Luis Gil stands out; defense struggles

[USA-SPAIN REPORT CARD] Luis Gil scored a golazo and marshaled a U.S. midfield that took the game to the Spaniards, but the U.S. defense proved porous in Spain's 4-1 win in opening play at the U-20 World Cup. Soccer America's Mike Woitalla grades the U.S. players in their loss against the title favorite.

A normal result for a Spanish national team came in unusual fashion as the USA prevented the Spaniards from establishing their dominant possession game. Instead, La Rojita crushed the Americans with counterattacks.

That they so frequently kept the ball after winning it will please Coach Tab Ramos, but he’ll be seeking solutions to an overwhelmed defense, which welcomes back suspended Shane O’Neill for Monday’s game against France.

Spain’s goals looked too easy against the central defensive partnership of Caleb Stanko and Javan Torre. Right back DeAndre Yedlin lost Jese on the opening goal but Yedlin did make promising forays, as did left back Juan Pablo Ocegueda, to a lesser extent.

In the midfield, Wil Trap and Benji Joya played behind Gil and Danny Garcia. Alonso Hernandez, who missed a golden chance to equalize early in the first half, played upfront with Jose Villarreal.

5 Cody Cropper (Southampton/ENG)
5 DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
4 Caleb Stanko (Freiburg/GER)
3 Javan Torre (UCLA)
4 Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Guadalajara/MEX)
5 Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
5 Benji Joya (Santos/MEX)
7 Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake)
6 Danny Garcia (FC Dallas)
5 Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)
4 Alonso Hernandez (Monterrey/MEX)
4 Mario Rodriguez (Kaiserslautern/GER)
4 Daniel Cuevas (Santos/MEX)
5 Mikey Lopez (Sporting KC)

(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)

51 comments about "Luis Gil stands out; defense struggles".
  1. Randy McKee, June 21, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.

    Tab's team played attractive attacking and got their butts kicked. I simply can't imagine why in a country of 300 million people we can't seem to find a coach who can teach their players how to defend.

    Dear Sunil:

    I will teach your US teams to defend. My fee is less than these guys who can't seem to get the job done. It's embarrassment after embarrassment for the US men's teams. Pathetic.

    You give Ocegueda a 4 while he left us exposed on the left time after time after time. He gets a 2 at best. Torre's 3 mark is too high, also. His amateurish defending angles cost us big time.

    Start over. With a new coach. Tab, I loved you as a player, but as a coach you should try a lower level.

  2. Tom Crossett, June 21, 2013 at 10:48 p.m.

    Don't you worry, this vaunted Academy System with over 80 Academy teams, most on a fee basis, will pay dividends to the trainers and charlatans which the main priority is to make money. The price of capitalism I guess. Dopey and delusional parents who really believe their kid will make it to this level. Oh and by the way, you can't play high school. Instead you get this dribble.

  3. Edgar Aldana, June 22, 2013 at 12:27 a.m.

    When you loose critics are always in abundance. Hind sight is always 20/20. If you know anything about soccer the mistakes that happened were quite obvious. So, what did they do right besides what they did wrong?

  4. Chris St. Hilaire, June 22, 2013 at 1:04 a.m.

    I agree, Edgar. It's really easy to sit around criticizing via websites all of the time. If these guys could do it better they would be doing it better instead of sitting on the sidelines, bitching about those with some skin in the game. Year over year the US continues to make progress...I agree that a 4-1 loss is embarrassing though. Let's step it up against France and hopefully not see silly defensive breakdowns.

  5. Mario Cesarone, June 22, 2013 at 8:55 a.m.

    I was really disgusted with the defensive breakdown or make that lapses. However this team played attacking soccer and brought it to Spain's doorstep. They need to be a little sharper with their passing in the final third and the strikers more accurate. I for one am glad we played this way instead of losing 2-0 in a bunker. Go Tab, fix that defense and keep attacking.

  6. Gus Keri, June 22, 2013 at 8:57 a.m.

    There is nothing to be ashamed of when you lose to Spain. The US team showed a level of ball-control and technical ability I have never seen in a US team at any age group. I would rather watch the US play this way and lose 4-1 than play defensive game and lose 1-0. The US is on the right track and it takes years to re-model the game after decades of physical and long-ball style. Kudos to Ramos. Keep it going, coach. It's the way a bright future.

  7. Gus Keri, June 22, 2013 at 8:59 a.m.

    It's the way to a bright future.

  8. Walt Pericciuoli, June 22, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.

    The ratings are incredibly too low.Gil deserved his 7, Stanko, Torre 4's and Ocegueda a 3, but the rest of the team should be rated 5's and 6's. You guys are all wrong. I don't think you were watching the same game I was. Our team showed confidence, poise and attacking flare. They had the defending U19 European Champions and favorites to win the cup back on their heels most of the game. We dominated possession. When does that happen vs. any Spain Nat team? They took chances going forward to attempt to win. I'll take that any time over playing a bunkered down defense and hope to escape with a respectable scoreline.Credit to Tab for putting out there a team I can enjoy watching. Yes our central defenders were weak, our outside backs very slow and naive, but look who they were matched up against. I said great job, the 4-1 result did not do justice to the actual game on the field. Tighten up the defense a bit, but otherwise, don't change the approach.

  9. Walt Pericciuoli, June 22, 2013 at 9:11 a.m.

    I'm with you 100% Mario and Gus

  10. Pablo Flores, June 22, 2013 at 9:37 a.m.

    @Randy McKee
    Yeah Tab. Tab only put together a u20 team that dominated the midfield play against Spain who are currently the masters of the midfield. The left back and center backs need to wake up. Those three were the weakest links in this game and it cost us. Tab will clean it up and be ready for the next game. This US team has a great style and I can't wait for the next game. The future is bright for the USMNT!!

  11. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 9:46 a.m.

    Edgar and Chris you both make good points. But criticizing from here is all we can do. I can tell you from having been involved in that ODP/National Team system for many years that they are not listening anyway - if you are putting it up on a website or screaming it in their ear from three meters away. This is a systemic problem that starts at the very top in Chicago and spreads like a cancer through the system.

    I'm not sure that any of us actually expected a win against Spain. That is not the issue. In the middle of the park the US looked good and created some wonderful chances - which were squandered by our fancy non-finishers.

    What bothers me is the lack of respect for the art of defending. That is system-wide as well. Pundits will tell you that the best way to defend is to keep the ball. However, in a football match the other team does get the ball and every player on the field needs to have a defensive mentality at the moment that happens. What we see is an amateurish view toward defending and the kinds of goals the US allow - even in the full side - are just unbelievably poor. That is a coaching issue and a culture issue. For some, looking pretty while losing is acceptable. I am not one of those people.

    Walt - I don't care how pretty they look or how much of the ball they have. In a truly competitive system, what matters is the result. And the result was that despite all that made you happy they still got their butts whipped in a loud and embarrassing fashion.

  12. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.

    @Pablo, I can appreciate your excitement. And exactly how many points did we leave that match with while dominating Spain in the middle of the park?

  13. Walt Pericciuoli, June 22, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.

    Randy, I do care how they look. I want to be entertained and excited about my National squad. I want to enjoy watching, hoping for a goal and a win, rather than cringing on the edge of my seat while we're bunkered in our own end praying for the game to end and escaping with a respectable scoreline that proves nothing.

  14. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.

    Walt we have different viewpoints. And I suppose yours is the best because it allows us to pick twenty or thirty (even more) minutes out of a match and say we enjoyed watching it. I am not wired that way. I like watching pretty soccer as much as anyone. But I like watching a well-coached and well-played strategy, as well. You will recall that when our full side beat Spain's full side, the strategy there was to get behind the ball and defend our goal like it meant something. I'm not sure I've seen that level of commitment since.

  15. Albert Harris, June 22, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.

    I hear Stewart Pierce might be available to replace Tab, Randy. A hard nosed defensive minded coach who will whip our boys into shape in no time and make us the equals of the magnificent English who are dominating world soccer at the moment. Ummmm,,,never mind!

  16. Gus Keri, June 22, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.

    Randy: you said "I don't care how pretty they look or how much of the ball they have. In a truly competitive system, what matters is the result." This philosophy for decades brought nothing to the US on the international level except some Gold Cups in a week confederation. Why don't you give this style few years and I promise you will see the US wins international trophies that matter. They need time to develop this style and win with it.

  17. Eric Schmitt, June 22, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.

    The defensive mistakes can be fixed, mostly by not pushing the wingbacks up quite so recklessly and so often. Beyond that, I really enjoyed seeing this team play. I watched all their games in the CONCACAF tournament and I look forward to seeing some of thes eguys work their way up into the senior squad. There is no shame in losing to Spain. The defensive issues can be fixed, and the offense looked good. Stop freaking out, people.

  18. Eric Schmitt, June 22, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.

    "It was a big gamble, to come out and play Spain on their side of the field. But with the way I see football, it's a gamble I wanted to take. I did not want to play on our side of the field and still lose the game. I wanted to take a chance on winning the game and unfortunately it did not work out."
    -Tab Ramos

    He knew he was taking some chances. Give him some credit, and an opportunity to fix the mistakes.

  19. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.

    @Gus, I do agree that the US need to develop some sort of a style and win with it. When you look at virtually every successful competitive team on the planet, they work hard to not allow goals. In the case of Spain yesterday they were fortunate that the US do not finish on the golden chances. I am not talking about ten players in the box. I am talking about coaches demanding intelligent, energetic defending by players who act like they give a darn about it. That is far too much to ask for at this point.

  20. beautiful game, June 22, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.

    I wouldn't consider this loss a tragedy, it was a lesson in precision, execution, and team chemistry. The defense did get exposed and the Spaniards took advantage of some wonderful thru-balls. IMHO, the U.S. squad played well but did not execute in the last third of the pitch and team shape was too lax. I still prefer their more consistent style over the USMNT.

  21. Gus Keri, June 22, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.

    Randy, I agree that our defense needs some work and it will get better. But to call for the head of the coach at this stage is too much for me.

  22. James Froehlich, June 22, 2013 at 11:10 a.m.

    Thank you Walt, Gus, and Chris -- I almost stopped reading the comments after reading the first two which for me displayed the typical short-term attitude that has had us mired in mediocrity for the past 30 or more years. It's the same attitude that refers to the forwards as "FANCY non-finishers" -- and probably tells kids trying to elude a tackler with some fancy footwork to stop "playing" with the ball. For the record: I love good defensive work but to ignore the fact that the US actually dominated possession for substantial periods of time against an outstanding Spanish mid-field displays an almost willful ignorance of the game. RM has made good points regarding the structure of US Soccer and ODP but Tab Tamos and the current U20's are not part of that problem, if anything Tab reflects the first ray of sunlight in the otherwise overcast youth development system. To write off the accomplishments of Tab and his team because of some defensive lapses and a belief that defense is somehow ignored by US Soccer borders on the delusional, especially given the historical propensity of US teams to rely on the counter attack. Our defense may be weak but it certainly isn't because we spent all our time developing skillful midfielders.

  23. Karl Ortmertl, June 22, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.

    Can Gil still go and play for Mexico? If so, I'd make priority number 1 getting him a national cap. He is way too good to take chances with losing.

  24. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.

    @James - I imagine you have observed how they play soccer in the soccer playing countries around the world. Don't you wonder why teams that play against the best attacking systems (and players) in the world would not allow goals? It's because defending their goal is important to them. I am not sure here that you think demanding intelligent and enthusiastic defending is a short-term attitude, but it works everywhere else in the world. I agree with your last comment. Our defense isn't weak because we spent our time developing skillful midfielders. Our defense is weak because our current soccer culture does not care about the art of defending. Please pardon my use of the term "fancy." I could have had just as effective a comment by using "non-finishers" without the modifier.

  25. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.

    Randy, before you wonder wether or not you can find better coaching within our 200 million population I would first ask to find better players and wonder why there are 3 of ours on Mexico's U20's. That said, did you realistically expect to win this game with the greatest coaching in the world vs Spain, the favorite to win it all?? You think because USA Men's was lucky enough to beat Spain the "one" time that means we should always bunker and counter?? You seem smart enough to know that USA loses vs SPain, on the men's side 9 out of 10 times at least by p[laying any style.

  26. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.

    Randy, thats a good point you made in last comment but where do those defensive teams end up?? Germany has changed it's mindset and plays an attacking style of play after years and years of focusing on defense more than anything. Italy is coming around as well. Who's left?? If anybody told you that you would have a shot on goal advantage throughout the game vs Spain would you still bunker anyway ?? To play the style that Ramos played yesterday you give up alot on defense. You depend alot on your 3-4 defenders plus the goalie at all times. We fix those players we have a world class U20 team. Thats a plus!! The goalie came out incredibaly bad on last goal. Meanwhile, Mexico's Richard Sanchez is having a great game for Mexioc as we speak. He is USA born.

  27. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.

    If we focus only on defense like we have forever on the Men's side then we risk to continue to lose our best players to Mexico and Central American teams. More importantly, With this new for USA style we will showcase our best players to the world and increase their opportunities to get signed in top clubs. That motivates generations to come to maybe stay in USA as a better option. Dont you think there's a Spanish Randy right now worried and saying the same thing you are ?? How the hell did USA get more shots to goal than us and how did they dominate our famous midfield play?? POur defense sucks and we need to worry about our defense first and foremost. How many Spaniards do you think would agree with Spanish Randy?? Not many. Why?? Because they have evolved as a soccer country. We should do the same.

  28. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 12:24 p.m.

    Randy, here is my worry. Can you imagine what we would have as player pool if we didnt just focus on 80 Academies for players?? Can you imagine if ODP were free?? Now there's something to worry about.

  29. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.

    @Luis, I am on the same page as you. There is no doubt that Ramos was the lower coach there and there is no doubt that the US players were the lower players there. This is on Ramos' head because he is the one who ultimately picks the players and who determines which strategies are used. We can all cheer that the boys took good care of the ball for surprisingly large segments of the match and even created some beautiful opportunities which were squandered. They got Spain out of their comfort zone. But Ramos' coaching errors were absolutely rudimentary. For instance our left back, Ocegueda, was mindlessly sent forward time after time, exposing that corner, which Lopetegui happily (and easily) exploited time after time. Ramos and his staff either could not figure out what Spain were doing or did not care. Neither of those are acceptable from a national team. I do not believe that the team should bunker down and counter out of that. I do, however, believe that the coaches should have enough mental quality to figure out what the other team is beating us with and stop it. I do understand that working hard to get behind the ball and then playing out of that situation is vastly superior to having forty meter gaps between defenders who are not there and the midfield is a great way to get your head handed to you. And that's exactly what happened. We can crow all we want about the possession and the pressure the US applied. And maybe a 1-4 butt-whipping under those circumstances is acceptable to you and others in here. I just think we should recognize the importance of intelligent and energetic defending.

  30. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

    Randy, countries like Spain and Mexico dont celebrate wins like Spain's U20 vs USA or Mexico's ties in Panama. Even when these countries win games like this they look at everything. How they played and style is #1. Posession, shots on goal are more important than simply winning the game. I guarantee you the many Spainiards are questioning the Spain's performance vs USA. They are also probably admiring this new mindset for USA.

  31. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.

    I only saw some of the second 1/2. I am with you. At the end of games though when constantly attacking spaces get bigger as players get tired. The way I see it is we get nothing out of 0-0 ties like Men's side in Mexico. Too many people call that glorious or historic. 1-0 in 4 inches of snow?? It's an ugly win. You can be happy about it, I guess, but ugly is ugly. Beauty is skin deep but ugly is to the bone. We take that USA vs Mexico in Azteca defensive tactic vs Spain U20 and we still lose 1-0 opr 2-0. I know what you mean though and to a point agree but I will always take a 4-1 ass kicking with this shot on goal output over a 2-0 "respectable" loss with 1-3 shots on goal throughout the game. You learn more from option 1. Also, I strongly beleive that these tournaments should serve more as a showcase to your best players for better opportunities. With that game, regardless of score, that was achieved. If you want to showcase your best players you risk much more tactically and that's ok. Pick your poison I guess.

  32. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

    You know that Spaniards are questioning the quality of the team's defending. Except I doubt that those who are asking their team for more intelligent defending are experiencing as much disagreement as I am in this forum.

  33. David V, June 22, 2013 at 1 p.m.

    Gus... I read your first comment... SPOT ON!

    No shame... this is probably the best side in the world. The Spaniards are superior. Mike W... to press the Spaniards, which must be done (as a tactic, and to get better against them for the future) is to give up something, somewhere, and that meant some long balls and being exposed. Something will always give, until the teams can get technically on par with the Spaniards. I applaud a go out and try to play the game, not anti-football hunker down. Well done Tab Ramos for your approach. NOW, lost at the bottom of this comment section, is MY JEWELL FOR US YOUTH SOCCER DEVELOPMENT AND HERE IT COMES BELOW (by the way, let's import coaches from spain to help us)... in US Youth soccer, we try to emulate what the rest of the country thinks about BBall and American football, etc. We think (no doubt influenced by the UK) that it is all about PACE and POWER. And guess what, by the time kids are 11 or 12, we have thrown out half of the player pool because they aren't able to compete athletically ... but read here that these differences are 90% about growth rates, and these things would even out by 14 or 15, but still 50% are gone. Now, half of those who had success with PACE and POWER, did not develop the technical ability, having only to rely on PACE and POWER... age 14-15, now another 50% is out of the player pool... so we are playing with only 25% of our original player pool. We lose soccer smarts, skill, trickery, cunning... a beautiful thing in soccer (not here in the USA though) is that all sizes can work in the game. There is too much emphasis at winning instead of development at young ages, so the old mantra is true, but we can't seem to live it... why? pressure from parents to win, to keep the money coming into youth programs? A coach's ego, or need to keep a job? OUR METRIC IS WRONG, it isn't about WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS, it's about whether the PLAYER MAKES IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL. Think about this, the world's best players would never have made it in the US (Pele, Maradona, Messi)... they would have been thrown out of the player pool in the USA right about the time they were being discovered in their respective countries!

    Ever heard the dumb saying "if Michael Jordan had grown up playing soccer, we'd win it all" or something like that? That's HOGWASH!

  34. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

    Randy, I guess we are just 2 saying different things. I am just happy with the playing style even though I agree that the defending was not good along with goalie. I am certain we wouldnt have won that game with the players we had regardless of tactics. If we have better defenders and Sanchez as goalie then we have a shot at winning with same attacking style. Dont change the style though, thats all I am saying. Bunkering has been our trademark with empty results. Pick your poison./ i pick attack. Most here pick the same and thats good even though you also have a good point. Problem is very few want to see this USA team bunker and thats what usually happens when you get a purely defensive minded coach running the show.

  35. David V, June 22, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.

    Deulofeu (DAY-OO-LOW-FAY-OO) and JESÉ will be world stars in the future... can you image if Beckerman or Dempsey played against Xavi, Iniesta, Casillas, David Villa, Puyol, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla, Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Cesc, Busquets, Javi Martinez, Roberto Soldado, Xabi Alonso, Jesus Navas... when they were 19????? the attitude would be... hey, great experience, these are the world's best, of course we can compete against them... but what a great experience

  36. Randy McKee, June 22, 2013 at 1:07 p.m.

    @David, you make some great points. That's one of the reasons why so many ODP programs have split their camps into the first six months and last six months birth dates. I see the soccer effort becoming more about money than about development and that makes me sad. One question I have for you, though. At some point, when a national team makes it to a certain level, is it ok that they don't win. Is getting the green participant ribbon enough at the world stage level? And if winning ever does become important, at which age does it matter? Not trying to be antagonistic here, just trying to understand your paradigm.

  37. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 1:17 p.m.

    David, exactly. Our current mindset and "models" to follow, Academies, have winning as top priority because it is how fees are justified and what is marketable to future clientele. Therefore our player pool relflects the win now, dot worry about the next level model. We are probably the only country where you see bunkering defense at U10 ages and constant encouragement of kick it long strategy not to mention the only country that follows the UK style that they themselves are strongly thinking of changing to a Spanish style. I love that last sentence. Too many people think that Jordan , Lebron, Kobe woul;d make the best soccer players but fail to prove why with logic. Why do these people beleive that hand eye coordination skills automatically mean they would have the same resulkt with their feet?? Endurance/stamina?? I played both and skill set for each are not comparable. Olajuwan played alot of soccer and was never able to dribble a basketball. Only other good enough soccer player that played basketball was Nash and a goalie for Argentina team.

  38. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 1:22 p.m.

    Randy, its not ok. To fix that we would have to focus all of our energy on adequate scouting and inclusion of players first and foremost. In this case I would say showcasing your best players is the most important factor at these young ages. Get them signed in Europe for better development that will help your senior teams for years to come.

  39. David V, June 22, 2013 at 1:40 p.m.

    @ Randy...When you get to the middle teen years, the winning is important, but that's within one's own system... but when you are talking about Spain vs USA, the shift must be about development. USA is too, too far behind ... For example, Germany (and for that matter, all the historical top dogs) has been trying to catch Spain, but they are in striking distance, so we can have the tactical, "how do we win this?" or "This is a better approach to knock them off" conversation... But, the USA is NOT withing striking distance, and we all think we are (because of time at it? but it hasn't been the right kind of time at it)... so even though we're talking about 19 year olds, it's about development still... the best thing for those USA players would be to hope someone on the Spain Bench (Lopetegui, who by the way is the front runner for taking Del Bosque's job when the WC14 is over), will notice them, and the kids get a chance to play somewhere in Spain. Yedlin for example, would do himself and the country a world of good if some team in Spain gave him a chance and he took the chance to play for Celta de Vigo, or Rayo Vallecano, or ?). Look, we're no Tahiti but we're also no Italy, nor Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Holland, we're not even an England... but can you imagine the Tahitians thinking about their strategy and second guessing themselves after the 10-0 loss to Spain? No, you appreciate it, and learn from it.

    Why is Spain so good? Yes, it is their technical quality for 100 years, with the world's best playing there, with the team of the 20th century there, etc, etc. (whoever is reading this out there, please don't say Spain were underachievers for decades, people who say that don't understand Spain... Spain is not a cohesive place, they are a bunch of little kingdoms that in someways still holds much of the medieval separation of kingdoms to this day... Catalans vs Basques vs Gallegos (NW Spain) vs Andalucians (S)... all these groups did not cohere onto a national team until the last 10-15 years, so that is one MAJOR factor, since they are getting along, at least soccer-wise, in the past 15 years, that they are now dominating. Can you imagine if the USA picked only players from California for the national team? Or Seattle/Portland, or only from Florida?... at any rate, there's around 120 years of history, passion, skill, culture we're battling, so when the US even gets in a Spain game, or even in the lucky result during the Confed cup in 2009, we have to think "Great Opportunity", "Great Experience"

  40. Power Dive, June 22, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

    I haven't had a chance to watch the game yet but I'm delighted to hear that we controlled a majority of possession and outshot Spain. Frankly, that seemed like more of an impossibility than winning the game.

  41. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.

    David, are we not mostly picking players, especially for the younger U14, U15 teams mostly from California and East coast ?? I always look and see we are extremely consistent, year in and year out, with same % for these locations. About 35% from california and about %25 from east coast. How can we always produce the same amount or very close to same amount of players from certain regions every year ??

  42. David V, June 22, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

    The numbers may have shown what you mentioned Dave, but frankly, the USA never looked like they dominated anything... they pressed the Spaniards well, but that was truly the major highlight... that will help them, and the Spaniards (they got more experience knocking the ball around under pressure)... another highlight was the Gil goal, fabulous strike, however, I bet in 20 games against Spain, he'd only do that once, and that was the game yesterday.... that chance came as the Spaniards were "feeling" it, and, not in an unsportsmanlike way, they were having a bit of swag when that defensive lapse occured... I'm sure lopetegui had a lot of words for that lack of discipline when the goal was given up... I think at that point it was 4-0

  43. David V, June 22, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.

    @ Luis... I actually know more about soccer in Spain than I do about it in the USA... as far as demographics and quality players, I don't know where the best come from... maybe they do all come from the regions you mention, and that would be another issue as to why... my point was simply that high quality players from all over Spain were ignored during the 20th century, and the main factor was the geographical region from which the coach in Spain came from... generally the coach would pick players from his own region, and ignore fantastic quality players from other regions

  44. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.

    David, that was an interesting point you made about Spain that I was unaware of. being on thw outside as you are, now that Spain is doing so well at every age, do most of their best players come from the same regions at such a consistent % as they are picked in USA ?? You can go to USSF website and check out the numbers for yourself or beleive me. California always has over 30% of pool. In competition "club team wise" they are always or most always at the top but states like Illinois are always close behind. East Coast except for New York Red Bulls are hardly in the "elite" mix nationwide. When it comes to national teams same numbers dont reflect except for California consistently. We also see a lot of picks coming from the National Coach's regions. I have always said that if USA starts to pick the best players regardless of affiliation we would double our international results. All they have to do is look at SPain for model.

  45. Luis Arreola, June 22, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.

    It starts with picking the best player pool. Then you could worry about tactics, coaches, playing style, etc. You can never make a 5 star chef quality meal without the highest quality ingredients. Good job Spain. USA pay attention.

  46. Robert Heinrich, June 22, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.

    Best technical performance from an attacking point of view that I've seen from a youth national team in the 15 years I've been watching. The defense was awful in spots and we were duly punished. Their players have been training for a life of professional soccer since age 8 or 9. One of our center backs is in COLLEGE. I have watched the first three goals several times in slow motion and what I see is the quick recognition of space and the exploitation of it that comes from immersion in high level professional environment over a long period of time. If we want to produce professional soccer players at the highest level, college is out of the question and a high school education must be integrated with intensive daily training in a professional environment, i.e. exposure to senior level players, coaches who themselves have trained in that environment.

  47. Edgar Aldana, June 22, 2013 at 7:24 p.m.

    Excellent points have been brought up, it seems that in general we can all conclude that the developmental system is broken in this country. ODP was mentioned here in a few comments and I was involved for a few years with it and I can say that I'm not a fan of it at all, In my opinion it can be anti- developmental. On another point, the biggest issue I think affected the US vs Spain game was the lack of positional awareness and reaction on the part of the US defense and a mid that was very slow in supporting. The attack was effective but did lack a good final finish . The passing was much improved but player movement into open lanes lacked speed. Most of all I was glad to see a better style of playing instead of the usual old English style of soccer that even the English themselves are attempting to change. We'll continue to loose against the big boys for awhile longer but if we can convince the people who oversee the game at high levels in this country that this is the way for the game to really progress than maybe we do have a bright future in this sport.

  48. Aresenal Fan, June 22, 2013 at 8:45 p.m.

    I believe this team has great potential, work on the defense end and you have an exciting team that can give anyone some serious trouble. Goals scored on them were lapses of concentration and lack of speed with our center backs, never they I see them get broken down with skill. They played counter attacking soccer with long balls and those guys killed us with speed and finishing ability.

  49. Bruce Gowan, June 22, 2013 at 8:51 p.m.

    Great comments guys. For specific game notes the team defense lacked organization and the offense failed to deliver well placed final passes. I saw skill and athleticism but I did not see great team play. I saw 11 individual players playing hard but not working together. Coaching will not fix lack of skill but can fix attitude. These players need to lose their ego at the door and help make a team that is better the sum of the parts. Our US super stars are not super in the international game.

  50. Aresenal Fan, June 24, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.

    Great recovery from USA today vs France, although it seemed like france could score at any time, team help up and could of won game. France's got undeserved penalty, Gil missed his badly.

  51. soccer talk, June 27, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.

    Bottom line is there is no quick fix for US dev.
    To emulate Spain, Brazil... (Not Mexico, w/ their unequal display of soccer U20and up).
    The great USA is still far behind these others
    That as a whole worships soccer from youth to
    The crazed fan that does celebrate wins ( look
    In the stands at the final whistle). We as a nation
    Will be long waited to surpass the sport staple,
    Basketball, football, ... Where other countries
    Bemoan there lack of skill, training to even
    Take the same level as the US. However their
    Slowly filling the gap as Argentina in basketball.
    Just as The US have believe it or not become
    More enthused about soccer than ever before.
    Support The MLS and WSL b/c that is what
    Is what is in place. Grow from their and don't
    Expect to play equal to Spain.. For now it's unrealistic. The U20 is good but not cllose just
    The USMT to the likes of Barca...
    Don't ask for Ks or Ramos head bc of some
    Silly quick fix solutions. You work w/ the skill
    Base you have in place defensive as it may be
    You don't advance on style, beautiful play point
    In qualifying. Ugly or not survive, play to your
    Strength and advance. Restructure youth training
    System, and get some scholarships for kids that
    Can't afford upper training programs.

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