[REACTION: USA-Costa Rica] U.S. under-20 national team Tab Ramos said he was pleased with the reaction of his players
after their subpar game in their opening game at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship. “For one thing," he said, "we came out ready to play." The 1-0 win over Costa Rica moved the USA into
Tuesday's quarterfinals against Canada with a berth at stake in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup.
Costa Rica, which had also clinched a berth in the quarterfinals, presented a physical test in a match that featured 45 fouls and seven yellow cards.
"We knew we were playing a very difficult opponent," said Ramos, "but I thought we had the game under control the whole time. I’m happy about that.”
Of the four lineup changes, the only surprise was leaving Daniel Cuevas, who has set up the first U.S. goal against Haiti from the penalty spot and scored the second himself, on the bench for the game against the Ticos.
“Danny had quite a few hits from the last game," said Ramos, "so he had a little bit of a thigh issue. He could have played tonight, but we thought we would save him a little bit. If anything he was ready to play 20-30 minutes at the end if we needed him to, but fortunately we didn’t need him. I think he’s in good form. He’s somebody we can select for the [quarterfinal] game if we choose. Jose Villarreal played the No. 9 role, and I think we have versatile players who can play different positions. Today you could see that the players could switch positions and I thought Jose did a pretty nice job.”
The opening two wins will mean nothing if the USA doesn't beat Canada on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to take away the fact that the players should enjoy that we won the group," he said after Friday's game, "so we want to do that for a little bit. But at the same time we have to recognize that we’re here for Tuesday’s game. Everything we’ve done so far for the past year and a half has been for Tuesday’s game, and we have to get there. Today was just another little step toward our goal.”<