Tab Ramos: We ran them into the ground

In its second game of the U-20 World Cup, after opening with a 3-3 tie against South America runner-up Ecuador, Coach Tab Ramos’ U.S. team notched a 1-0 win over Africa runner-up Senegal, which finished fourth at the 2015 U-20 World Cup.

Datebook: U-20 World Cup

“I think this was an amazing effort from the team,” said Ramos, on the win in which 17-year-old Josh Sargent scored his third goal of the tournament. “When you play an African team at a World Cup, and you run them into the ground in the first half the way we did, by pressing them and not allowing them to play, I think it shows a lot about the character of the type of players we have here.”

The USA faces Saudi Arabia on Sunday (5 a.m. ET, FS1, Telemundo) in its final Group F game.

“We hope it’s a long tournament,” said Ramos. “We only think about the next game. We control our destiny. We know if we win [against Saudi Arabia], we finish first in the group. And that doesn’t happen very often, so we’ll be happy to do that.”

Coach Tab Ramos

The last time the USA won its group at a U-20 World Cup came in 2007, when Coach Thomas Rongen’s team, which included Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, prevailed in a group with South Korea (1-1), Poland (6-1) and Brazil (2-1) and then beat Uruguay with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani (2-1) in the round of 16 before falling in the quarterfinals. Ramos' 2015 team also reached the quarterfinals.

In Ramos’ first U-20 World Cup as coach, in 2013, the USA was eliminated in group play after a loss to Ghana, which ended up finishing third. Ramos compared the Senegal team to Ghana.

“We faced Ghana in 2013 and we lost 4-1,” Ramos said. “It was a very good Ghana team, which made it to the semifinals of that tournament. It’s always difficult because [African teams] have great athletes and they attack from both sides with a lot of numbers.

“So that’s one of the things that we were preparing for [against Senegal]. We thought if we can keep the game on their side of the field, and we can keep them away from being from being comfortable playing -- they have to chase us. What’s that going to look like? And let’s see if we can do it. And in the first half we did. I think we surprised them.”

Sargent scored the winner in the 34th minute. Senegal outshot the USA, 15-8, but many of their efforts were from long range and required only two saves from U.S. keeper Jonathan Klinsmann.

“You can’t slow them down,” Ramos said. “What you do is try and keep the ball away from them, and we kept the ball in the first half fairly well. We created opportunities and kept them on their heels. That forced them to have to change their game. And I think that was the key to the beginning and the key to the fact that they really had a hard time playing against us.”

The U.S. defense fared much better in its second game with the return of Cameron Carter-Vickers, who entered the tournament recovering from an injury.

“We had to sit him out the first game to make sure he’s a 100 percent healed,” said Ramos. “He was probably ready to play our first game, but we saved him a few more days and I think it was worth it. He really proved to be the anchor of the defense and with him and EPB [Erik Palmer-Brown] together -- it’s a pretty good pairing. And they did great.”

The win over Senegal moved the USA into first place of Group F. The top two finishers and four third-place teams in the six groups reach the knockout stage, so the USA is well poised to advance. But a first-place finish would likely present the USA with a less formidable round of 16 opponent – the runner-up in Group E, probably New Zealand.

50 comments about "Tab Ramos: We ran them into the ground".
  1. Quarterback TD, May 26, 2017 at 8:19 a.m.

    On to the next-- until that trophy is in hand-- if US doesn't win I am totally getting out of your soccer and you guys can have all of it--

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:57 a.m.

    I hope we win but will be glad to see you go if we don't. Get you take your buddy frank with you? You guys can move your tired act to NFL sites.

  3. Quarterback TD replied, May 26, 2017 at 10:31 a.m.

    Fire, I speak for myself and not Frank however unlike you Frank is very descriptive and articulate in what he writes that proves he is much more mature than you. As a matter of fact he is much smarter and knowledgeable than you and that in itself is not difficult. you seem to take exception about NFL the most intense and aggressive team sport on the planet usually that is because you are a small minded individual. Soccer is a great sport to follow but it's a little overkill as it's just way too much-- I need a break

  4. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 26, 2017 at 11:05 a.m.

    Yes, by all means take a break so you can watch a bunch of 350 slobs smash into each other for three seconds, stand around for a minute, and then repeat over and over for four hours. Sounds great! Much like an NFL game, Frank repeats the same thing over and over again too. Everyone is horrible and stupid and not as good as Cruyff. Now that's boring!

  5. Quarterback TD replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:13 p.m.

    Fire, your comment just proved my point that Frank is much smarter and better than you by far..

  6. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 26, 2017 at 11:24 p.m.

    Really? How so?

  7. Joe Linzner, May 26, 2017 at 8:32 a.m.

    Wow, super fan aren't you!

  8. Quarterback TD replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:51 a.m.

    Yep!! It can be all yours.. however I am certain this team will win and you will continue to hear from me except during NFL season.. I don't want to hear or see any other sport during that time-- NONE!!!!

  9. Clayton Davis, May 26, 2017 at 9:07 a.m.

    Boring game to watch. The game against Ecuador was much better. Easier to stay awake through the Ecuador game.

  10. Quarterback TD replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:44 a.m.

    You are absolutely right. I just tried to watch England vs South Korea and could not after 15 mins so I decided go into the office early. We don't have the flair of players like Messi, Maradona and a host of other big names that played in this tournament in the past. In addition coaches are actually coaching and not everyone for themselves this is resulting in low scores and little individuality. The other issue I am having is why teams with so many professionals already sign are not dominating with the exception of France.

  11. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 10:24 a.m.

    TD, "we don't have flair" . You're exactly right, and there is no excuse that we don't. After all we are the culture in the world that always show a flair, and is identified as such by Europeans. This is why the whole world copies are culture, our music, sports, entertainment, and even the flair with words. But in soccer we produce "stiffs" or what we call in Holland "grey mice" as soccer player. They look a play the's boring to watch. The fault lies with the training and development programs of soccer players here!!

  12. beautiful game, May 26, 2017 at 9:38 a.m.

    First half, ran the opponent into the ground...strange comment from Ramos.

  13. frank schoon, May 26, 2017 at 10:03 a.m.

    "Senegal ran themselves into the ground". I have no idea how Tab came up with this conclusion. If you watch closely, the moment a Senegal player receives the ball ,his first inclinations is to run with the ball, instead looking to see who is open or who is in a better position. They love having the ball on their feet. Some of the interviews with African players in Europe have stated the style of game is more tactical with lot less frivolity with the ball, it more serious and business like so many of the African players have to learn a new style of soccer

  14. Ginger Peeler replied, May 26, 2017 at 10:46 a.m.

    Frank, you deliberately misquoted Ramos! That's NOT what he said!! Not at all! Go back. Read the 2nd, 8th and 10th paragraphs. Those are Ramos' quotes: what he said and what he meant by the phrase "you run them into the ground". C'mon guys, why are you so anxious to find fault that you have to make stuff up? Or are we back to poor reading comprehension and critical thinking skills?Though I may disagree with you, I've got no problem when you express your displeasure with what someone actually said or did. But you do yourself and ALL of us a disservice by misquoting someone. It may help make your case, but it's a lie!

  15. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 11:09 a.m.

    Ginger, "DELIBERATELY?". What does the headline say?
    I really don't appreciate your supposition.

  16. Ginger Peeler replied, May 26, 2017 at 11:37 a.m.

    Headline: "We ran them into the ground"
    You: "Senegal ran themselves into the ground"
    What you "quoted" doesn't even come close to what Ramos said. Surely you can see that?

  17. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 12:19 p.m.

    Ginger, I don't know if you are familiar with African soccer and how it is played on the African continent. But one of the problems with African players is that they like to show ball handling prowess, wanting right away to beat a player. It is in their nature to be physical and employ their speed along with their skills. You can't force players to run, or run them into the ground, unless by nature they like to run which many of the African like to do. That is why I stated"they ran themselves into the ground" ,because the characteristic of their style is to run with speed, so this has nothing to do with forcing them to run.... The African players in interviews tend to quickly learn that in Europe it is not about individual prowess or lots of running but more team oriented soccer with lots of tactics.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, May 26, 2017 at 12:48 p.m.

    Frank, my interpretation of what Ramos said is that his game plan was based on Dutch principles--possess the ball and play the game in the opponent's half. Now how perfectly US U20 players execute that plan is another thing. I think your comments about the general deficiencies in US players and in their development is spot on. I think that if you ever sat down with Ramos and talked about soccer you would find that you both have a lot in common in how you see the game. I wish I could find a way to watch the game, but a replay hasn't been available on my cable and isn't available on line. I watched a bit of another match last night on FS1 and the producer's choice of shots was horrible. Maybe about 10% of the time they showed the field. Most of the time the shot was jumping from closeup to closeup. I want to see how the team is defending corners and what the attackers movements are, but the camera is on the coach and then moves to a close up of the corner flag just in time for the restart, then they show the action in the 6 yard box. Sigh.

  19. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 1:22 p.m.

    Bob, have you tried Fubo, they have a lot of those games and you can watch repeats, anytime.The only problem with Fubo is that you can't tape the games, maybe DVR works, I don't know . I think they charge $9 a month.
    I don't have a problem with Tab's coaching, after all, I think he is the most technical american player sofar. And I'm glad he is coaching for we should have more like him. I'm not familiar with his philosophy of the game, but regardless, I think he is qualified. Yes , I agree you want to play in the opponent's half ,here is the problem. To do that you need to have ball possession, and not lose the ball after first or second pass. American soccer's main problem is lack of keeping possession, thus Cruyff style of play is difficult carry out. Furthermore, realize that your are playing whose players ,man for man, can outrun our players in a sprint. That means ,Bob, you don't want your team in their half for it leaves too much space behind you to cover defensively, ESPECIALLY, when these guys,can out run you in all that open space. So 2 things , the Americans can not afford to play in the opponent's half of the field because by moving up so far your leaving yourself wide-open with so much space behind the defense, for them to run into ,beat you on the run in a counter attack, and second you can't afford to play in their half with the ball because we are not good in keeping ball possession. So I don't know where he gets this about playing in the opponent's half for that is suicide. As soon as they got the goal, they played defensively to play it safe and left one or two players up front and the rest was defense.....

  20. Ginger Peeler replied, May 26, 2017 at 2:32 p.m.

    "Senegal ran themselves into the ground". I have no idea how Tab came up with this conclusion." That's exactly how you quoted and attributed the quote to Tab Ramos. So one would assume that it's something Ramos really said. But he NEVER said that. Woitalla actually paraphrased (did NOT quote) Ramos' comment by using the heading "We ran them into the ground" (yes, I just quoted the heading). Frank, you turned apples into oranges. In effect you have taken a statement, such as my saying to you, "I hit him over the head" and you have turned to a bystander and told them, "Ginger just said that he hit himself over the head." In effect, you have made no effort to quote me and you have actually lied to the person you're talking to. But I'm not sure you're getting that.

  21. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 2:47 p.m.

    Ginger, let me explain it one more time, for I really don't want to waste any more time on it,going over a such a useless topic. One , you accuse me of deliberately lying, which, in itself, takes some hutzpah. I saw the headline,
    "Tab Ramos: We ran them into ground". I assume that he said that,something that you accuse of lying about. My immediate reaction was, no he didn't run this team in to ground for this team in itself is a running team whose characteristic of play is running... as I explained before.
    If Woitella paraphrased his headline ..that is not my fault, I read the headline as it is....if you are happy to believe the other way fine, that's your business, have a nice day...

  22. don Lamb replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:41 p.m.

    Frank - Ignorance is not an excuse. Posting incorrect information has become a regular occurrence for you.

  23. don Lamb replied, May 29, 2017 at 10:49 a.m.

    While legitimate, his excuse admitted that he didn't actually read the article carefully and just made assumptions. Figures that you would defend that sort of lazy ignorance.

  24. Nick Daverese, May 26, 2017 at 10:24 a.m.

    A lot of African countries don't do the little things to help them win games. Like they duck in the defensive wall. They also have a lot of poor keepers. Dribbling instead of passing is another. But if you can beat your first defender off the dribble. That in and of itself helps create space for others. So beat the first defender then look to pass to a team mate.

  25. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 10:36 a.m.

    Nick, so true. And beating a player does help create space which is one of the hallmarks of how Barcelona plays, imploying Brian Laudrup with the "dream team' of Cruyff or Ronaldinho, or Neymar . But they employ this strategy in the opponents third of the field,but not everywhere on the field like Senegal players did. By dribbling and dribbling gives opponents more defensive time to adjust...

  26. Quarterback TD replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:35 p.m.

    Africans have won the U20 and U17 numerious times and may make the finals through Zambia. I just think this year is extremely bad and that plays well into US advantage. Could you imagine if France had Mbappe and the other high ranking U20 in their top league playing. I said earlier this year that this tournament is not really relevant due to Europe club stranglehold on players. However US will win and will set the tone for the good things to come..

  27. Nick Daverese, May 26, 2017 at 10:39 a.m.

    On we have no flair most American born here players don't have much flair. They don't waste their time on juggling either. That is why at a tryout you see players who can not pull a ball out of the air on their first touch. That is how Weil Coerver is making a fortune here in the states. To artificially teach flair to American born players. We played what I like to call Coerver teams. Where each player has a lot of moves. We never lost to any of them. All you need as a player is three moves to beat people that you can start with either foot. You also need a move to reverse your own field by yourself like the cruyff move plus be able to shoot off it and a pull back to give you more time with the ball when you come under pressure. That all anyone needs.

  28. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 11:17 a.m.

    Nick, American players are no different than other players in the world. True,they may not be familiar with greats of the past to learn from but I blame the coaches who don't nurture and promote individualism. Problem is these coaches either are not familiar with many of the former greats themselves or they themselves were not creative players. Another problem is that a lot coaches in youth soccer were former defenders themselves, which also a problem And as far as
    Coerver techniques go ,that is also programmed. We had creative player before Wiel Coerver came around.

  29. Bret Newman replied, May 26, 2017 at 5:44 p.m.

    When Tab Ramos was a professional soccer player, he was one of the most creative American soccer players ever. He had flair! So he's the right coach, to allow his players, to play with flair.

  30. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 6:46 p.m.

    Bret , that is not the issue, for it is too late to worry about letting them play creatively...that should have happened years ago. Basically Tab is getting players that are full fledged adults and therefore are other things need to be stressed..

  31. Nick Daverese, May 26, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

    Hey did you see the on goal by one of our players? That should never happen you never back pass like a machine. If the team has good communication that will help. Also we teach our kids if they have to back pass to our keeper. You never back pass on our defensive goal. Always outside of the goal so if a mistake is made you give up a corner and not an own goal.

  32. frank schoon, May 26, 2017 at 10:52 a.m.


  33. frank schoon, May 26, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.


  34. frank schoon, May 26, 2017 at 11:29 a.m.


  35. Goal Goal replied, May 27, 2017 at 9:53 p.m.

    The play is made off the ball. That is the truth.

  36. Albert Harris, May 26, 2017 at 11:46 a.m.


  37. Bob Ashpole replied, May 26, 2017 at 12:56 p.m.

    Albert he is using caps so people can quickly distinguish between his tips and his comments about the articles. You can then chose to skip the tips if you want. Us older people do not associate Upper case with yelling. Professionally I used upper case according to conventions. It was not only desired but demanded. This "yelling" idea comes from young people texting and posting on social media like facebook. It doesn't come from professional writers.

  38. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 26, 2017 at 1:09 p.m.

    Who decided this guy should be posting "tips" on this website? They have nothing to do with the content of any of the articles.

  39. frank schoon replied, May 26, 2017 at 1:24 p.m.

    Bob, thank you. I think I need you as my spokesman LOL.
    I do it for their benefit in order to distinguish from the other posts...LOL

  40. don Lamb replied, May 26, 2017 at 9:47 p.m.

    Kumar and frank, a match made in heaven. Both of you post lies on a consistent basis and have no problem moving on to the next lie when called out on the last.

  41. don Lamb replied, May 29, 2017 at 10:55 a.m.

    If that is your conclusion, it just shows another failure in comprehension on your part. I have no agenda or wish to "kiss the ring" of US Soccer. And, I would bet my life that Frank is not the most knowledgeable person to post here about the modern game. His random tidbits are mostly accurate, but they are so random, it makes me question if he could even actually organize them into something that would be meaningful. They also include some amazingly archaic ideas such as "don't pass your defenders the ball because they are not skilled enough to handle it."

  42. don Lamb replied, May 29, 2017 at 8:37 p.m.

    yeah, lol. Xolos tied Crossfire (a DA team) in the 2-game group stage. That tournament is nothing more than a showcase, so looking at the "championship" as any determining factor of the quality of the teams is ridiculous (another comprehension failure...). America lost to San Diego Surf (another DA team) in their group stage. Seattle beat Manchester City, and Tottenham, even though they lost a 5-4 game to America.

  43. Ginger Peeler, May 26, 2017 at 3:09 p.m.

    Bob and Frank...for us old dinosaurs, all caps are no big deal. And I suppose, on a computer, they're pretty legible. But on a smart phone, an all caps post tends to make you go cross-eyed (and a little crazy). I suggest you restrict your all caps to your tip heading. Then proceed with either initial caps (first letter of each word is capitalized except for the words "the, and, of, a" ....there's a rule for that but I'm too old to remember what it is). But it's a bear to try to type. Or just your usual upper and lower case for the body of your tip. We used to have a guy, Santiago 234 (? I forget the rest of his name) who used lots of caps and dots ........ between sentences that had people yelling "Uncle" all the time. Talk about going cross eyed!!! It was physically difficult to read his posts. But I miss him dearly; he always had something interesting to say (my opinion).

  44. Bob Ashpole replied, May 26, 2017 at 7:41 p.m.

    I still don't have a smart phone and have texts blocked from my phone. Gets harder every year because the cell companies push the smart phones hard. Retailers assume everyone has a cell phone and don't provide support for people who don't. The popularity of the smart phone is due entirely to the cell companies making it difficult to buy anything else. The vast majority of consumers just purchase what is put in front of them. Even my ISP and Microsoft try every trick in the book to get a cell phone number and a credit card. They are motivated entirely by marketing strategies.

  45. Bob Ashpole replied, May 26, 2017 at 7:47 p.m.

    The NSCAA conference earlier this year is a great example. They set up their schedule and evaluation system on an app for apple smart phones. It didn't work on any other platform. I had brought a laptop and was out of luck. There was no plan B.

  46. Nick Daverese, May 26, 2017 at 7:28 p.m.

    I went for years not knowing what caps meant :)

    Ramos was never what I would call a fast player. But he was a very quick player he had fast feet. He could beat most first defenders off his dribble. But the second defender would hurt him. So he was injured a lot. Especially at the beginning of the season, he loved to play the flank the second defender would hurt him on the flank.

    Then they brought a coach in that trained flank players. Unfortunately it was at the end of his career. He told Ramos to take on the first defender on the flank. But then move to the center of the field. Why, so that second defender did not get a free shot at him. Plus he was a terrific passer. So from the center of the field both sides could benefit from his passing instead of just one side. It made sense to him. After that he was hurt a lot less.

  47. Bret Newman replied, May 27, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

    Ramos would shift into a higher gear. He would use deceptive speed on the flanks. He also was too unselfish as a player. He could have had so many more goals. He should have took more shots on goal, because he was incredibly accurate with power. Instead of skying the ball, most of his shots were on target. I would say a good 20 to 30 yard shot. The USMNT hardly has any players with good long range shots with accuracy. The best was probably Clint Mathis.

  48. Ginger Peeler, May 26, 2017 at 10:06 p.m.

    I gave up my landline about 5 years ago and have been saving money on my phone bill ever since. I can use my phone for texting and email, too. I have a friend in his early 80s whose wife has an iPhone 7. He, on the other hand, has a tiny, old flip phone. He'll have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a cellphone upgrade. But it's a whole new world out there. When I became a master gardener in 2011, we turned in our uvolunteer hours on paper forms. Now, it's all done online with computers and cell phones and, I think, iPads. I'm not surprised your meeting was set up with the Apple format, but there are existing systems that are compatible with other formats. Just sounds like poor planning on the organizers' part. The one thing that really stands out for me is how quiet and well-behaved children are in restaurants these days. Where they used to be all squirmy and whiney, now they quietly play games on their parents' cellphones until the food arrives. I never thought I'd see the day!

  49. Nick Daverese, May 27, 2017 at 8:54 a.m.

    Ginger I had one of the first analog phones when they first came out. It was over a foot long. Problem was I had to hire two guys to carry the two suitcases that help the phones batteries. Old joke for that old first phone.

    What Ramos had was one of the best traits a player can have, and that was speed off his first step. That is how he beat his first defender.

  50. Nick Daverese, May 27, 2017 at 8:58 a.m.

    Bret we don't have many players with a big shot. That is one of the characteristics of a great defensive mid on Attack.

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