U.S. U-20s' foe: 'Hard-working' New Zealand team has five U.S. collegians

By Mike Woitalla

The USA aims to reach the quarterfinals in consecutive U-20 World Cups for the first time in history when it faces New Zealand in the round of 16 on Thursday morning (7 a.m. ET FS1, Telemundo En Vivo).

“We know they're going to be a hard-working team, based on the last World Cup also,” said U.S. coach Tab Ramos, whose team won Group F with ties against Ecuador (3-3) and Saudi Arabia (1-1) and a win over Senegal (1-0). “And they're going to make things difficult. But I think we're learning, we're getting better. I feel our team will be prepared. We know that it's a 'final.' You have to come out and win it. There's no other result that's good now.”

Ramos guided the USA to a quarterfinal appearance in 2015, when the USA fell on PKs to eventual champion Serbia after a scoreless tie. In 2015 group play, the USA beat New Zealand, 4-0.

The USA, which lost playmaker Gedion Zelalem to a knee injury in its opener against Ecuador, will be without three suspended players: defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Aaron Herrera, and midfielder Derrick Jones, who had replaced Zelalem. The USA played a man-down for the entire second half after Carter-Vickers' ejection in the 1-1 tie with Saudi Arabia.

"I believe in this team, and so whoever has an opportunity to play," Ramos said. "I'm sure they're going to do a great job and we're ready to go the next game.”

Justen Glad

Justen Glad, a backline starter in qualifying, will step in for Carter-Vickers, who wasn't available when the USA lifted the Concacaf U-20 Championship. Glad played 36 MLS games for Real Salt Lake since debuting in 2015 after signing Homegrown contract in 2014 and was RSL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. He arrived at the tournament recovering from a knee injury and entered the Saudi Arabia game at halftime. He was also an 84th-minute sub against Senegal.

New Zealand reached the second round thanks to a 3-1 win over Honduras and a scoreless tie with Vietnam while losing, 2-0, to France.

The Kiwis are led by striker Myer Bevan, who has has scored two of its three goals in South Korea. He recently signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps USL team after spending the last year at England’s Nike Academy.

Five of members of New Zealand squad have U.S. college ties.

Defender Hunter Ashworth, who scored the Kiwis' third goal, was raised in Southern California and made 13 appearances for the University of San Francisco in 2015. He red-shirted in 2016.  Midfielder Joe Bell, who assisted twice against Honduras, is headed to the University of Virginia. Connor Probert played 19 games (13 starts, 3 goals, 3 assists) for the University of Kentucky in 2016. Forward Noah Billingsley started in 12 of his 19 appearances as a freshman (2 goals, 3 assists) for UC Santa Barbara in 2016. Forward Lucas Imrie is an incoming freshman at Loyola University Chicago.

To beat New Zealand on Thursday would mark only the fifth time that the USA won a game in the knockout stage of a U-20 World Cup. The USA's quarterfinal opponent would be Venezuela, which beat Japan, 1-0, in overtime of their round of 16 clash. Venezuela, which will have two extra days of rest -- thanks to a schedule set up to favor the host South Korea in case it won its group -- is the only perfect team in the tournament besides France. Venezuela won Group B with wins over Germany (2-0), Vanuatu (7-0) and Mexico (1-0).

U-20 World Cup: Results & Schedule

USA-Saudi Arabia: Costly tie gives USA group title

THREE OF FOUR CONCACAF TEAMS ADVANCE:  Honduras, which fell to the USA on PKs after a scoreless tie in the Concacaf U-20 Championship final in Costa Rica, is the only one of the four Concacaf qualifiers that didn’t advance to the knockout stage. In addition to their loss to New Zealand, the Catrachos fell to France (2-0) and picked up its only points with a 2-0 win over tournament debutant Vietnam after they had been eliminated.

Mexico advanced with a second-place finish in Group B, thanks to a 3-2 win over Vanuatu and a scoreless tie with Germany before losing, 1-0, to Venezuela. Costa Rica advanced with a third-place finish in Group C. After opening with a 1-0 loss to Iran, the Ticos tied Portugal, 1-1, and beat Zambia, 1-0.

In the round of 16, Mexico faces Senegal and Costa Rica meets England.

* * * * * * * * * *

U.S. Soccer Roster: 64 players called into 'Futures Camp'

Sixty-four boys born in 2002 and 2003 are in U.S. Soccer’s first Boys’ National Team Futures Camp of 2017, May 26-30 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California.

U.S. Soccer launched the Futures program in 2015 to focus on players who appear to be on a later physical development path or are born in the second half of the year. The aim is to avoid the pitfalls of the relative age effect.

The camp will expose players “to a hyper-focused curriculum formulated around highlighting each player’s unique talents while challenging them to improve decision-making and speed of play, raise tactical awareness, and improve technical execution.”

The program is run by U.S. Soccer Director of Talent Identification Tony Lepore.

2002 Futures Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Bobocea (New York Red Bulls; Glen Oaks, N.Y.), Khamari Culcleasure (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.), William Evans (D.C. United; McLean, Va.).
DEFENDERS (8): Ori Bitton (Real So Cal; Agoura Hills, Calif.), Amir Daley (New York Red Bulls; Elmont, N.Y.), Jahlane Forbes (Orlando City SC; Clermont, Fla.), Carl Hartman (Richmond United; Richmond, Va.), Daniel Miller (D.C. United; Dunkirk, Md.), John Michael Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.), Cole Verrico (Philadelphia Union; Kennett Square, Pa.), Omar Wahba (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.).
MIDFIELDERS (18): Matthew Acosta (New York Red Bulls; Annandale, N.J.), Gavin Brose (Vardar; Livonia, Mich.); Jackson Castro (Solar Chelsea SC; Plano, Texas), Alejandro Coury (New England Revolution; Yarmouth, Maine), Cade Cowan (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Maxwel De-Bodene (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.), Matthew Gee (Ballistic United; Hillsborough, Calif.), Tayvon Grey (Cedar Stars Academy - Bergan; Bronx, N.Y.), Christopher Hernandez (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Tucker Lepley (Charalotte Soccer Academy; Charlotte, N.C.), Andrew Maia (New York Red Bulls; Kearny, N.J.), Mario Penagos (Sacramento Republic FC; Elk Grove, Calif.), Pablo Salazar Jr. (LA Galaxy; La Puente, Calif.), Ray Serrano (Seattle Sounders FC; Graham, Wash.), Benjamin Smith (Real Colorado; Centennial, Colo.), Nathan Stricker (PA Classics; Sinking Spring, Pa.), Jackson Temple (Continental FC DELCO; Millville, Pa.), Wan Kuzri Wan Kamal (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro; Carbondale, Ill.).
FORWARDS (3): Kyle Gee (Charlotte Soccer Academy; Charlotte, N.C.), Michael Tsicoulias (New England Revolution; Newton, Mass.), Griffin Yow (Virginia Development Academy; Clifton, Va.).

2003 Futures Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Pablo Andrade (Albion SC; Chula Vista, Calif.), Jackson Leavitt (Solar Chelsea SC; Allen, Texas), Andre Zuluaga (Kendall SC; Miami, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (6): Amir Acree (D.C. United; Washington, D.C.), Jack Anderson (New England Revolution; Holyoke, Mass.), Daniel Edelman (Players Development Academy; Warren, N.J.), Jakob Friedman (New York Red Bulls; Syosset, N.Y.), Noah Laureano (Arlington Soccer Association; Annandale, Va.), Michael Lenis (Weston, FC; Weston, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (18): Paxten Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.), Ethan Bellek (Colorado Storm; Timnath, Colo.), Cole Cruthers (Portland Timbers; Beaverton, Ore.), Alejandro De Villena (Atlanta United FC; Jefferson, Ga.), Christian Dominguez (World Class FC; Rock Tavern, N.Y.), Francisco Espinoza Jr. (Chicago Fire; Blue Island, Ill.), Anthony Hernandez (Crew SC Academy; Reynoldsburg, Ohio), Luke Hille Capital Area Railhawks - CASL; Cary, N.C.), Jack Jasinski (Charlotte Soccer Academy; Charlotte, N.C.), Ryan Kipness (New York City FC; Stamford, Conn.), Cole Mooney (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.), Orlando Monroy (Sereno Soccer Club; Tempe, Ariz.), Kevin Paredes (D.C. United; South Ridge, Va.), Nicholas Pariano (Crew SC Academy Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Blake Pope (FC Dallas; Prosper, Texas), Noah Radecki (Beachside SC; New Canaan, Conn.), Aiden Semelsberger (Rio Rapids SC; Los Alamos, N.M.), Damon Smargon (San Diego Surf FC; San Diego, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Micah Cain (Philadelphia Union; Pottstown, Pa.), Peter Carriker (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Johnny Perez (LA Galaxy; Pico Rivera, Calif.), Mateo Stoka (Sockers FC; Fox Point, Wis.), Gavin Williams (Georgia United; Cumming, Ga.).

19 comments about "U.S. U-20s' foe: 'Hard-working' New Zealand team has five U.S. collegians".
  1. Quarterback TD, May 30, 2017 at 11:04 p.m.

    Nonsense-- this is an over hype New Zealand team that cannot match up to US physical and dynamic type of play-- US will walk away with a 4-0 win easily..onto the quarterfinals..

  2. Allan Lindh replied, May 31, 2017 at 12:33 a.m.

    Where they will find Venezuela a handful. Better hope for a real ref.

  3. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 9:59 a.m.

    Allan, one game at a time New Zealand now and Venezuela next. Getting through Venezuela will be the momentum the US needs to win this entire tournament. Right now team offense is only clicking on two strikers and the other wingers and potential scorers are getting hungry for goals. In addition the defense is looking good. My only problem is the goalkeeper who is seriously lacking but he can be protected by the defenders

  4. Anthony Petgrave replied, June 1, 2017 at 12:25 a.m.

    New Zealand has called up 2 members of their U20's to the senior team set to play in the Confederations Cup, that said, I still "feel" that even with the visible omissions, none more so that Jones, the US(A) should still carry the day.

    FIFA is also sticking it to the US(A); 2-days less rest + if WE advance, and WE are scheduled to play the early quarterfinals match v. Venezuela.

    FIFA was working real hard to give the Koreans a body, arm and a leg up; best laid plans and all that...

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now, May 31, 2017 at 9:47 a.m.

    Zambia beat Germany today so upsets can happen, especially at youth level.

  6. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 9:55 a.m.

    Zambia is the Africans Champions and was expected to defeat Germany. This tournament has seen many African nations in the final 4 and I expect no different this year. Regardless of who does what now the US is winning this competition.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 10:27 a.m.

    Zambia was expected to beat Germany? By who exactly?

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 10:33 a.m.

    According to largest newspaper in Zambia it was a "stunning" result -

  9. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 11:47 a.m.

    Fire, I can tell you have absolutely zero idea what is going on here. Any team that defeats a powerhouse like Brazil, Germany, Spain etc will be ecstatic especially coming from a team like Zambia. Let's put this in perspective no one in Germany give their U20 any chance of winning and the coach give them a 50-50 chance. Any and I mean any country that is the African champions is a top contender to win.. the problem you are having is not accepting Zambia which is generally not a high rank soccer country to win. That because you generally expect Algeria, Nigeria and countries with more prestige like Cameroon to win but guess what Zambia defeat them all. I said in one of these blogs a few weeks ago I will not be surprised it's a US vs Zambia finals. However I know this U20 has change dramatically from the past to the point where it's becoming more dominant by professionals U20 teams with highly experience coaches. This gives teams like Portugal, France, England, US a big leg up on the competition.

  10. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 12:23 p.m.

    He said "I think in a play-off game, it's always 50-50" so that comment had nothing to do with Zambia in particular. Anyway, what coach is going to say pre-game that his team is a huge favorite? The point I was making is that non-powerhouses like Zambia can beat traditional powers like Germany. So even though NZ is not a big-time team, they can certainly beat a team like the US. I think the US will win this one but NZ winning would be less surprising than Zambia beating Germany.

  11. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 12:24 p.m.

    You are the one saying this US team, without several of its best players, is easily the best team here and I'm the one with no idea what I'm talking about?

  12. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 1:35 p.m.

    Ok.. now you are sounding just a very little little little bit knowledgeable.. there are no top contenders countries playing at 100%. Some clubs are too overprotective in releasing players however the top contenders countries with mostly or all professional players will always have the best chance in this competition because they have stamina, organization soccer training and top coaches and that is really hard to go up against and US has the best at this level right now. What African countries have going for them is pure talent but in today's soccer world pure talent does not give you trophies anymore-- the U17 World Cup will be different as it's all mostly non-professionals..

  13. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 1:43 p.m.

    What is the basis for saying African teams have the most talent?

  14. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 5:17 p.m.

    According to the experts like Barcelona FC who opened a training school in Nigeria recently it's because like South America young players are very inventive, self challenged and spend a lot of time practicing. They look at soccer as a means to do something in life. Personally I see another mindset to a child playing soccer in Africa they are obsessed with dribbling, joggling, playing with much older folks, playing hard defense and practicing morning till night. And this works ok but organizational play is missing and that's why you see the lack of transitional plays in youth soccer.. This is the same thing that happens in South America-- look at an old reel of Neymar and Messi playing and they barely passes the ball then look at our young players they passes more than anything or at least try because the coaches insist. So what it really boils down too is Africans players can demolish any of the US players in 1v1 and 1v2 and that works super in U17 but in older divisions dribbling can be neutralize with defenders working together, defenders knowing how to cut off angles or simply stopping the offense and forcin them to pass or run out of space and causing a turnover. Team effort will always overcome individual effort and that's something Messi has to learn for international play if he is to succeed..

  15. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 5:38 p.m.

    Sounds like a bunch of sweeping stereotypes with little practical application in reality.

  16. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 6:17 p.m.

    Not stereotyping it's far from that-- we are looking at why Africans young players are talented and that is base on tournaments and Olympics results.. the young do excellent regardless of country.. Then politics and internal chaos ruin these players as they grow into adulthood. This is no different why NBA has camps in certain African countries where players are tall. Without a doubt I am sure an African country can win a World Cup at the senior level if there is stability and they can get more organize.

  17. Quarterback TD replied, May 31, 2017 at 6:43 p.m.

    BTW.. Africans are just very talented they just need the infrastructure to start dominating soccer. And that's not stereotyping it's reality.. Countries like Algeria was given sports stadiums and clubs and all of a sudden there are no clubs in Europe without an Algerian.. In US we are creating very good soccer teams because we have money and infrastructure which buys us tons of lousy coaches and a crapload of turf fields.. but we don't have talent because our players are manufactured. Child Authorities want kids in schools studying their ABCs not playing soccer in the park..

  18. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 7:15 p.m.

    Algeria? Half of their players were born and raised in France.

  19. Quarterback TD, May 31, 2017 at 9:47 p.m.

    Yes Algeria the same country that defeated West Germany in 1982 World Cup and FIFA cheated to allow West Germany to advance in the table standing. Algeria is being used as they are one of the best examples of producing soccer players that has both talent and tactical skills. Now all that's needed is the rest of the soccer Africans powerhouse to follow suit..

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