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Ramos: 'We competed, but it just wasn't enough.'
June 28th, 2013 7AM

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TAGS:  under-20 world cup

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[USA-GHANA REACTION] After a 4-1 loss to Ghana eliminated the USA from the U-20 World Cup in the first round, Coach Tab Ramos said the Ghanaians were even more skillful than the foes from Spain and France.

“We were just as confident in this game as we were against Spain in the first game [a 4-1 loss] and against France [1-1] in the second game,” Ramos said. “We prepared one game at a time. We knew all the teams were going to be difficult. Ghana, I think, player-by-player, is the most skillful team of the three that we were facing. By no means were we thinking that another game was going to be less difficult than the other two.”

Both teams needed a win -- and needed to improve their goal differential -- to have any chance of advancing.

“It was a very difficult match for us,” Ramos said. “It was a game in which we needed goals. We tried to go forward as much as we could, but in the end it became a transition game, and we took goals at the wrong time.

“Even when we got back in the game in the second half at 2-1 we took a corner kick [goal] and they were going forward pretty well. You’re playing good teams here. We knew coming in that we were going to be in a group with three very difficult teams. I think I think we competed, but it just wasn’t enough.”

The Americans ended up matching Ghana in possession, but most of their attacks broke down in the final third.

“When we get in front of goal we don’t shoot as much,” Ramos said. “We’re always looking for that extra pass, and as we found out in this tournament I think the teams that are doing well are the teams that are just getting in front of the goal and they take advantage of the opportunities. Even in today’s game, I know we attacked enough to get goals. And yet we didn’t get them. It’s unfortunate for us. I’d have to say we created some opportunities and unfortunately we didn’t get the goals.”

Ramos assessment of the team’s performance in the tournament:

“I’m disappointed that in three games we gave up nine goals. You certainly can’t move on in a World Cup giving up nine goals in three games. But overall, we came here to compete. I think the unfortunate part is in two of the games the results don’t show it. But I think our team showed up and competed in all three games and in a very difficult group against three very difficult teams.”


26 comments
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 7:44 a.m.
    Many positive things to take away from this tournament, but what did we learn and how will those findings be a force for change between now and the next tournament? Now that we've played the best and know we've come up short, here are my conclusions: 1)having more possession is a positive development, but we still need to be able to counter when the opportunity presents itself 2)attack in the final 3rd was poor. Need patience and more clinical skills around the 18. More shots on goal alone is not the answer. 3)Back line is still a liability. The players there now do have more skill than predecessors, but we cannot get beaten over the top regularly as happened in Turkey. You need at least one CB who is a beast.

  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 8:28 a.m.
    Poor Tab. Great college player, good player on losing National teams and pros. Lacks coaching experience. He is a victim of the poor USSF organization. I hope he can hang in there and get enough experience to become effective.

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.
    In addition to fixing the defense, Tab Ramos need to teach the player how to shoot at goal. Placing the ball always is not a good idea. Sometime you need to strike it hard. They need a good goal scorer. But overall, a good step in the right direction.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 10:36 a.m.
    What we do going forward is the key. Lets remember that in the last 2 years we have only qualified to 2 major youth events = this U20 W.C. and U17 W.C. in 2011. We failed to make 3 others = U20 W.C. 2011, U17 W.C. 2013 and U23 Olympics 2012. So as bad as you may think we did at this World Cup it is still better than not even qualifying out of what should be, a sure thing, weak Concacaf region.

  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
    Not sure what to think about Tab Ramos' approach. On the one hand, "I think we competed..." describes it: a positive approach, going down with guns blazing, certainly more entertaining than bunkering. But it's also naive and almost guaranteed to fail. You must recognize when you can't out-Spain a Spain, and adjust your tactics accordingly. We are a long way from defending, controlling the game, and shooting like a Spain or a Ghana, and there is little Ramos can do about that. But tactics is something he can do something about.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
    Please do not pay attention to Luis - he is just a daddy making some comment - never even played the game. Oh and he 'stretches' the truth at times - like just the other day he called CONCACAF one of the best regions in the world.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
    Glad to see the absence of doom and gloom. I think Tab nailed it except that he failed to highlight the impact of the more physical play from France and Ghana. Both were highly skilled AND physical. Many times we were juust bounced off the ball (legitimate, shoulder to shoulder). Smaller teams like Barca and Spain have used better positioning and quicker play to negate that. We need to learn to do likewise.

  1. Steven&linda Pedlow
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
    Very ODD to have three different centerback combinations in three games. All three teams were more talented than the U.S., but it was the Group of Death.

  1. Vince Leone
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.
    James: Both of your observations are right on the money. There were a number of times that U.S. players held the ball a bit too long (maybe 3 touches instead of 2), got muscled off it, then asked for a foul that wasn't given. That is reality at the World Cup level, and successful teams deal with it.

  1. Al Gebra
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.
    Gordon has a daddy thing going. A back pirate maybe

  1. Karl Schreiber
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.
    Thanks for your comment, James Froehlich. Exactly what came to mind after watching the US U-20 as well as, yesterday, the MNT of Spain against Italy. IMHO size matters. Most of the Spanish team players are noticeably shorter than players from Italy, France, Germany etc. Why are most of our U-20 players rather short and light? Don’t we have equally skillful taller players (like Italy had in the Confed Cup and Ghana and France had in the U-20 Cup)? If our current U-20 team is the future of our full MNT then more problems lie ahead, with the game having become faster and more physical, even in should-to-shoulder charges. Not to mention the lack of height in corner kick or similar scenarios. – I’d like to see this aspect discussed by the contributors with more expertise in coaching and game analysis. Thanks.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
    The US main problem wasn't the lack of skill or not being physical enough. They just kept giving the ball away in the midfield and up front. Time after time. And way too slow to react to 50-50 balls. We have players who are considered skillful, mainly because they're Hispanic, but lack in many other areas: passing, moving without the ball, tactical awareness, grit and determination, speed, reading the game. One area where we have clearly made progress is diving. Have certainly done more of that than in years past.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.
    David, the lack innpassing, etc. Was in general, Hispanics and non Hispanics. Did you see the U17 team that had very few Hispanics?? Yiu know, the team that didnt even qualify for this year's World Cup. They had the same problems you mention but also lacked skill. So skill in this case and by comparison is a plus and not a negative. Skill at least git us to the World Cup wth U20's. We must have skill first along with the top talent before worrying about anything else like tactics for example.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.
    And never doubt he distorts his facts to satisfy his bias - the best the US ever did in these events was 4th place at the 1999 U20's with Donavan and Beckerman, maybe 1-2 hispanics and in 1989 4th place with the U17's - maybe 1 hispanic.......fun, but truthful, facts. I have nothing against hispanics by the way, just Luis, so when cries about racism just ignore him.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
    Al G. Just ignore him. He has personal issues.

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
    Without sounding racist, I think the race play important role in sport. Hispanics tends to be smaller in size less physical but more technical with the ball. Non-Hispanics tend to be bigger in size, more physical and less technical with the ball. The USA has been relying on the physical aspect of the game for so long without going anywhere. The new philosophy of getting more technical and less physical has just started. It takes time to see its fruition. We all need to be patient.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 3:16 p.m.
    Like Luis has said he would do and does.....try not to be fooled Al.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 3:49 p.m.
    Having been around the US soccer scene since from the mid 60's - 70's, local, (no organized youth play then!) amateur, and collegiate (jc/st univ and NCAA Div I) it is very true that many coaches, including Negoesco of USF, DiGrazia of UC Berkeley, even Julie Menendez of SJ St, as well as D. Battie ofChico St, and even Stl Louis Univ, always went for size and bulk, as opposed to size AND skill! However this began to change in the early 70's when coaches began to recruit skillful players, to wit UCLA D. Storer, San Diego State, CS Fullerton, and even UC Berkeley and USF, not withstanding height. Those coaches - through contacts, brought in foreign players from the UK, Africa (Ethipoia & Nigeria) South America, and a literal smattering of Latinos/Hispanics. And I might add also that one our contributors, Peter Skouras of Greek origins tried out at UCLA but politics played into the picture. The point being here that Gur Keri is spot on, as the collegiate scene was dominated by the tall and unfortunately not too skilled players, to with St Luis Univ, Hartwick, Old Dominion, Virgina, UNC, etc at least through the 70's, and so to close "The new philosophy of getting more technical and less physical has just started... (and) It takes time see its fruition (and) We all need to be patient..." Lastly, when I moved to the SoCal area and became completely immersed in the local futbol-soccer scene, I vividly remember the father of ayso, Hans Stirely, proclaim in 1970 to the region that with ayso coming to the world, the US would become a world soccer force in 20 years.... Lordy be, I am still patiently waiting!!! PLAY ON!!!

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 4:12 p.m.
    Resume Ric at it again.....You usually don't lie like Luis so I will say you are grossly mistaken about Hartwick at least - http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1093152/ - with all your fine education and your fine experiences which you tell us every time you should know to do your research before making claims otherwise it is dishonest.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.
    Gus, that is also my opinion but for some reason Gordon here only hates it when I say it. Lets see if he attacks you as well.

  1. Werner Roth
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 6:19 p.m.
    US Soccer suffers from an ineffective player development system that we seem incapable of correcting. We keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Not Tab, not the players, not little individual things will do. we need sweeping changes based on applying empirical player development research and I don't see that happening any time soon.

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 8:23 p.m.
    I believe you play to team's strength w/ a combination of physical prowess, speed, and tech. players that can take on defenders 1v1 which the US game lacks, but you need some bulk to endure the physicality not just finess of smaller fleet footed players. Good luck in finding such a dream US team w/ these attributes. We are making strides in the right direction w/ the NT, but Ghana, and France were too fast, and strong for us to hang.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 28, 2013 at 10:51 p.m.
    I agree with Soccer on this one. That's why Mexico scouts now look harder in USA for Mexican players because they are physically in better conditions. To me scouting has got to improve drastically. To direct most of our focus on 80 teams in a country so big and with the most soccer players in the world just doesnt make sense.

  1. Bernd Grabowski
    commented on: June 29, 2013 at 8:29 p.m.
    What a pathetic comment by Ramos. Maybe if he had given his team a chance to be successful by actually coaching things could have been different. How is it possible that US Soccer always appoints the most incompetent coaches to run their youth programs?

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: July 4, 2013 at 5:58 p.m.
    I wonder if those who denigrated Ramos and the U20 team after the 1st round, have noticed that all three of our fellow group members have made it to final 8, and at least 2, maybe 3, will make it to semis. We actually had a skilled team, fun to watch, and had very bad luck in the draw -- given a better draw we might well have made the final 8. The inclusion of Tab Ramos and Claudio Renya in the youth coaching structure is a very positive move, as is their emphasis on bringing in more skilled players, which not surprisingly are often of Hispanic background. This is not the time to panic.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 5, 2013 at 11:08 p.m.
    Allan, good point. Regardless of how much "experience" Ramos had he seems to show a good eye for talent and a playing style that many people enjoyed. Why are we soo hard on the only coach at USA youth level to even make it to the World Cup?? Those people should be drilling the U17's and U23's coach who didnt even qualify for theor respective events.


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