payne walks to training with Landon Donovan.

*** 

American Dream is Worth the Wait
Unlike the rest of his World Cup teammates, Gedion Zelalem had not been to any camps before meeting the team in Australia on May 18.  Born in Germany to Ethiopian parents, Zelalem and his family moved to Bethesda, Maryland when he was 10 years old. After middle school, he attended Walter Johnson High School and played club soccer on various teams. 

In 2011, while playing for Olney Rangers at the prestigious Dallas Cup, he was seen by an Arsenal scout and attended try outs. He first joined the Gunners’ academy and then eventually made his senior team debut in January 2014.

Zelalem also played for Germany from the U-15 age group through the U-17s, but dreamed of a chance to play for the USA. After obtaining his citizenship late in 2014, he was granted a one-time switch from FIFA in mid-May and was added to the U-20 World Cup roster.

“I’ve always wanted to represent the USA,” Zelalem said. “I feel more American than I feel German, so it was a no-brainer for me on which country to chose. Ever since I left the U.S. to go play in England, I’ve wanted to play for the U.S.”

Zelalem is now getting his chance. And like all his teammates, he has bigger dreams.

“I want to make the most of this World Cup,” he said. “And I want to keep going to make it to the first team.”

Not lost on him is the chance to be with fellow American players his age again.

“It’s been great, all the guys are great,” he said of his first week in camp. “They’re all down-to-earth guys. We’re all together here, and there isn’t one player who thinks he’s better than the other. I really like that about this group, and I’m really happy to be here.”

Gedion Zelalem
U-20 MNT midfielder Gedion Zelalem is interviewed by the media before practice.

*** 

From Campus to the World Stage
Thomas Olsen is one of two college players on the roster. However, unlike Jeff Caldwell, his USA teammate from the University of Virginia, Olsen had never been part of a USA camp before March. 

Caldwell was on the U.S. U-17 MNT at the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, and was part of several other camps in different age levels.

Olsen, who was named the 2014 WCC Freshman of the Year at the University of San Diego, earned his first USA invite for the camp in England.

“You’re shocked initially to see that you’ve reach that level,” Olsen said. “You see the names and see they are pros, and you’re in college. And the first thing I thought was, ‘awesome, now let’s see if I can play with these guys.’” 

Olsen backed up Caldwell in the match against England’s U-21s on March 30. But in the back of his head, he thought he had a good camp and kept a sliver of hope that maybe he could make the U-20 World Cup roster. 

When the initial squad was announced on May 7, the three goalkeepers were Zack Steffen, Caldwell, and Ethan Horvath. However, almost immediately, Olsen received a call from U-20 goalkeeper coach Russell Payne telling him to come to camp in Carson, California, the following week. 

Olsen showed up at StubHub Center when camp broke on May 11 and learned the situation. There was a chance that Horvath wouldn’t be released by his club in Norway. He returned to San Diego to take two more finals on Wednesday, and it was then when he was officially informed that he would be added to the roster in place of Horvath. 

“Being a competitor, no matter on what team, you want to be the one,” Olsen said. “Obviously, on this team I have to take a step back and realize that I’m blessed to be here. For me this is more of a learning experience, taking on what coach Payne says, and getting to train with all of these guys. And how I can contribute is by being a leader, by pushing people at training – especially Zack (Steffen) and Jeff – and by being ready if my number is called.”

Thomas Olsen
U-20 MNT's Thomas Olsen stands with goalkeeper coach Russell Payne in Australia.

FIFA U-20 World Cup a Chance for Redemption

For several members of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup represents another chance. Many have been part of the U.S. Soccer national team programs for various cycles, but only three have ever been part of a youth World Cup, and only two have played in one. Nine others came close and are now getting their opportunity on the world stage.

Jeff Caldwell, Joel Sonora, Conor Donovan, Rubio Rubin, John Requejo and Shaq Moore were all on the 2013 team that was upset by Honduras at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and missed out of that U-17 World Cup. Bradford Jamieson IV was left off that roster altogether after spending four semesters in Residency.

“Obviously that was a tough moment, not only for me but the rest of the team who experienced that,” said Moore, who was captain of the 2013 U-17 World Cup qualifying team. “I think having another chance – not even here at the World Cup, but at Qualifying in January with this group - was a big hurdle that I crossed to finally qualify for a World Cup.”

It wasn’t easy qualifying this time around, either. After tying the first and losing the second match, the U-20s won the final four matches in Jamaica – all by shutout – in order to qualify for New Zealand. One player who had to sit out was Sonora, who was injured weeks before. Thankful that the group qualified, he’s now looking forward for his chance at redemption.

“It was a big disappointment at the time because we were all expecting to qualify,” said Sonora of the 2013 team. “We didn’t see it as too difficult, and maybe we let our guard down. It was a very hard hit to take because it was the first time a U-17 team didn’t qualify for a World Cup. We were crushed. So we’re excited that we’ve now given ourselves another chance to show what we can do and what this group of players and this team is about in New Zealand.”

Two years earlier, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola were the youngest members of the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup team in Mexico that bowed out in the Round of 16 with a loss to Germany. Acosta played in all four matches and Arriola in three. During that cycle, Marky Delgado did not make the qualifying roster, and while Jordan Allen was on the team that qualified, he was left off the final World Cup squad.

“There was disappointment, but at the time I hadn’t been playing well, so it was kind of expected,” Allen said. “I made sure once that happened, that the next time I had a chance to make a World Cup team I would have been doing everything I could to be in good form and put myself in the right position. So I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that this time.”

Allen and Delgado were also returning from injuries in January and not fit to go to Jamaica. But Allen seemed to be a longer shot. He suffered a knee injury last year that kept him out the picture for months. The Real Salt Lake forward made his first appearance with the U-20s in a camp in Austria in April, and got the call that he made the World Cup team a few weeks later.

“This means a lot,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of work in - being out of close to 10 months with my knee injury. As soon as I got healthy I circled when the World Cup was going to be and I made sure that by that time I was getting close to my best form. I put a lot of work in, and luckily it worked out.”

Arriola doesn’t take the opportunity to play in a second youth World Cup for granted.

“I know it’s unique, and I know I’m very blessed to be able to do this again,” he said. “Obviously when I started the cycle, this was my goal – to have us qualify for the World Cup and to make the team. But you never know what can happen, so I’m thankful to be here and looking to do whatever I can to help us win.”

Zack Steffen is the other player on this roster to have been on a World Cup team. The Freiburg goalkeeper, along with Acosta, returns from the 2013 U-20 World Cup team, although neither played in the tournament.

It’s obviously not easy making it to a World Cup, and it’s with that in mind that this group relishes the experience in New Zealand.

“We’ve had a very sour taste in our mouth,” Moore said. “We’ve just wanted to work hard and give ourselves another shot. We wanted to get rid of that taste and we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re excited to be here now, but we also want to make the most of this opportunity.”

Experience to Play Pivotal Role for U.S. U-20 MNT at World Cup

They say experience is the teacher of all things, and that could prove to be a key factor for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team as it approaches the final weeks of preparation leading up to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. 

U.S. head coach Tab Ramos is at the forefront of that experience. Not only did he play in both a U-20 and senior team World Cup – three in fact – but Ramos is also entering his second World Cup as head coach of the U20s. 

“Having been in a World Cup before is a great experience,” Ramos said. “Going to my second World Cup (as a coach), it’s easier for me to focus on the team and not on everything that surrounds the team.” 

Ramos isn’t alone in experience with this group – and this tournament. Also returning from the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey are assistant coaches Javier Perez and Russell Payne, as well as goalkeeper Zack Steffen and midfielder Kellyn Acosta. While neither player played in Turkey, the experience they gained as being part of the group was invaluable. 

“Looking back at 2013, I didn’t get to play, but I was there learning, and taking it all in,” Acosta said. “I was able to look at how polished pros like Will Trapp and Luis Gil led and handled the group; how mature they were about what they did. 

“Going into this World Cup, with what I was able to observe two years ago, I think I can help the guys that maybe haven’t been in such a big stage before be more prepared so they can play and just be focused on the game and not be distracted by all the other things that come with the World Cup.” 

Acosta was the captain for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship team in Jamaica, however he injured his knee in the second game and was forced to miss the remainder of the tournament. 

“I was very disappointed, because I wanted to be able to help the team,” said Acosta. “But I was very proud of the team. They had four great games and they grinded it out and got us through. And I thought Russ (Canouse) did a great job in pulling the team together.” 

That the team could qualify without Acosta – who is now fully healthy and playing regularly with his team, FC Dallas - is another reminder of the depth that the U-20 age group has. 

“The difference from 2013 was fairly big,” Ramos said of selecting the final roster. “We didn’t have as many options for the 2013 roster. This is a roster with a number of options to select different types of players. It’s a very competitive group and one with many more players who are playing in the first division.” 

Acosta said the competition for positions is a good thing for the team. 

“No spot is guaranteed,” Acosta said. “I’ve been fortunate to get minutes with my team, but not going to those camps had me on my toes. Anyone can come in and play well. I feel like these last two camps mattered a lot.” 

And that they did. 

Desevio Payne and Maki Tall are two examples of players who had previously not been part of a U.S. Youth Team who impressed Ramos in camps in England and Austria and made the World Cup roster. 

Marco Delgado, Jordan Allen, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Joel Soñora are players with previous YNT experience who did not participate in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship but made the final roster through their play at the recent camps. 

The group will get together starting next week in Carson, California, leaving two weeks to prepare for the World Cup opener against Myanmar on May 30. 

“The goal at this point is to win our first game,” Ramos said. “So we are completely committed to seeing what Myanmar is about and being completely prepared to win that game. 

From California the team will travel to Australia for a few days before departing for New Zealand. 

 “We have to act like it’s game mode,” Acosta said of the team’s approach from here on out. “No opponent is going to be easy, so any game we play in the next few weeks we have to treat it like it’s a World Cup game.” 

Acosta has been a leader on the team for a while now, and while he accepts the role, he also stresses the importance of everyone being able to contribute. 

“I’ve taken the role over the past year, and I’m ready to take the role again. But I think every guy needs to be vocal for us to be a good team. As a group collectively, we need everyone pulling together.” 

Having been there before, and knowing this team, Acosta is anxious to get to New Zealand. 

“I can’t really express how excited I am to go out and show the world what we got and prove to everyone why we should be a force to be reckoned with.”

Quote Sheet: Tab Ramos, 'The Goal at this Point is to Win Our First Game'

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos spoke with ussoccer.com to discuss his thought process for selecting the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Roster and what the team’s next steps are as it makes its way to New Zealand. 

Initial comments on the roster:
Tab Ramos: "I’m very excited about this particular group. It was very difficult making the final decision because there were quite a few players who deserved to go to the World Cup. Unfortunately, in the end, I can only select a certain number, and I’m very happy with the selections that we made.” 

On the challenges in determining the final roster:
TB: "I think the challenge was how many players we had to consider per position because the positions were very competitive. And although there are certainly standouts in positions, when it comes to rounding out the roster, it’s very difficult selecting the last four to five players because there’s literally probably 10-12 players considered for those final spots.” 

On the differences in selecting this roster compared to his first U-20 World Cup in 2013:
TB: “The difference was fairly big. We didn’t have as many options for the 2013 roster. This is a roster with a number of options to select different types of players. It’s a very competitive group and one with more players who are playing in the first division.” 

On the goal of the next two weeks in preparation for the start of the World Cup:
TB: “The goal at this point is to win our first game. We are completely committed to seeing what Myanmar is about and being completely prepared to win that game. We’ll prepare for the next one after.” 

On if this team has added pressure competing on the world stage (following the 2014 World Cup team):
TB: “I think the only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves because we’re trying to improve the program.  When you’re trying to improve a program, things are not easy. Obviously, the expectations we put on ourselves become higher and higher. So yes, there’s probably a little bit more pressure but hopefully we can have a little bit more pressure with each World Cup that comes along for every age group.” 

On what he wants the players to gain or learn from participating in the U-20 World Cup:
TB: “I think it’s a great experience for them to compete against the best nations from around the world. It gives them great preparation for the future so that they will hopefully have it on the senior National Team.”

Gallery: U-20 MNT Final Training Camp before World Cup

Photos from the first two days of training for the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team in Linz, Austria, where the squad will play a pair of friendly matches against Qatar and Croatia during its final training camp ahead of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, which kicks of on May 30. The USA faces Myanmar (May 30), New Zealnd (June 2) and Ukraine (June 5) in Group A play at this summer's tournament. All three group matches will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and NBC Universo. 

U-20 MNT World Cup Journey Picking Up Speed as First Training Camp Concludes

The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team ended its weeklong camp in England on Monday, March 30, as players returned to their clubs in nine different countries. For U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos, the first training camp since qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in January had a number of benefits.

"I think it was a very positive camp for us," Ramos said. "We had an opportunity to train at great facilities at Tottenham, and for me, it was an opportunity to see some new players that I hadn't seen before. I thought what I saw was very positive."

The group trained at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur’s renowned facility for five days before playing England's U-21 MNT on March 29 in Plymouth.

Among the 20 players that made up the training camp, 10 were part of the group that participated in January's 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, while four others were part of their first camp with a U.S. team, including Desevio Payne, Maki Tall, Ethan Solis and Thomas Olsen. Payne and Tall started in the 2-1 loss to England, while Sonis entered in the second half.

"I think it's very important to always to bring in new players in the national team environment,” Ramos said. “Not only for those players but also for the players who are already on the team because they realize how competitive it is. Now going into the World Cup, it's a brand new stage and a team that everybody has to fight for."

Payne, who was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, but was raised in Amsterdam, started at center back alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers.

"It was unbelievable to stand there wearing a USA shirt," Payne said of his debut. " When I put it on, I thought about my career and why I came here. It's an honor to play in this shirt so I'm very happy."

Maki Tall had a similar experience. Tall was born in Washington D.C. but moved with his family to Senegal when he was seven years old, and then to his parents’ native Ivory Coast when he was 11. He went on to play in France, signed professionally, and even made nine appearances with France’s U-18 and U-19 teams combined.

"Hearing the (USA) national anthem, I don't even know how to say it,” Tall said. “It was unbelievable. I've watched (MNT) games before on TV, so to hear it for the first time, it was crazy.”

For Carter-Vickers, another dual-citizen, the match against England was the first time he lined up against the country where he was born and raised. Carter-Vickers’ father, Howard Carter, is American and still lives in Louisiana.

"A little bit when you hear the national anthem, a little bit,” Carter-Vickers admitted to the odd notion of going up against England. “But it's also just another game, and you just have to get on with it. You stay professional and play."

The loss to England was the lone negative from the trip.

"In general, I thought the first half was very disappointing for us in terms of our effort and what we brought to the game,” Ramos said. “I thought it took us a good 20-25 minutes to get into the game and definitely in international games you can't afford to do that.”

Forward Lynden Gooch shared similar thoughts.

"It was a tough game,” said the Sunderland forward. “We're all trying to get familiar still; there are new players, and we have to make sure we're right for the World Cup. Aside from that, everything else from the week was 100 percent."

For Ramos, the camp was the first of two this year before he decides on the 21-man roster that will represent the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer. The team will return to Europe from April 18-26 for its second training camp in Austria, with matches scheduled against Qatar and Croatia.

"Between this camp and the camp that we have in Austria, I think it's the last opportunity for us to make final conclusions on players," Ramos said. "I'm trying to see them in different positions and see how certain players may be able to help us. And then after that, we'll focus on trying to get the best group together. We don't have a lot of time for the World Cup but that's normally how this works."

Tall understands the process, and knows that despite scoring the USA’s lone goal against England, he needs to keep his form up.

"You always have to prove yourself,” Tall said. “Moving forward, we all want to play in a World Cup and we're all fighting for positions, like coach said. Everybody needs to impress him and work hard every day. If you're not doing well, you still need to work hard, and that's what's important on the team."

The message is also clear to Payne.

"Of course I'm happy and I'm thinking about the World Cup,” Payne added. “So it would be nice if I get the call to go, but I just need to do my best at my club and then we'll see."

Q&A: Tab Ramos Outlines Road to 2015 U-20 World Cup

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.”

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.”

THREE'S CAMPANY

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.

  • Twenty players representing 12 different MLS clubs have been called across the three rosters, while another 30 players from clubs in Germany (11), England (10) and Mexico (9) add to the bulk of the call-ups.
  • Nine of the 18 players called for U-23 camp were part of Tab Ramos’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad: Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Eric Miller, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto, and Wil Trapp.
  • U-23 call-ups Luis Gil, Jordan Morris and Wil Trapp have also already played for the Senior National Team.
  • Five of the U-20 call-ups were part of the U.S. U-17 World Cup qualifying campaign in 2013: Jeff Caldwell, Conor Donovan, Junior Flores, Shaquell Moore and John Requejo.
 

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.”

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.”

U-20 MNT Begins New Cycle at Stevan Vilotic Tournament in Serbia

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named a 23-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament in Serbia.

The group will begin training on Aug. 30 in Subotica and begin tournament play against Serbia on Sept. 3, before traveling to Senta for a match against France on Sept. 4. The team will conclude the tournament with a placement match on Sept. 7.

“We’re giving a bunch of players an opportunity here to make an impression in the beginning, and I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017,” Ramos said. “We’re taking 23 players in this camp, and the main reason for that is that we have back-to-back games. We play Serbia on Sept. 3 and we play France on Sept. 4, so those will be two completely different lineups and everybody will be able to get on the field and show themselves and show themselves against excellent competition.”

The Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament is the first test of a new U-20 cycle for the U.S. All 23 players from this group were born in 1997, although Erik Palmer-Brown has experience in this age group as he was a part of the 2015 U-20 MNT World Cup team. Thirteen other players participated in MNT camps with the U-18 team earlier this year.

Fourteen players from this roster represent clubs in Major League soccer, while five play in college, and the English Premier League, Bundesliga and USL each have single representatives on the squad. 22 players are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Monarchs; Las Cruces, N.M.), Justin Vom Steeg (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Nicholas Hinds (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Andrew Lombard (Northeastern; Montclair, N.J.), Christian Onalfo (LA Galaxy; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Pablo Pelaez (Seattle Sounders FC; San Diego, Calif.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.),
MIDFIELDERS (8): Amir Bashti (Stanford; Cupertino, Calif.), Collin Fernandez ( Chicago Fire, Downers Grove, Ill.), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Abuchi Obinwa (Hannover 96; Orlando, Fla.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG; Libertyville, Ill.), Martin Salas (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew SC; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders FC; Des Moines, Wash.), Nebojsa Popovic (Saint Louis FC; Loznica, Serbia), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.)

Quote Sheet: Ramos, Rubin, Arriola, Steffen and Hyndman On U-20 World Cup Run

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Quote Sheet
USA 0, SRB 0; Serbia wins 6-5 on penalty kicks
June 14, 2015
U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS

On the match:
“It was a very good game. Serbia is one of those teams that is very disciplined, in particular defensively but also when they attack. I thought we countered them very well; I thought we were very well prepared for them. Unfortunately it was a game that could have gone either way and in penalties anything can happen. I’m just very happy for our players for how well they did, proud of how hard they played and know that we were that close in getting to a World Cup semifinals.

On having the game decided on penalty kicks:
“It’s always very difficult. Penalties is a very tough way to lose. But somebody had to win the game. Both teams defended pretty well throughout the game and I think it was two good teams playing a quarterfinal game. Somebody had to go through, and unfortunately it wasn’t us, but I’m very proud of the team.”

On how a tournament like this can help in the development of the players:
“You can take a lot, because at the end of the day the U-20 team is for development. And so hopefully they gained some great experience for the future and something that will be valuable for them on the senior team down the road.”

On his message to the team:
“I think the important thing is for them to keep their head up. They played great throughout the World Cup. We were very competitive with every team and we could have won every game. I’m very happy for them and the work they did, and hopefully this is a good experience for them down the road when they have to play the games that really count for World Cup Qualifying for the senior team.”

[FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE]

On the match:
"It was a hard fought game. We obviously knew that Serbia is a very tactical team, they really know what they’re playing. They’re very patient and they wait for their opportunity. They did a great job. I thought we countered them really well. I thought we were very prepared for their game and we gave ourselves quite a few opportunities to win the game. So from our end, I’m satisfied considering we had a short roster – we really had some players out that were important for us. So I thought the boys did really well. They fought really hard, they stuck to the game plan and we gave them very few opportunities, so that was good from our end. And from their end, they played the game they’ve been playing all along. This is a well-coached team and they did a great job. I think they have as great an opportunity as anyone to win the tournament.”

On the penalty shootout:
“In the end, we have to remember that senior players miss penalties all the time. And so when you go to penalties all you can do is pick the guys who feel confident, who are happy to step up and take a penalty and that’s what we did. In the end, some guys missed, it happens. It happens at the higher levels than this level. Again, I’m very happy with my players and I know they showed a lot of courage. From our end, we’re satisfied. I think we could have done a little bit more, but in the end we’re happy.”

On how difficult it was to break down Serbia’s defense:
“Very difficult. One of the things we talked about coming into the match was that they are very organized defensively. And if you don’t counter them right away, if you don’t hit forward passes immediately after you recover, they get into very good shape in the back and then they make it very difficult to get shots; we knew that coming into the game. I thought we did very well in particular in the first 15-20 minutes of the game when we came out pressing high we seemed to get more control of the game. But then as the game wore on and the game opened up a little bit, I thought Serbia was very disciplined in maintaining their defense. They’re a very tough team, they’re very organized, and like I said before, well coached.”

U.S. U-20 MNT forward RUBIO RUBIN

On the tournament ending the way it did for the U.S.:
"It sucks. To lose that way after we tied them 0-0; we had opportunities to take over the game and win it, but at the end of the day we lost. We lost on PKs. It was a great team effort.

“Now we move on and we just have to keep our heads up. We’re going to have moments like these in our careers. This is one of our setbacks and it’s the way you react to it. I think everyone came into this tournament with a positive mentality to try to win the tournament, and unfortunately we couldn’t. It was a great run, a great team effort.”

On being part of the World Cup team:
“It was a great experience, from the beginning of the tournament through the group stage, beating Colombia and playing in the quarterfinals against Serbia. It was a tough battle going into overtime and even PK’s. You feel the pressure, you feel the nerves and everything. That’s all experience for us. We’re all 19-20 years old. This is just the beginning to setbacks and great moments in our careers. We’re going to have moments like the Colombia game where we’re very happy, and now a disappointment in the quarterfinals with a tough loss. It’s how you learn from this. We have to stay positive. Right now it sucks, every one has their head down. But tomorrow is a different day and we just have to stay positive and use this experience to help us down the road.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder PAUL ARRIOLA

On his thoughts on the match:
“I thought it was a very back and forth game. Serbia is a very good team – they kept the ball, they were physical. And we were the same. We each had a few opportunities and in the end neither team was able to put one away. And unfortunately we had to go to penalty kicks and obviously there has to be a winner.”

On advancing to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup:
"For all of us, from an experience standpoint, it was amazing. To be able to play in a U-20 World Cup, make it all the way to the quarterfinals and go to PKs. Obviously it’s unfortunate to lose like that but there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

On what he can learn from a tournament like this:
“I think I learned a lot about myself in this tournament, especially going from not playing in the first game. I learned to really take my opportunity. Also when a group comes together like this, towards the end you realize what the group had. I look at ourselves and I see us as more than a team, I see us as brothers. I see all of us at the end of the game crying because of how bad we wanted it, not only for ourselves but for everyone else around us, everyone back home watching and supporting us, and people who flew here to support us. So for us to be able to form a brotherhood like we did to get this far in the World Cup was amazing.”

U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN

On the way the match ended:
"I’m very proud of how the guys fought for the whole 120 minutes. They left it all on the field and I couldn’t be more proud of that. It wasn’t the way we intended to go out, we wanted to keep this run going and get to the semis, but that’s soccer.”

On his standout play in the tournament:
“I try to stay grounded. My mom and whole family has always taught us to be humble and to stay grounded, so I don’t think of my play in that way. I want to keep improving and to stay focused. I’m going to go home for a couple weeks and then get back to Freiberg and continue working hard there.”

One what he can take away from playing in the U-20 World Cup:
“You learn a lot. You learn from your teammates and yourself when you’re with a group for so long with everyone focused on the same goals. You learn a lot about soccer with the great coaching. And you learn a lot about what you can continue improving on from the opponents you face and the games.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder EMERSON HYNDMAN

On the match:
"It was a tough game I think for both teams. We really put everything out there and so did they. It went all the way to 120 minutes when it looked like either of us could have broke through at some point in the game. Then it went down to penalties and anything can happen there.”

On what he got out of his leadership role as captain of the team:
“It was nice to be the captain of a World Cup team. Any time you can help a group, especially your teammates that you hang around with all the team, in a game is always a joy. And this is such a great group, they’re all leaders anyway. All I had to do was help out a little bit and represent us.”

On what he can take away from the tournament for his future:
“This was the first for a lot of us. Qualifying, we thought was long at the time. But to really prepare mentally for each and every game in a World Cup is much different. It’s obviously much more competitive in terms of every team in the World Cup qualified from different regions, and they each have different styles. So I think this experience in preparing for and playing these different opponents will help all of us in the long run.”

On how he looks back at the tournament:
“It was awesome. It was a great month. To play in a World Cup, and in New Zealand, a place I didn’t know I’d ever visit. And to share these moments and experiences with a great group of guys and coaching staff and all the staff behind the scenes – It was a joy.”

Valiant U-20 MNT Effort Comes Up Short in PK Loss to Serbia

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (June 14, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team saw its run in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup come to an end at North Harbour Stadium after falling in penalty kicks to Serbia. The game went scoreless through regulation and extra time, but Serbia ultimately prevailed with a 6-5 shootout victory to advance to the semifinals.

Stout defensive performances from both sides limited scoring opportunities to a premium and the result was a 0-0 game when the whistle blew to signal the end of regulation. In extra time, play opened up, but valiant efforts from USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Serbian goalie Predrag Rajkovic held the 0-0 score line through the additional 30 minutes.

After a back and forth affair, where both the U.S. and Serbia survived must-make and must-save scenarios, it was Nemanja Maksimovic who sent a rocket of a PK into the upper left corner to propel Serbia on to the next round of the tournament.

The semifinal round will be played on Wednesday, June 17, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, where Serbia faces Mali and Brazil takes on Senegal.  

Goal Scoring Rundown:
None

Penalty Kick Summary:
USA: Rubio Rubin stepped up first for the U.S. and had his shot saved by Predrag Rajkovic. Desevio Payne sent a rocket into the left side on the USA’s next attempt to level 1-1. Paul Arriola punched in the third attempt by smashing in a shot to the left of the goalie. The captain, Emerson Hyndman ripped in attempt No. 4 to put the U.S. up 3-2. Gedion Zelalem sent in his PK into the right side for the fourth-straight score for the USA. Joel Soñora went for the upper right corner on U.S. attempt No. 5 but hit his shot off the post. Marko Delgado rolled in the next attempt to put the U.S. up 5-4. Cameron Carter-Vickers then sent his shot over the bar, and in the final round, John Requejo’s attempt was saved by Rajkovic.
SRB: Sasa Zdjelar followed the Rubin miss by blasting his PK into the top right to put Serbia up 1-0. Stanisa Mandic missed the target completely on the Serbians’ second attempt, which kept the score level at 1-1. Steffen guessed right on Srdan Babic’s attempt, Serbia’s third, but it rolled under him to level at 2-2. Marko Grujic hit in the fourth attempt to tie it 3-3. Andrija Zivkovic scored the must-make fifth attempt to keep Serbia alive. Predag Rajkovic called his own number for Serbia’s sixth attempt, which could’ve been the game-winner, but Steffen made a diving save to preserve U.S. hopes. Nemanja Antonov converted the next Serbia penalty to level 5-5. On Serbia’s next PK Steffen came up big again to keep the U.S. alive when he saved Milos Veljkovic’s shot. Nemanja Maksimovic sent a rocket into the upper left corner and out of Steffen’s reach to win the game for Serbia 6-5.

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Zack Steffen, 38th minute: Serbia’s Nemanja Antonov received a pass at the top of the box and decided to promptly rip a shot from 20 yards out. The left footed strike spun and rose from right to left and Steffen jumped and bumped it over the bar.

USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers, 54th minute: Good movement off the ball from Serbia led the team into a dangerous area in the penalty box. Serbia attempted a cross in front of goal, but Cameron Carter-Vickers stepped in just in time and cleared it far and away to safety.

USA – Zack Steffen, 68th minute: A foul set up Serbia with a free kick from 24 yards out, a range that they had buried from earlier in the tournament. Gacinovic’s strike was low and hard and bent toward the lower left corner of goal. Steffen dove and just reached the ball, knocking it out of bounds and preserving the clean sheet.

USA – Zack Steffen 82rd minute: Serbia once again attacked from the left and Stanisa Mandic freed himself up for a shot from the left. He sent a rocket of a shot across the mouth of the goal and towards the upper right corner, but Steffen made a diving save away where it was picked up by a U.S. defender

USA-Zack Steffen Penalty Kick Shootout: On two separate occasions where a Serbia goal would have ended the game, Steffen came up big, both times diving to his right and saving to keep U.S. hopes alive.

Additional Notes:

  • This was the fifth time in 14 U-20 World Cup/Youth Championship appearances that the USA advanced to the quarterfinals. The team is now 1-3-1 all-time in quarterfinal matches.
  • Tommy Thompson and John Requejo made their first starts of the tournament.
  • Zack Steffen, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Marko Delgado and Emerson Hyndman were the only U.S. players to start every game of the tournament.
  • After injuries and suspensions, only four U.S. field players were available for substitution in the game: Erik Palmer Brown, Shaq Moore, Conor Donovan and Joel Soñora.
  • The match was the first meeting between the USA and Serbia at a U-20 World Cup.
  • Since 1997 the U.S. has reached the quarterfinal three times and all three matches have required extra time.
  • The clean sheet was the second straight for the USA. Prior to this tournament, the USA last recorded a clean sheet in a U-20 World Cup knockout round match in 2003 when the U.S. downed Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Round of 16. Tonight's shutout is the third all-time for the U.S. U-20 MNT in knockout round play at a FIFA U-20 World Youth Championship/World Cup.
  • In addition to his two penalty kick saves tonight, Steffen also made a penalty kick save in the Round of 16 game against Colombia.
  • The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. That year the USA fell to Nigeria in overtime in the Semifinal before losing to Brazil, 2-0, in the Third/Fourth Place match.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Serbia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: June 14, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand; Quarterfinals
Venue: North Harbour Stadium; Auckland, New Zealand
Kickoff: 12:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 10,826
Weather: 56 degrees, wind and rain

Scoring Summary:   1          2          ET1     ET2     F
USA    0          0          0          0          0
SRB      0          0          0          0          0

Penalty Kick Summary:
USA – Rubio Rubín (saved), Desevio Payne (goal), Paul Arriola (goal), Emerson Hyndman (goal), Gedion Zelalem (goal), Joel Soñora (missed), Marco Delgado (goal), Cameron Carter-Vickers (missed), John Requejo (saved)

SRB - Sasa Zdjelar (goal), Stanisa Mandic (missed), Srdan Babic (goal), Marko Grujic (goal), Andrija Zivkovic (goal), Predag Rajkovic (saved), Nemanja Antonov (goal), Milos Veljkovic (saved), Nemanja Maksimovic (goal)

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 17-Desavio Payne, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga 3-John Requejo; 15-Marky Delgado, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 19-Gedion Zelalem, 7-Paul Arriola; 13-Tommy Thompson (10-Joel Soñora, 103), 9-Rubio Rubin
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Thomas Olsen, 21-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaquell Moore, 11-Bradford Jamieson IV, 16-Conor Donovan, 18-Erik Palmer-Brown
Head coach: Tab Ramos

SRB: 1-Predag Rajkovic (capt.); 3-Nemanja Antonov, 4-Sasa Zdjelar, 5-Milos Veljkovic, 6-Srdan Babic; 8-Nemanja Maksimovic, 9-Stanisa Mandic, 10-Mijat Gacinovic (7-Ivan Saponic, 68), 11-Andrija Zivkovic; 15-Miladin Stevanovic, 20-Sergej Milinkovic (16-Marko Grujic, 111)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Filip Manojlovic, 21-Vanja Milinkovic, 13-Stefan Milosevic, 14-Vukasin Jovanovic, 17-Radovan Pankov, 18-Jankovic, 19-Stefan Ilic.
Head coach: Veljko Paunovic (SRB)

Stats Summary: USA / SRB
Shots: 8 / 19
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 7
Fouls: 22 / 27
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
SRB – Nemanja Antonov (caution)    64th minute
USA – John Requejo (caution)           66
SRB – Stanisa Mandic  (caution)       78

Officials:
Referee: Artur Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Barbosa (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Alvaro Daniel Carvalho Mesquita (POR)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Marques (BRA)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

U-20 MNT Faces Quarterfinal Showdown against Serbia

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will meet Serbia in the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday, June 14, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. The match will be broadcast live in the U.S. on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, Telemundo and NBC Universo with kickoff set for 12:30 a.m. ET (9:30 p.m. PT on June 13). Fans can also follow the match live on twitter at @usscocer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

The USA advanced to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Colombia in the Round of 16. Serbia defeated Ukraine in extra time 2-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The winner the USA-Serbia match will play the winner between Germany and Mali in the semifinals. The other side of the bracket sees Brazil meet Portugal and Senegal confront Uzbekistan. All four quarterfinal matches take place on June 14 in four New Zealand cities.

USA TEAM NOTES:

  • Rubio Rubin and Emerson Hyndman, the two players who have earned caps with the senior National Team, lead the U-20 MNT at the World Cup with two goals apiece. Maki Tall, Bradford Jamieson and Paul Arriola have also scored in the tournament.
  • Zach Steffen, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Hyndman, Marky Delgado and Kelly Acosta have started all four matches, with Steffen and Carter-Vickers playing every minute.
  • All 18 field players saw minutes through the first three group games.

DISCIPLINARY REPORT:

  • Acosta and Jordan Allen are suspended for the quarterfinal match after receiving two cautions in the first four games.
  • Shaq Moore, Desevio Payne, Delgado, Matt Miazga and Paul Arriola all carry one caution into the quarterfinal match. Should they receive a caution in the quarterfinal, and the USA wins, they would be ineligible for the semifinal match. Cautions are cleared following the quarterfinals.

U-20 MNT HISTORY AT THE WORLD CUP:

  • This is the fifth time in 14 U-20 World Cup/Youth Championship appearances that the USA has advanced to the quarterfinals. The team is 1-3-0 all-time in quarterfinal matches.
  • The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. That year the USA fell to Nigeria in overtime in the Semifinal before losing to Brazil, 2-0, in the Third/Fourth Place match.
  • The 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia featured 16 teams divided into four groups, with the top two teams after group play advancing to the quarterfinals. The USA finished second in Group C after tying Mali 1-1, defeating Germany 2-0, and losing to Brazil 3-1. In the quarterfinal match, the USA defeated Iraq 2-1 behind goals from Chris Henderson and Dario Brose.

1989 U-20 MNT World Cup team
The 1989 U.S. U-20 MNT featured the talents of players like Kasey Keller (back row center), Troy Dayak (front row, second from right) and Steve Snow (front row, second from left).

  • The 1993 tournament in Australia utilized the same format and number of teams. The USA finished second in Group C after defeating Turkey 6-0, losing to England 1-0, and drawing South Korea 2-2. The USA was matched with Brazil in the Quarterfinal where they fell 3-0.
  • The 2003 U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates was the fourth tournament in which 24 teams participated, with the top two from each group plus the top four third place finishers advancing to the Round of 16. The USA won Group F with a 3-1 victory against Paraguay, a 3-1 loss to Germany, and a 2-0 win over South Korea and then defeated Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinal, the USA lost to Argentina on a golden goal in extra time. Bobby Convey put the USA ahead in the 59th minute, but Argentina’s Javier Mascherano tied the match four minutes into second half stoppage time. In overtime, Fernando Cavenaghi converted a 100th minute penalty kick to win the match for Argentina.
  • The last time the USA advanced to the quarterfinals was in 2007 in Canada. The USA won Group D after tying South Korea 1-1, defeating Poland 6-1, and beating Brazil 2-1. In the Round of 16, the USA defeated Uruguay 2-1 in extra time. Trailing 1-0 on a goal by Luis Suarez, the USA received an 87th minute own goal to tie, and Michael Bradley scored the game-winner in the 107th minute. In the quarterfinal against Austria, Jozy Altidore put the USA ahead in the 15th, but Austria tied the match just before the half and won it on a 105th minute goal by Erwin Hoffer.

THE BOOK ON SERBIA:

  • From FIFA.com: Serbia is making its U-20 World Cup debut as an independent nation at New Zealand 2015. The former Yugoslavia (of which Serbia was one a part) appeared twice in the competition: Japan 1979 and Chile 1987, winning the title on the second occasion.
  • Serbia went undefeated in the 2014 UEFA Europe’s U-19 Championship through all three stages, posting 6 wins and four draws. Upon finishing second in the final group stage with a win against Bulgaria and draws against fellow U-20 World Cup participants, Germany and Ukraine, the Serbs fell to 2015 U-20 World Cup quarterfinalists Portugal in the UEFA Championship semifinals on penalty kicks after a scoreless match.
  • At the 2015 U-20 World Cup, Serbia won Group D with six points (2-1-0). After losing the opener to Uruguay 1-0, Serbia defeated Mali and Mexico by the same 2-0 score. In the Round of 16, Serbia defeated Hungary 2-1 after extra time due to a Hungary own goal.
  • Serbia head coach Veljko Paunovic ended his 18-year career with the Philadelphia Union in 2012. He made 17 regular season and one playoff appearance for the Union in 2011, scoring three goals.

Quote Sheet: Ramos, Miazga, Rubin, Arriola and Steffen Celebrate Round of 16 Win

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Quote Sheet
USA 1, COL 0
June 10, 2015

U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS

On the win and advancing to the Quarterfinals:
“Very excited about the win. It’s really difficult to win games at this stage in the World Cup. I’m very happy for the players because they deserve it, They’ve put in a great effort so far. But we felt like today was the start of the tournament for us, so I feel like we’re not done. We have a game coming up and we’re looking forward to the next one and getting through to the next round.”

On how the match played out:
“We came into the game trying to press them high and try to get turnovers on their side of the field, which we did pretty well for the first 15-20 minutes. The last 15 minutes of the first half, were, I thought, poor on our side because we weren’t able to hold on to possession of the ball. But I felt that in the second half the team really turned it around. We got the goal and then for about the next 20 minutes we had a good opportunity to put the game away. We had a lot of one-on-ones in the back that we didn’t take advantage of. And obviously the last ten minutes of the game, like all great teams, we knew Colombia was going to throw everything forward and they did, and I’m really proud of the guys and the effort they made to hold on to the win.”

On Rubio Rubin’s hard work and goal:
“I wish I could tell you I was impressed by Rubio tonight, but I’m really not because I know he’s that kind of player. I said to him before, coming into the game tonight, that he needs to be one of those number 9’s that people talk about when this tournament’s over. And I think today he took a big step towards that.”

On what impressed him most of the match:
"I think that in the second half we started getting a hold of the ball. I like the way that Gedion (Zelalem) started feeling more confident with the team. Obviously, as you know, he hasn’t been with us for a long time and I think he’s starting to feel more confident and I think the rest of the team is starting to feel more confident with him. The same goes for the rest of the group. I’m very happy with the performance, in particular in the last ten minutes under very difficult circumstances; we held our own pretty well. All these games are very difficult, so I’m very proud of the team and I think more importantly that this is a great experience for them that they’ll take on hopefully to the senior team.”

On Zack Steffen making a big penalty kick save similar to the WCQ match vs. El Salvador:
“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I thought he was going to save it. And I thought the same against El Salvador. We have that type of confidence in our goalkeeper, and I thought that he would come up big – he always does, and it’s kind of expected at this point. So I’m very happy for him. Obviously it’s very difficult to save a penalty and he did it.”

On if he has any complaints on the second yellow card to Kellyn Acosta:
“No, I’m too far away from the play, and I haven’t seen any replays. It is what it is. Kellyn already had a yellow card coming in to this game. He received a yellow card in the first half of this game so he would have been out the next game regardless.”

On what he told the team at halftime after it seemed Colombia had better possession in the first half:
“That’s a good point, because that’s something that we thought we were lacking. We’re a team that likes to have the ball, and one of the things we said to the players at halftime was to play with more confidence, to play into traffic and to play the ball into the middle of the field and to our good players who can hold it. And I think we did a much better job in the second half. Once we did that the game opened up for us and it became a little bit easier.”

On the injury to Bradford Jamieson (TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH):
“At this time, I don’t have more information. I know he’s doing ok; he’s in the hospital with his mom. They are still evaluating him to see exactly what happened. But in general he is well, he is stable, and he’s with his mom, so that’s good.”

U.S. U-20 MNT defender MATT MIAZGA

On what the defense did to record the shutout:
"I feel like the whole game we were pretty organized. We had two blocks of four, and I think everyone on the field died for each other tonight. We emptied our tanks and we were organized and we fought for every ball.”

On Zack Steffen’s penalty kick save:
“At that moment I was a little bit shocked that we gave up the PK. But I had a gut feeling that Zack would save it – I had a quick flash back to the El Salvador game where Zack made a huge save as well. And Zack did the job and we were there to clear it. We finished the game strong, got the shutout and most important got the big victory.”

U.S. U-20 MNT forward RUBIO RUBIN

On his high work-rate in the match:
"My role today was to make the center backs’ job very complicated. Whenever the ball would come to me, I would try to push them off and get the ball and be able to have the whole team go forward. They were attacking a lot so I wanted to be able to hold the ball a lot so my teammates could get forward. And I think for the defenders, they weren’t able to mark me as they wanted to. But it was a good performance from the whole team and a fantastic win.”

On his goal:
“The ball landed right to Paul Arriola and he shot it. I was kind of jumping for the handball to the ref and the ball landed right at my feet. I just tried to do my best to get under it, wished for the best and smashed it into the goal. So, happy with the goal but it was a fantastic win.”

On Zack Steffens’ save:
“There was a lot of nerves. I was on the ground, pretty much, praying a little bit for Zack to save it, and he came up clutch for us. He had a great game, and for me he was the Man of the Match. He helped us get this win.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder PAUL ARRIOLA

On what was the key to the win:
"The hard work and dedication, not only myself but everyone else. We died for each other on the field. We saved each other; when someone was down, we helped them up. When someone was out of position we got into position. I think that’s the way our team is built. Not only are we good with the ball and can keep the ball at times. There’s going to be times when other teams are better than us or having a better game than us, and so today we just showed the hard work and dedication and we stayed in it.”

U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN

On the play of the defense in front to help get the shutout:
"I thought the whole backline, the midfield, they were all very connected. The communication out there tonight was a lot better than it has been in the past. And I thought Matt (Miazga) and Cam (Carter-Vickers) did block a lot of shots. That was great for the team to be able to step up and make the big plays.”

On his penalty kick save:
“It’s always nice to make the big plays for your team. They’re doing most of the work the whole game, so when a big opportunity comes to me like that, you welcome it and just try to stay focused and hope that you can make the big play. Luckily I did tonight.”

USA Off to U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals After 1-0 Defeat of Colombia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (June 10, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team took down Colombia 1-0, in the Round of 16 to advance to the Quarterfinal Round at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007.

After a scoreless first half, Colombia applied heavy pressure to begin the final 45 minutes. Midway through the period however, the U.S. found its footing and was rewarded when forward Rubio Rubin collected a missed clearance from Colombia inside the box to net the game-winning goal of the match.

The goal was Rubin’s second of the tournament. He also scored during the USA’s 4-0 victory over New Zealand in the USA’s second group game.

Late in the second half, defender Kellyn Acosta was called for a foul inside the U.S. box, earning him his second yellow card of the match and giving Colombia an opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot. With the USA down to 10 men, Jarlan Barrera stepped up for Colombia, but U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen came up big, guessing correctly to the left side and punching the ball out to keep Colombia off the score board.

The U.S. advances to play Serbia in the Quarterfinal Round at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The USA will play on Sunday, June 14, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Kickoff is set for 12:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go and NBC Universo. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Rubio Rubin, 58th: Following a goal kick clearance by Steffen, a couple of U.S. players jumped up to get the ball and control it past midfield. Emerson Hyndman got to it first, heading it down to Paul Arriola, who received it and tried to get off a shot. Colombia’s Juan Quintero was able to block Arriola’s attempt but was unable to fully clear it. Rubio Rubin collected the rebound and from the right side of the box, shot to the near post with his right foot from about five yards out for the USA’s game-winning goal. USA 1, COL 0 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Zack Steffen, 46th minute: Colombia’s Jarlan Barrera found himself alone after leaving his defenders behind inside the USA box. He ran forward, matching up one-on-one with Steffen. Steffen was alert and came out to grab the ball before Barrera could do anything, denying a scoring opportunity.

USA – Zack Steffen and Matt Miazga, 50th minute: In another point-blank shot opportunity for Colombia, Steven Lucumi ran towards the USA net, passing defender Matt Miazga on his way. Steffen again was ready, stepping out of his goal to block the shot then getting help from Miazga, who made the final clearance.

USA – Zack Steffen (penalty kick save), 83rd minute: Kellyn Acosta challenged a play inside the box on the right side from behind and was called for a foul, granting a penalty kick in favor of Los Cafeteros. Acosta received his second yellow of the game for the foul, thus leaving the USA with 10 men on the field as Colombia prepared to take the penalty shot. Jarlan Barrera stepped up to take the shot but his attempt was s by Zack Stuffed out by Seffen, who threw his body to his right side to punch the ball out and preserve the USA lead.

USA – Paul Arriola, 84th minute: Once again, Jarlan Barrera created a dangerous play as he was in a good spot from the top of the box to send a bullet shot straight toward the USA net. This time, it was midfielder Paul Arriola, who was locked in and made a spectacular save off the line, heading the ball away from the net and keeping Colombia at bay.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. U-20 MNT advances to play Serbia in the quarterfinals at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Sunday, June 14. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, NBC Universo
Social: Twitter @ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 6-7-0 all-time against CONMEBOL teams at the U-20 World Cup.
  • After losing its first six meetings against South American teams from 1981-1997, the USA has gone 6-1 against its southern continental neighbors, including wins in the final four meetings: defeating Argentina 1-0 in 2005; 2-1 victories over Brazil and Uruguay in 2007, and tonight's 1-0 win over Colombia.
  • The USA last advanced beyond the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007, when it downed Uruguay 2-1 after extra time in Toronto courtesy of an Uruguay own goal and a strike from current senior Men’s National Team captain Michael Bradley.
  • The USA has advanced past the Round of 16 on three previous occasions: in 2007 (finished 7th overall), 2003 (finished 5th overall) and in 1989 (finished 4th overall).
  • This was the first victory for the USA against Colombia in the teams' only meeting in U-20 World Cup play.
  • The USA last recorded a clean sheet in a U-20 World Cup knockout round match in 2003 when the U.S. downed Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Round of 16. Tonight's shutout is the second all-time for the U.S. U-20 MNT in knockout round play at a FIFA U-20 World Youth Championship/World Cup.
  • Rubio Rubin’s goal was his second of the tournament. He last scored during the USA’s 4-0 win over New Zealand in its second group stage match of the competition.
  • Rubin, who alongside Emerson Hyndman is the only player to have been capped at the senior level, made his MNT debut for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann against then No.3-ranked Colombia last November in a friendly in London. Hyndman made his debut during the second half of the U.S. MNT’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in September 2014. 
  • Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kellyn Acosta, Hyndman, Zack Steffen and Marky Delgado, all were starters in tonight’s match. They were the only players to start all three group stage matches for the USA as well.
  • Steffen recorded his eighth career shutout and second of the 2015 U-20 World Cup.
  • Due to his ejection from tonight’s game, Acosta will have to sit out the USA’s quarterfinal match against Serbia on June 14.
  • Additionally, forward Bradford Jamieson was injured early in the game and was taken off in the 11th minute. He was taken to a local hospital where he is being evaluated further.
  • The USA’s three substitutions of the game were: Jordan Allen for Jamieson, John Requejo for Paul Arriola and Tommy Thompson for Gedion Zelalem. The appearance was the 20th for Thompson with the U-20’s, a leading mark among the roster.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: June 10, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand
Kickoff: 3:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 6062
Weather: 54 degrees; Windy

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

USA – Rubio Rubin    58th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 17-Desevio Payne, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga, 6-Kellyn Acosta; 15-Marky Delgado, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 19-Gedion Zelalem (13-Tommy Thompson, 87), 7-Paul Arriola (3-John Requejo, 84); 9-RubioRubin, 11-Bradford Jamieson IV (20-Jordan Allen, 11)
Subs Not Used: 12-Thomas Olsen, 21-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaquell Moore, 10-Joel Soñora, 16-Conor Donovan, 18-ErikPalmer-Brown
Head coach: Tab Ramos

COL: 1-Alvaro Montero (capt.); 3-Jeison Angulo, 5-Juan Quintero, 6-Andres Tello, 8-Alexis Zapata (9-Joao Rodriguez, 72); 11-Steven Lucumi (18-Carlos Ibarguen, 64), 13-Davinson Sanchez, 14-Rodin Quiñones, 16-Jarlan Barrera; 19-Victor Gutierrez (7-Deinner Quiñones, 60), 20-Santos Borre
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Luis Vasquez, 2-Aldayr Hernandez, 4-Daniel Londoño, 10-Sergio Villareal, 15-Jhoan Ayala, 17-Juan Otero, 21-Yasser Chavez (GK)
Head coach: Carlos Alberto Restrepo

Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 8 / 24
Shots on Goal: 2 / 3
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 17 / 16
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
COL – Juan Quintero (caution)          20th minute
USA – Paul Arriola (caution)             26
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)           34
COL – Andres Tello (caution)             49
COL – Jeison (caution)                       54
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)           81
USA – Kellyn Acosta (ejection)          81
COL – Jarlan Barrera (caution)           86
USA - Jordan Allen (caution)              86

Officials:
Referee: Antonio Ivan Bebek (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomislav Petrovic (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Miro Grgic (CRO)
Fourth Official: Matt Conger (NZL)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Zack Steffen and Rubio Rubin

U-20 MNT Set for Clash with Colombia in Round of 16

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Wellington, New Zealand

U-20 MNT BATTLES COLOMBIA IN ROUND OF 16: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will look to advance to the Quarterfinals at the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup when it meets Colombia on Wednesday, June 10 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. The match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, Telemundo and NBC Universo with kickoff set for 3:30 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on twitter at @usscocer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

HOW WE GOT HERE: The USA finished second in Group A, after defeating Myanmar 2-1, overpowering New Zealand, 4-0 and dropping its final match to Ukraine, 0-3. Meanwhile, Colombia finished second in Group C with a 1-1-1 record, after it defeated Qatar (1-0), tied Senegal (1-1) and lost its final group match to Portugal (1-3).

Despite all six FIFA confederations being represented in the Round of 16, the USA is the sole CONCACAF team to advance to the knockout round, while Colombia joins Uruguay and Brazil as the three members of CONMEBOL in the Round of 16 after Argentina failed to advance.

USA NOTES:

  • Five different players have accounted for the USA’s six goals in the tournament, matching the most ever in the competition. U.S. captain Emerson Hyndman has scored twice, while Maki Tall, Bradford Jamieson IV, Rubio Rubin, and Paul Arriola have scored one each.
  • The other two times a USA U-20 World Cup team featured five different goal scorers was in 1993 and 2003.
  • Hyndman, Zack Steffen, Marky Delgado, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Kellyn Acosta are the only players to start all three of the USA’s matches thus far in New Zealand. Rubin, Jamieson IV, Joel Soñora and Gedion Zelalem have also appeared in all three matches as either starters or off the bench.
  • All 18 field players saw minutes in the group stage.
  • Steffen, Carter-Vickers and Acosta have played every minute of all three matches.
  • The only players who have yet to see any action are goalkeepers Jeff Caldwell and Thomas Olsen.
  • With goals against Myanmar and New Zealand, Hyndman became the first U.S. player to score in consecutive U-20 World Cup games since Jozy Altidore in 2007.
  • Five different players have also accounted for the five assists: Carter-Vickers, Jamieson IV, Rubin, Zelalem, and Desevio Payne.
  • Tall suffered an injury to his left foot during the USA’s first group match and has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament. He was the second player lost due to injury following Russell Canouse, who was replaced by Conor Donovan days prior to the opening match of the tournament.
  • Shaq Moore, Payne, Delgado, Jordan Allen, Matt Miazga and Acosta received one yellow card apiece during the group stage. If any of those players receives a second caution in the Round of 16 and the USA wins, the player will have to sit out a match, missing the USA’s quarterfinal game. All cautions are waived following the quarterfinal round.
  • This is the USA’s 14th appearance in a FIFA U-20 World Cup. The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. That year the USA fell to Nigeria in overtime in the Semifinal before losing to Brazil, 2-0, in the Third/Fourth Place match.
  • This is the ninth time in 14 appearances that a USA team has advanced out of the group stage.
  • This is the first time the USA has advanced to the knockout stage since 2007, when the team defeated Uruguay in the Round of 16 and fell to Australia in the Quarterfinals.
  • The USA did not make it out of group play in 2009, did not qualify for the 2011 tournament, and failed to advance from group play in 2013.

USA VS. COLOMBIA:

  • Colombia has qualified for the U-20 World Cup on nine occasions. Its best finish was third place in the 2003 edition, when they defeated Argentina in the Third/Fourth Place match after losing to Spain in the Semifinals.
  • Colombia has advanced to the Round of 16 in five U-20 World Cups: 2015, 2013, 2011, 2005, and 2003.
  • In 2013, Colombia was eliminated in the Round of 16 by South Korea on penalty kicks after tying 1-1 through overtime. As hosts in 2011, Colombia defeated Costa Rica 3-2 in the Round of 16 before falling to Mexico, 1-3, in the Quarterfinals.
  • The USA and Colombia have never met at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. On the international stage, the two have met twice in other competitions: at the 1993 U-17 World Cup (a 1-2 U.S. loss), and at the 1994 FIFA World Cup (a 2-1 win), which featured current U-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
  • The USA is 5-7-0 all-time against CONMEBOL teams at the U-20 World Cup.
  • After losing its first six meetings against South American teams from 1981-1997, the USA has gone 5-1 against its southern continental neighbors, including wins in the final three meetings: defeating Argentina 1-0 in 2005 and with 2-1 victories over Brazil and Uruguay in 2007.
  • Colombia is 3-2-0 all-time against CONCACAF teams. Its last two meetings were in 2013 when they defeated Costa Rica 3-2 in group play before losing to Mexico 1-3 in the Round of 16.

Quote Sheet: Ramos, Palmer-Brown, Acosta, Allen, Delgado, Jamieson Talk Final U-20 Group Stage Game

U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS

On his thoughts on the match:
“Well, obviously it was a very difficult match for us. We wanted to do all we could to not let the game open up. I thought the guys did a pretty good job for a long period of time. Unfortunately it was a free kick goal that opened up the game a little bit. We got right back in it by getting a PK that unfortunately we couldn’t convert. And then obviously the game opened up, and Ukraine is too fast for us. They play that counter attack game really well and when you let the game open up that way, you can find yourself in trouble against them, and we did.”

On positives going in to the next round:
"
I think we have a lot of positives going to the next round. The number one priority today – we knew we were in the second round – but obviously we had some guys with yellow cards, and we tried to protect them. Unfortunately late in the first half Marky (Delgado) got a yellow card as well, so we had to take him off the field. Obviously we wanted to win the game, but we wanted to get to the second round with our full squad ready to go, and I think we ended the game with everyone available, and everyone’s healthy for the next game so I think we’re in good shape.”

On the longer break between tonight and the Round of 16 match:
“I think that’s a great thing. Now we have five days. Guys can have a day off now, which can be great for them. We get to move to another city, which is also good, I think. And in the end we’re in a good spot. We’re going to be playing a competitive game, but I’m confident that we’re ready to go for the next round.”

On if coming in second in the group is a disadvantage:
“No not really. Look, you want to come in first place because it takes your team’s good momentum into the second round. But at this point, any team we play is going to be a good team, so it doesn’t really matter.”

U.S. U-20 MNT defender ERIK PALMER-BROWN

On if the team can take any positives out of the match:
"It’s a tough loss, obviously. But there are positives coming out of it. We have everyone healthy going into the next round. We have five days to get our rest and have another game to look forward to.”

On is losing the third group match takes anything away from the early start:
“A little bit, because we made history winning the first two games and to get the sweep would have been great.”

On making his World Cup debut and having all 19 field players play in the group matches:
“This roster right now is 20 players deep. We feel like anyone that goes out there can get the job done. It’s great to have the feeling that if yellow card accumulation or injuries, anyone can step up. For me it’s a great feeling to get my debut to have that feeling amongst the team.”

U.S. U-20 MNT defender KELLYN ACOSTA

On what went against the U.S. in the match:
"I think we came out kind of flat. They put a little pressure on us, and they beat us to 50-50 balls. It got tough but we held them off in the first half, so I think we did a decent job. In the second half, they got that free kick in and the game started opening up from there and that’s how they put a couple goals on us. I know we ended up missing the PK, but I think the game just wasn’t going our way – we just weren’t connected fully. We’ll use this as a learning experience and get ready for the next round.”

On if the loss can affect the team:
“We’re kind of down right now, but starting tomorrow we have to put our attention on our second round match. We’ll look at the video and see what we need to do better, but all our results from group play are now in the past. Moving forward we have five days to get ready for whoever we play next, and we won’t be thinking about the games we won or the one we didn’t.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder JORDAN ALLEN

On the difference between the New Zealand match and tonight:
"I just don’t we kept the ball as well as we did against New Zealand. Our energy probably wasn’t the same. You can hold off a team for 60 minutes or so like we did, but eventually when you’re sitting back so far, not keeping possession of the ball, it’s going to come back to haunt you.”

On putting the loss behind them:
“We don’t have a choice, we have to get it out of our head. From here on out and just win or go home, so we’re going to start preparing for the next game. Obviously we’re disappointed about this result, but it’s more important for us look forward.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder MARKY DELGADO

On his thoughts on the match:
"I felt like we sat back a little bit more than we’re used to, that’s not really our style of play. Knowing that we could get through with either a tie or a win, we kind of let off a little bit. We gave them too much respect, and that’s not what we usually do. We usually go after them right away and set the tempo, and I felt like we didn’t do that today.”

On leaving the result behind:
“It’s a lesson learned. Most of us here are professionals. We all have bad games – bad games come here and there, and unfortunately it came today. We’ll just learn from it and move forward.”

U.S. U-20 MNT forward BRADFORD JAMIESON

On the match in general:
"We had a game plan and I think we executed well in the first half, but obviously we fell apart a little bit, and maybe some good individual play on their side and obviously a good free kick on their side. But all we have to do is worry about the next game, obviously we’re on to the next round. We have to capitalize on whoever we’re playing in the next match.”  

On if the team can learn from the match:
"It all depends on how we take it. We can look at ourselves and say ‘ah, we lost the last match of the group stage and we wanted to win to have good momentum going in to the next game. Or we can say we have to really prove ourselves…this is the real deal, this is what we come to the World Cup for, to show that we can compete with the big guys.” 

U-20 MNT Awaits Round of 16 Opponent after Second-Place Finish in Group A

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (June 5, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team dropped its final match of Group A at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, falling 3-0 to Ukraine at North Harbor Stadium in Auckland.

With the loss, the USA (2-1-0; 6 points) finishes Group A in second place behind first-place Ukraine (2-0-1; 7 points) and ahead of New Zealand (1-1-1; 4 points) and Myanmar  (0-3-0; 0 points).

The U.S. now awaits the conclusion of the group stage matches to find out its opponent for the Round of 16, which will be the second seed of Group C (Portugal, Colombia or Senegal). After two games, Portugal leads Group C with six points followed by Colombia with four, Senegal with one and Qatar with zero.

The U.S. will play on June 10 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Kickoff is set for 3:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go and NBC Universo. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

After an even first half, Ukraine came out strong in the second frame, taking advantage of its set pieces and multiple opportunities. Vicktor Kovalenko was the spark for the Europeans, scoring all three goals. The USA had a chance to tie the match after the first Ukraine score in the 59th minute when a penalty was awarded to the Red, White and Blue following a foul on Jordan Allen. However, Emerson Hyndman’s attempt was saved, keeping the U.S. off the board.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
UKR – Viktor Kovalenko, 56th minute: After Cameron Carter-Vickers got called for a foul right outside the USA box, Ukraine lined up at about 20 yards from the goal to take its free kick. Viktor Kovalenko stepped up to take it and sent a perfectly curved ball up and over the wall of USA defenders, right into the lower left corner of the net and past Zack Steffen’s outstretched arms for the first score of the night. USA 0, UKR 1

UKR – Viktor Kovalenko (Eduard Sobol), 74th minute: Ukraine attacked up the left flank and Vladyslav Kabaiev laid it off to Eduard Sobol, who had overlapped him. Sobol cut it back quickly for Viktor Kovalenko, who shot it across the goalmouth past Steffen and inside the far post for his second strike. USA 0, UKR 2

UKR – Viktor Kovalenko (Artem Biesiedin), 79th minute: Artem Biesiedin played the ball into U.S. territory and evaded a couple of defenders outside the box to send a pass to Kovalenko, who was waiting on the left side of the penalty area. U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen came out of his net as he tried to block Kovalenko’s attempt; however Kovalenko sent the ball to the far post, diagonal from where Steffen was, to complete his hat trick performance. USA 0, UKR 3 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Zack Steffen, 44th and 45th minute: Artem Biesiedin had back-to-back chances at the end of the first half to put Ukraine on the board. First, he sent a right-footed shot from the left side of the box that ended up right in Steffen’s arms, and another straight-on blast from 20 yards out that Steffen once again was able to corral in order to avoid a Ukrainian tally in the opening half.  

UKR – Roman Pidkivka, 59th minute: USA’s Jordan Allen went down inside the box on the left side, and got the penalty kick call from the referee. Emerson Hyndman stepped up to take the shot, but Roman Pidkivka correctly guessed Hyndman’s direction, leaning to his right side and extending his arms to push the ball out of bounds for a USA corner.

USA – Zack Steffen, 65th minute: Viktor Kovalenko pressured Zack Steffen and the U.S. defense constantly in the second half, especially with his set piece plays. On yet another free kick, Kovalenko sent a great ball from the right side of the 18-yard box towards the middle of the box to try to find a teammate who could finish. This time however, Steffen came out and punched the ball out of danger quickly.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. U-20 MNT opponent is still TBD (No. 2 Group C), but the U.S. will play on June 10 in the Round of 16, when the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup enters the knockout stage. Kickoff is set for 3:30 a.m. ET at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, NBC Universo
Social: Twitter @ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp

Additional Notes:

  • This is the fifth time the U.S. has finished U-20 World Cup group play with two wins. The others were 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
  • The U.S. advances to the second round of the U-20 World Cup for the ninth time in 14 appearances.
  • Hyndman wore the captain’s armband for the fourth-straight time. He made his debut as captain against Australia during a friendly on May 19.
  • The USA’s three substitutions of the game were: Joel Soñora for Marky Delgado, Rubio Rubin for Jordan Allen and Conor Donovan for Emerson Hyndman, all coming in the second half.
  • Rubin and Hydman are the only two players on the roster to have been capped at the senior level under U.S. MNT head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. Hyndman made his debut during the second half of the U.S. MNT’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in September 2014, and Rubin started against then No. 3-ranked Colombia this past November. 
  • The defense was anchored by Erik Palmer-Brown, Shaquelle Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kellyn Acosta.
  • Carter-Vickers, Acosta, Hyndman, Steffen and Delgado were the only players to start all three group stage matches for the USA.
  • Palmer-Brown made his first start of the tournament against Ukraine and Donovan made his first appearance of the tournament.
  • The USA’s starting lineup had three players born in 1997 for the first time in the tournament: Palmer-Brown, Carter-Vickers and Zelalem.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Ukraine U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: June 5, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand (Group Stage)
Venue: North Harbor Stadium; Auckland, New Zealand
Kickoff: 3:00 a.m. ET
Attendance: 7,694
Weather: 56 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            0          0          0
UKR                           0          3          3

UKR – Viktor Kovalenko        57th minute
UKR – Viktor Kovalenko (Eduard Sobol)  74
UKR – Viktor Kovalenko (Artem Biesiedin) 79

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 2-Shaq Moore, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 18-Erik Palmer-Brown, 6-Kellyn Acosta; 15-Marky Delgado (10-Joel Soñora, 60), 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.) (16-Conor Donovan, 84), 19-Gedion Zelalem, 20-Jordan Allen (9-Rubio Rubin, 67); 7-Paul Arriola, 11-Bradford Jamieson IV
Subs Not Used: 12-Thomas Olsen, 21-Jeff Caldwell, 3-John Requejo, 5-Matt Miazga, 13-Tommy Thompson, 17-Desevio Payne
Head coach: Tab Ramos

UKR: 12-Bohdan Sarnavskyi; 2-Taras Kacharaba, 4-Mykyta Burda, 7-Yevhen Chumak (13-Artem Habelok, 80), 8-Pavlo Polehenko; 9-Vladyslav Kabaiev, 10-Artem Biesiedin (11-Roman Yaremchuk, 85), 14-Valerii Luchkevych, 17-Viktor Kovalenko (5-Yurii Tkachuk, 87); 18-Eduard Sobol, 21-Ihor Kharatin
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Roman Pidkivka, 16-Yevgen Grytsenko, 2-Artur Kunetsov, 6-Viacheslav Tankovskyi, 15-Mykyta Tatarkov, 19-Oleksii Kovtun, 20-Yevhenii Nemtinov
Head coach: Oleksandr Petrakov

Stats Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 13 / 16
Shots on Goal: 2 / 6
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 22 / 15
Offside: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Marky Delgado (caution)        22nd minute
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)           41
USA – Jordan Allen (caution)             65
UKR – Yurii Tkachuk (caution)          89

Officials:
Referee: Eric Otogo-Castane (GAB)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Noupe (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Yahaya Mahamadou (NIG)
Fourth Official: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

U-20 MNT Close Out Group A Play Against Ukraine

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will look to finish undefeated in Group A play at the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup when it tackles Ukraine on Friday, June 5 at the QBE Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. The match will be broadcast live in the U.S. on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go and NBC Universo with kickoff set for 3 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on twitter at @usscocer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp

2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup: 

Group A Standings

GP

W

L

D

GF

GA

GD

PTS

USA

2

2

0

0

6

1

5

6

UKR

2

1

0

1

6

0

6

4

NZL

2

0

1

1

0

4

-4

1

MYA

2

0

2

0

1

8

-7

0

 

With a win or tie, the USA would finish first in Group A and would play a third place finisher in the Round of 16 that would most likely come from Group C, D or E. If the U.S. loses against Ukraine and finished in second place, the as the 2A seed, it would play the 2C seed. Opponents will be revealed tomorrow after all group matches are finished. 

USA NOTES:

  • The USA began group play on May 30, defeating Myanmar 2-1, on goals from forward Maki Tall and midfielder Emerson Hyndman, and kept rolling when it downed tournament-host New Zealand 4-0 on June 2, with goals from Bradford Jamieson IV, Hyndman, Paul Arriola and Rubio Rubin.
  • The win against New Zealand represented the first time in 14 U-20 World Cups/Youth Championships that the USA has won its first two matches of the tournament.
  • After its first two matches, the USA has six goals, tied for the second most goals scored after two games in U.S. U-20 World Cup history (seven in 2007, six in 1993).
  • Hyndman and Jamieson each bagged their third international goal with the U-20’s in the match against New Zealand. Additionally, Hyndman’s goal was also his second of the tournament in as many games played.
  • Hyndman is the first U.S. player to score in consecutive U-20 World Cup games since Jozy Altidore in 2007.
  • Hyndman wore the captain’s armband for the third time against New Zealand. He made his debut as captain against Australia during a friendly on May 19.
  • Rubin provided the assist on Hyndman’s game-winning goal against Myanmar and scored his first goal of the tournament against New Zealand.
  • Rubin and Hydman are the only two players on the roster to have been capped at the senior level under U.S. MNT head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. Hyndman made his debut during the second half of the U.S. MNT’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in September 2014, and Rubin started against then No. 3-ranked Colombia this past November. 
  • Tall suffered an injury to his left foot during the USA’s first group match and has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament.
  • Tommy Thompson made his 19th career appearance for the U-20’s against New Zealand, a leading mark amongst all players on the roster.
  • Eighteen of the 20 players on the USA’s roster are on professional contracts with clubs in eight different countries including: the United States, England, Mexico, Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, Germany and Spain.
  • Seven players come from European clubs, eight from MLS, two from Liga MX, one from Argentina and two are playing at the collegiate level in the United States.
  • Eleven players from this roster were on the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship roster: Kellyn Acosta, Arriola, Conor Donovan, Zack Steffen, Shaquelle Moore,Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, John Requejo, Hyndman, Thompson and Jamieson.
  • Acosta and Arriola are the only two players on the roster with previous youth World Cup matches under their belt. Acosta played in all four matches for the USA, while Arriola appeared in three games at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
  • Acosta and Steffen were also on the 2013 U-20 World Cup roster, though neither appeared in a match. Previously, seven players had appeared on USA rosters in multiple U-20 World Cups: Freddy Adu (2003, 2005, 2007), Bryan Arguez (2007, 2009), Bobby Convey (2001, 2003), Kasey Keller (1987, 1989), Brian Perk (2007, 2009), Nathan Sturgis (2005, 2007) and Danny Szetela (2005, 2007). 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • This is the USA’s 14th appearance in a FIFA U-20 World Cup.  The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship.
  • The USA qualified for the World Cup by finishing third at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica in January, earning one of the four berths from the region along with Mexico, Panama, and Honduras.
  • During the qualifying tournament, the USA tied Guatemala (1-1) and lost Panama (1-0) before winning four straight matches: Aruba (8-0), Jamaica (2-0), Trinidad and Tobago (1-0) and El Salvador in a playoff match, 2-0.
  • Tab Ramos is the third coach to lead a U-20 team in multiple World Cups (2013, 2015), following Sigi Schmid (1999, 2005) and Thomas Rongen (2003, 2007, 2009). As a player, Ramos also represented the USA at the 1983 U-20 World Youth Championship, 1988 Olympics Games, and the 1990, 1994, and 1998 FIFA World Cups.

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The U-20 MNT will represent the USA at the 2015 FIFA Under 20 World Cup. in New Zealand.

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The U.S. U-20 MNT take on Australia before heading to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

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