Commentary

USA already behind the eight-ball in U-20 World Cup qualifying

By Mike Woitalla

The USA's quest to qualify for the 2017 U-20 World Cup is in danger just one game into the Concacaf Championship. Despite playing with a man advantage for 72 minutes, Coach Tab Ramos’ team fell, 1-0, to Panama.

The USA, which must finish in the top two of its four-team group to advance to the second round, on Tuesday (5:30 p.m. ET, Univision Deportes/Facebook Live) faces Haiti, which opened with a 5-1 win over St. Kitts & Nevis. A loss to Haiti would almost certainly eliminate the Americans and a tie might not be enough even if they finish with a win over St. Kitts on Friday.

“We are obviously a little disappointed with the result,” Ramos said. “In particular, being a man up for that long of a period of time and not being able to win the game is certainly disappointing. But the tournament is long. And these sort of things happen here. Last time we started with a loss and a tie and went to the World Cup and certainly we’re hoping we get better as the tournament goes on.”

Results and Schedule: Concacaf U-20 World Cup Qualifying

The USA went on to reach the quarterfinals of the 2015 U-20 World Cup after their slow start in qualifying -- where it also fell to Panama -- but the Concacaf Championship first-round format two years ago was more forgiving -- with three teams from a six-team group advancing to the next round.

Haiti qualified for this Concacaf Championship by winning the Caribbean title, which saw Jamaica eliminated because of an upset by St. Kitts & Nevis.

The Haitians took an early lead over St. Kitts & Nevis on a goal by Canadian-born Jimmy-Shammer Sanon, scorer of the 2017 USL Goal of the Year while playing for FC Montreal. They also got goals from Alessandro Campoy, a red-shirt freshman at Florida International University who played youth ball for Weston FC and appeared for the U.S. U-18s in a 2014 scrimmage – scoring against OC Blues FC -- before committing to Haiti for the 2015 Concacaf U-20 Championship. Another scorer against Saint Kitts, Jonel Desire, played for and scored for Haiti’s full national team at the Caribbean Cup earlier this year.

For its part, the USA must recover from a disjointed performance against Panama in which they rarely threatened despite the man-advantage. The best U.S. chance came when Jeremy Ebobisse hit the crossbar with a header in the 48th minute.

Panama had the first good chance of the game in the 15th minute when a low Leandro Ávila pass from the wing was knocked away in front of Ronaldo Cordoba by a sliding Marlon Fossey.

Three minutes later, Panama’s Justin Simons was ejected for a foul that injured Tyler Adams.

Los Caneleros took a 37th minute lead with a shot by Avila, who plays at Iowa Western Community College, that deflected off defender Fossey and beat goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann high at the far post.

“It’s a tough loss,” said U.S. captain Erik Palmer-Brown. "But we still have two more games. We look forward to the next game. And we’re going to bounce back. We have to bounce back."

Feb. 18 in Tibas, Costa Rica
USA 0 Panama 1
Goal: L.Avila (Cordoba) 37.
USA -- Klinsmann; Fossey, Redding (Williamson, 69), Glad, Acosta; Lennon, Palmer-Brown, De La Torre (Craft, 69), Saucedo; Ebobisse, Adams (Sabbi, 31).
Panama -- Taylor; Vergara (Gutierrez, 93+), Rivera, Ramos, Andrade; Simons, R.Avila, Tejada, L.Avila (Hinestroza, 79); Martínez (Jaen, 72), Cordoba.

Stats: USA/Panama
Shots: 9/10
Shots on Goal: 2/2
Saves: 1/2
Corner Kicks: 6/5
Fouls: 22/16
Offside: 2/1

Misconduct Summary:
PAN - Justin Simons (ejection) 18
USA - Luca de la Torre (caution) 41
PAN - Cristian Martínez (caution) 46+
USA - Sebastian Saucedo (caution) 74

* * * * * * * * * *

USSF F license now available in Spanish

The U.S. Soccer Federation’s National F License coaching course is now available entirely in Spanish.

“When you look at the mission of the Federation, we are attempting to improve soccer at all levels,” said U.S. Soccer director of coaching education Nico Romeijn. “Our success is not only defined by results of our national teams but also the work and progress that is occurring at the grassroots level. The Spanish F will serve as another opportunity for coaches to begin their education and to ensure our players are participating in a fun, developmentally appropriate environment.”

The two-hour F license is a two-hour online course. It is intended for all parents and coaches of youth players ages of 5-8.

Since the National F License course was launched in February of 2015, U.S. Soccer has issued more than 63,000 F licenses.

Registration for the F license in English or Spanish is found at U.S. Soccer’s Digital Coaching Center.

9 comments about "USA already behind the eight-ball in U-20 World Cup qualifying".
  1. j bapper, February 20, 2017 at 10:08 a.m.

    Nobody should be surprised by this. Many of our best U-20 eligible players are not participating so this team just isn't very good... plus, the rest of these CONCACAF teams continue to improve and have caught up with us.

  2. Ric Fonseca, February 20, 2017 at 1:55 p.m.

    Valgame Dios!!! Congratulations to US Soccer for F-I-N-A-L-L-Y presenting/introducing a coaching license, all be it an F, in ESPANOL. I am please, however, this is something that a good many of Latino/Hispanic - or whatever label you want to give us - have been saying for the past 25 years - give or take one-two years - What IS worrysome, however, if just how US Soccer will roll out the program and if they have an adequate number of instructors (not the perpetual old viejo instructors), where are the "test markets" and dates, etc. etc. How about SA publishing such information since not everyone knows about US Soccer in the Latino communities!!! So in closing, I say "Vamos a ver que y si pasa!" Suerte!!

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, February 20, 2017 at 2:51 p.m.

    The Southern California website says that they already offer D and E license courses in Spanish. I thought the 2006 "Best Practices" manual was available in Spanish too, but cannot find a Spanish version now. Your comments got me thinking. Wouldn't it be great if session plans included the coaching points in both languages and if coaches taught the on-field verbal communication cues to players in both languages?

  4. R2 Dad, February 20, 2017 at 2:08 p.m.

    just from watching the highlights, it looked like they did play well and created chances, and that's the most important thing. that was an incredible goal, so full credit to panama for that. sometimes you lose these games, just hope they can maintain a positive mentality. they'll need 6 points and a good GD to progress.

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, February 20, 2017 at 2:22 p.m.

    Panama deserves great credit as they played an outstanding game after the ejection, but the goal was a lucky deflection into the upper corner off the defender's leg.

  6. Right Winger, February 20, 2017 at 4:24 p.m.

    R2 I am not doubting what you saw. But what I saw was a team that just wasn't in to it. I saw a team that was interested in keeping the ball than taking it to the goal. I am beginning to wonder maybe me eyesight is fading or my expectations to high.

  7. R2 Dad replied, February 20, 2017 at 8:07 p.m.

    I think your eyesight is fine, but maybe your expectations are too low. Tab may use direct play as a tactic but from what I've seen he'd like to keep the ball and work the attacking 3rd for a quality shot. So there is a lot of possession, but fewer potshots outside the 18 and fewer long balls over the top. They lost that match but still seem to be playing well.

  8. R2 Dad replied, February 22, 2017 at 11:26 a.m.

    Tom, context is important here. The US was up a man and down a goal, so their opponent parked the bus and countered when possible. In a match like that, possession isn't contested so the % number is not important. Kids are inconsistent, so even at this level breaking down a packed defensive 3rd is difficult for the best players. "Creat(ing) better numbers" isn't the goal; breaking down the packed defense becomes the goal. Obviously they weren't successful, but they could have lobbed balls at the keeper all day or crosses into the 18 just to improve their numbers, if that would make you happy.

  9. MA Soccer, February 21, 2017 at 9:03 a.m.

    Pressure on need to play better and win next 2 (which they should).

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