The U-20 Kids Are Alright

How the U-20 USMNT came together quickly after 2 bad opening games
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Monday, January 26, 2015

US Soccer Federation (USSF)

It took a playoff match against El Salvador to lead the United States into a position to get into the FIFA U-20 World Cup, but the team accomplished it. Led by former US International Tab Ramos, the U-20 USMNT booked their flight to New Zealand with a 2-0 victory.

But the victory was a surprise. Quite honestly, it didn’t look like they’d make it at all.

Inside a group with Guatemala, Panama, Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago and host nation Jamaica, the USA had a very tight and tough first 2 matches against their Central American opponents as they failed to take advantage of their chances by scoring only 1 goal and allowing 2. Questions needed to be answered with the way Tab Ramos was trying to get these kids to convert.

But the truth was that the game plan was very strong for the U-20s, but their chances weren’t taken well &andexecution at times wasn’t there to get the necessary goals to reach those expectations. So with only 1 point to show for their troubles, Ramos knew he needed to change things up and get his side to attack more. He needed to give confidence to his kids to start converting.

When they faced Aruba in their third game, you finally saw the light switch flick on as they took out their first Caribbean opponent and slaughtered them with a 8-goal destruction that came with a hat trick by Romain Gall.

But a real tough challenge in the next game was against the host nation in Jamaica.

Or so we thought.

When Jamaica couldn’t deliver a solid scoring punch just as much as the US kids couldn’t either during the run of play, 2 penalty calls for the US allowed them to get past Jamaica as Gall converted both. The final match of the group stage came against Trinidad & Tobago and they only needed a draw to advance to the playoff match. So instead of a draw it was a Brandon Jamieson goal late in the second half that gave them the win and the push they needed to reach that plateau.

While the kids did what they needed to accomplish to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, one of these tournaments you want to see them actually winning their own Confederation tournament. I’m not saying qualifying for an U-20 World Cup is something to sneeze at, because we all agree that is the first goal. But when you see the USA win the Hex for World Cup Qualifying, it would be nice to see these youth National Sides win their tournaments.

Daniel FEUERSTEIN

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.
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