[REACTION: Mexico-USA]U.S under-20 national team coach Tab Ramossummed up the Mexico-USA final for Concacaf U-20 supremacy nicely. "This is an experience that obviously we couldn’t pay for," he said. The U-20s came to Puebla with one goal in mind: qualify for the Under-20 World Cup. Going on and playing archrival Mexico, arguably the best team in the world at the youth level, in a packed house was the kind of experience you don't get every day the under-20 level.
“I’m proud of the effort they made," Ramos said after the 3-1 overtime loss. "I’m proud that they were able to grow in a game like this."
In particular, Ramos loved how his players reacted after going down a goal early in the game.
“I think we did very well," he said. "This just shows the character of the players that we have coming up through the U.S. We’re not only playing in a difficult environment but we take a goal early and we take a goal when we’re attacking, and the players responded well. We got a goal back and we almost got another one right away. I’m very happy about the response of the players.”
The U.S. players tired late in the game, but Ramos was handcuffed because he only had 12 healthy field players available for the game. Daniel Cuevas, the star of the tournament for the USA up until the final, did not play because of an ankle injury.
“There’s no question with about 10 minutes left in the game, in regulation time," Ramos said, "that I started to think about the possibility of making some changes to try to either win the game right at the end or start thinking also into overtime. If there was a possibility, I know that Daniel Cuevas really wanted to play. The doctor, we had a discussion during the game, and the doctor didn’t think it was a good idea. Daniel said ‘I really want to play.’ But that was one of those things where maybe we could have put him in for 10 minutes and I didn’t want to put him in the last 10 minutes of the game because then if we didn’t win we’d have to go to overtime and he couldn’t play for that long.”
(Click here for reaction from players.)