Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
U.S. U-20s face typical European obstacle in methodical Poles
by Ridge Mahoney, July 3rd, 2007 7AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  under-20 world cup

MOST COMMENTED

If there is one thing most European teams present their opponents at a world championship, regardless of the age level, it's tactical soundness.

"They may not have the technical ability of the South American teams or the athletic talents of the African teams, but they are usually well-organized and hard to break down," says U.S under-20 coach Thomas Rongen, who first came to America during a playing career that began in the Ajax system.

Before the FIFA U-20 World Cup started Rongen said of Poland, "From looking at the tape, Poland is a typical Eastern European country that's going to be very hard to break down and very methodical in their approach."

To those attributes can be added opportunism and determination and resiliency. Poland upset Brazil, 1-0, on the opening day of play with a long-range free kick by Grzegorz Krychowiak and a staunch defensive display following the ejection of Real Madrid's Krzysztof Krol in the 27th minute. It held on to that one goal, despite being outshot, 14-2.

The U.S. ground out what Rongen called "a big point" against South Korea, 1-1, in its opener despite being overrun for much of the match. Danny Szetela's goal in the 16th minute put the U.S. ahead, but the Americans couldn't subdue their tireless, spirited opponents and needed a few crucial saves from keeper Chris Seitz to earn that point.

Szetela was one of the players to feel the numbing effects of South Korea's pace. Dax McCarty replaced him, and within a few minutes had inadvertently triggered a South Korean attack with a careless giveaway. In that regard, he wasn't alone. Aside from brief flurries, the Americans scrambled to keep themselves in the game.

Turnovers in the neutral third were far too common, and while Poland won't close down as quickly, their cohesive, systemic adherence to blotting out attacks will present a quite different yet no less formidable obstacle.

Jozy Altidore may fare better against the rugged Poles than he did against the relentless South Koreans, and Freddy Adu needs to be much be sharper each time he gets the ball. A few of Adu's free kicks tested the South Koreans, but against Brazil the Polish defenders were quick and strong in the air.

The U.S. has capable wide players in Sal Zizzo and Robbie Rogers, and must find ways to play them into space behind the back line.

South Korea's movement, deft touches, and speed stretched the U.S. defense and seldom when the Americans did win the ball were they able to keep it and mount attacks.

"I think we're going to have to play better in all areas if we're going to beat Poland," said defender Nathan Sturgis, who also coughed up a ball South Korea nearly turned into a goal.

"Defensively I think we need to stay more organized and not let them get behind us. Offensively, we need to possess the ball a little bit more and put them under attack more than we were able to keep South Korea under pressure."



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Report | Jill Ellis to get new national team contract    
Jill Ellis' 15-month contract with U.S. Soccer ended Friday, but don't expect that situation to last ...
CCL: Sounders motivated for pay-back against 'Caps    
Just four days after the Vancouver Whitecaps celebrated -- a little too much to their opponent's ...
CCL: Plata and Rimando star in Real Salt Lake win    
Real Salt Lake ended its six-game losing streak on the road when Joao Plata's goal in ...
Neeskens and Bover make All-NPSL First Team    
John Neeskens, son of former Dutch great Johan Neeskens, and New York Cosmos B teammate Ruben ...
What They're Saying: Swindon Town owner Lee Power    
"If I was a head of a Man United or a Liverpool, this is something I'd ...
Atlanta United wins approval for $30 million complex    
Atlanta United FC, the MLS expansion team that will begin play in 2017, received approval -- ...
Hubbub roils StubHub for Dos Santos introduction    
A huge throng at LAX when his plane landed Sunday, dozens of cameras and reporters at ...
Johannsson set for $5 million move to Werder Bremen     
Aron Johannsson, the Icelandic product who has played for the USA since 2013, is leaving Dutch ...
What They're Saying: Representative Xavier Becerra    
"We believe that the [MLS] championship has been won with your signing, and we're looking for ...
Sounders beef up attack with Austrian Ivanschitz    
Seattle has taken steps to kick-start its sputtering attack, which hasn't scored in the last four ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives