Uruguay ends USA's U-20 Men's World Cup dream

The USA's quest to reach the semifinals of the U-20 Men's World Cup for the second time in 17 appearances — Coach Bob Gansler's squad finished fourth in 1989 — ended with a 2-0 loss to Uruguay on Sunday.

After four straight shutouts wins, the USA conceded its first goal when a swift Uruguayan counterattack culminated with Anderson Duarte stroking into an empty net from close range a low pass from winger Juan Santos that sped past keeper Gaga Slonina  guarding the near post.

"We got caught in a counter," U.S. coach Mikey Varas said. "We got caught combining through the middle. This was their game, to counter quickly on the final line."

Justin Che was left on ground after his futile slide-tackle attempt as Santos met the ball a few yards outside the U.S. penalty area.

"Uruguay made an amazing play on it," Varas said. "We didn't have anybody at any moment, from the beginning of it to the end, who was able to make a big play.

"But what I think the more important thing was that the first goal, because it kind of came against the flow — we started the game pretty positively — I think it rattled the group a little bit. We started losing control of the game for a big portion of that first half and we weren't able to threaten much after that moment in the first half.

"We were able to resettle, regroup, and I thought the boys came out and dealt with the adversity much better in the second half."

But in the 56th minute, Joshua Wynder's attempt to clear a similar delivery by Santos ended up in his own goal.

The USA's run to quarterfinals included two opponents from the world's weakest region, Oceania, and it dispatched of Fiji (3-0) in group play and New Zealand (4-0) in the round of 16. Neither Ecuador, which the USA beat 1-0 in the opener, nor Slovakia, a 2-0 loser to the USA, defended as adeptly as the Uruguayans.

"You can only play who you got in front of you," Varas said. "If you drop points against Fiji, Slovakia or New Zealand, nobody says, 'It's OK.' It's a World Cup and there's a lot of pressure to win every single game, and I think the boys did tremendous in this tournament. We just weren't on our best tonight."

In Sunday's game, U.S. passes were often intercepted in midfield, and the Uruguayans retreated quickly in numbers to stifle the Americans when they got close to or into the penalty area.

Cade Cowell, who scored in three straight games going into the quarterfinal, was the only U.S. player who managed more than one shot.

He shot high in the 48th minute, weakly to the keeper Randall Rodríguez in the 63rd minute and forced a foot save by Rodríguez from a narrow angle in the 65th minute. His 11-yard shot in the 78th minute looked goal-bound but was blocked by teammate Rokas Pukstas in the goal area.

The game ended with teams tied on shots (11-11) and the Uruguayans showed no indication of being disadvantaged by having two fewer days rest than the USA.

Pukstas and Kevin Paredes didn't join the squad until the knockout stage because of club commitments. Neither started. Parades came on at halftime for Owen Wolff and Pukstas replaced Michael Halliday in the 54th minute.

The loss marked the third straight U-20 World Cup in which the USA fell in the quarterfinals to a South America foe: 2-1 losses to Ecuador in 2019 and Venezuela in 2017. (In the 2015 quarterfinals, the USA fell to eventual champion Serbia, on PKs after a scoreless tie).

Uruguay, which qualified as South American runner-up to Brazil, finished second in Group E, with wins over Iraq (4-0) and Tunisia (1-0) sandwiching a 3-2 loss to England. Uruguay beat Gambia (1-0) in the round of 16. (Group E winner England lost, 2-1, to Italy in the round of 16.)

In the semifinals on Thursday, Uruguay faces Israel and Italy squares off with South Korea.

Looking ahead

This year's tournament, hosted by Argentina, came after the 2021 U-20 World Cup and 2021 U-17 World Cup were canceled because of COVID.

"Most of these players were U-17 or U-18 players during the past cycle, so they lost a good two-year period of national team programming," Varas said, "which means a lot of them lost the opportunity to play in a U-17 World Cup. So this is their first experience representing the country in such a high-stakes environment — aside from qualifiers. This experience will guarantee that all of them will be better the next time they're in a similar situation."

Varas' team qualified for the 2023 U-20 World Cup by winning the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship, which also qualified the USA for the 2024 Olympics. The USA had failed to reach the Olympics, a U-23 competition, since the 2008 Games in China.

"Something that we spoke about in the locker room immediately after was," Varas said, "I hope that this pain that we feel right now — because this one is not gonna go away anytime soon — is something that we reflect on deeply that we gain something from it. That we use that as a catalyst to pursue greatness as individuals. I really believe in this group from a mentality perspective.

"All of these hard moments are what ends up making you better later. We know that they'll all have a good chance of succeeding at the next level, which is the Olympic team and the senior team.

"If these guys stay hungry and relentless from an individual standpoint. I think the sky is a limit for a lot of them."

June 4 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina
USA 2 Uruguay 0. Goals: Duarte 21, own goal (Wynder) 56)
USA — Slonina; Che, Craig, Wynder (Gomez, 69); Halliday (Pukstas, 54), McGlynn, Vargas (Edelman, 54), Wiley (Sullivan, 70); Wolff (Parades, 46), Luna, Cowell.
Uruguay — R.Rodriquez; Ponte, Boselli, Franco Gonzalez, Matturro; Chagas, Diaz (Homenchenko, 77), Facundo Gonzalez, Sosa (Garcia, 69), Santos (De Ritas, 77); Duarte (Siri, 57).
Yellow cards: USA — none. Uruguay — Homenchenko 82, De Ritas 90+3. Red cards: none.
Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (Netherlands). ARs: Erwin Zeinstra (Netherlands), Johan Balder (Netherlands). Fourth Official: Yusuke Araki )Japan). VAR: Fedayi San (Switzerland).
Att.: 18,474.

45 comments about "Uruguay ends USA's U-20 Men's World Cup dream".
  1. frank schoon, June 4, 2023 at 9:11 p.m.

    This game looked like a high school game. I don't think the US had difficulty stringing  2passes in a row and Uruguay, being a South American team therefore had better soccer players but did not impress me one Iota..both teams were awful as was their soccer.  I was not impressed with any of the US players and these guys are in pros or suppose to the upcoming process, the best we have to offer at this age.  

    The US team overal played in a defense mode , often seeing 5defenders back there. Not impressed with the US coach and his style... Lets start with our goalie standing on the 5meter line in front of his goal looking to pass the ball somewhere. Note he has on either side of him standing about several meters away a defender....What is their purpose??? What TACTICALLY are they suppose to accomplish??? What POSITIVE function to the game are these 2 defenders suppose to create.
    If the goalie passes the ball to one of them, WHAT HAPPENS UPFIELD???  NOTHING!!!! The pass accomplishes NOTHING. It doesn't beat any opponent, it doesn't make the opponents move, other than perhaps their eyeball slightly following the ball...everything is covered by the opponents, there is no need to commit.

    Can anyone explain to me the efficacy of this stupid set up. I can understand  some dad employing this set up with his 9year old house league team, but an A-licensed coach of a national team??? WHO CAME UP WITH THIS TACTIC??? I don't have a coaching license ,so maybe I lack the deeper understanding of this situation. I must be missing something, after all,  I see all these highly level A-licensed coaches doing this...Is this what they are told and programmed at the Coaching Academy???

    The way I look at it is that neither pass to either defender by the goalie does nothing for it usually  results in a long ball downfield or to a back, which all 3 can do. So why do you need 3 man so close in proximity to carry out a function that requires only one, the goalie, who is probably the most experienced at it.  I would send the two defenders upfield in our own half for three reasons. One ,you ,all of a sudden have  two more passing options to go to and two you have numerical superiority giving teammates 2 more passing options, than just passing the ball backwards,  and three, you have more possible defenders to work with and four, you have more opportunity to employ the 3rd man off the ball because you have created extra linies...

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  2. R2 Dad replied, June 4, 2023 at 11:42 p.m.


  3. Santiago 1314 replied, June 5, 2023 at 12:15 a.m.

    Frank, this New Set up is coming about because of Tiki-Taka; Play out of the Back, AT ALL COST... Blame Pep( Maybe Cruijff)
    It makes No Sense to me...
    Why does a Coach WANT TO "Force" his Worse Ball-Handlers, to Play the Ball Around in front your own Goal

  4. Georgie Best replied, June 5, 2023 at 8:10 a.m.

    The US needs coaches  that are established  and have been SUCCESSFUL in Tournament style tactics which are far different than the tactics and philosophy used for a 38 game season. Until we have coaches that understand and can implement a fast transition and counter attacking style we wont get far. Frank is correct, insisting that we have to "play out of the back" with 10 or 15 very short ineffective passes instead of a quick  transition to catch the other team out of postion is very frustrating to watch.  Seeing otherwise intelligent players making very short passes trying to stubbornly move a few yards slowly up the sideline against a well organized defense instead of quickly switching the play to the other side of the field makes me want to pull my hair out.  Even if the opposing team is more skillful, an imaginative and less rigid tactical approach will offset that disparity.  Varas' starting lineup was also a problem.  Changing a winning lineup only to reinsert the players who were originally left out made no sense.  Pukstas who scored within a few minutes of subbing in against  New Zealand should have started or at least  come in at half time.

  5. frank schoon replied, June 5, 2023 at 8:35 a.m.

    Santi, this has nothing to do with Tiki-Taka, building up from out of the back is nothing new for it has been around longer than we are old and even older than you're blowup dolls that are beginning to lose air  :) You're absolutely made a good point about why employing the least technical players in the build up. 

    The answer to building out of the back is very simple and that is employing the 3rd man. In other words, you pass the ball forwards, making sure you bypass at least one line or rather station. The person receiving the ball at the second station with his back facing downfield one-touches it or lays it off to the upcoming free player facing downfield thereby you don't have to reduce tempo of play, all the while doing this on the run which also takes technique.

    The REAL problem is that the players lack the confidence in their passing techniques to pass a ball forwards with ACCURACY, VELOCITY ,meaning to the correct foot, which we call in Holland "PLAY-IN PASS".  But what happens instead is that the goalie or the two defenders, are looking to pass to the first station who will have his back facing downfield and is forced to turn along with less field view , takes more time, which favors the opponents...

    It is a PASSING TECHNIQUE problem which can be solved very easily.  I expect kids from the Soccer Academies to be able execute a pass like that when needed, when they are nearing 18 to do this. WHAT HAPPENED!!! I think the idiots that run these academies are unable to execute a pass like that themselves and therefore don't cover it as passing tool. Therefore I stress that we need to get specialist overhere to teach instead of having some BOZO with license trying to entertain this pass....

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, June 5, 2023 at 6:46 p.m.

    Frank, it is an ignorant view of "tiki-taka". A very superficial view. They look for patterns in movement without consideration of the tactical context or the principles behind the tactics. No one that understands positional play would recognize it as positional play. 

    For example, they see Ajax playing against man to man defenses as different than Barca playing against zone defenses. Because they see a superficial difference in the movement patterns. They don't see the shared principles. 

    Almost every pay-to-pay club in the US is selling parents pattern passing drills and telling the parents that it is "tiki-taka". (My pardon to the exceptions.) 

  7. frank schoon replied, June 5, 2023 at 7:08 p.m.

    Bob, I agree

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, June 5, 2023 at 9:39 p.m.

    Oh No, You Two don't get off that Easy... 
    GKs were NEVER the Focal Point of Playing out of the Back, until Farça and Tiki-Taka.
    Prior to Farça and Peps' Tiki-Taka, Higuita and Campos were the Only GKs to be Recognized for their "Foot-Skill" Ability... And Neither Ended up Winning anything...
    Entertaining but Disastrous in the End.
    It was One thing to have "Sweeper Keepers" like them, but another to Actually have Defenders PASSING THE BALL ACROSS THE MOUTH OF THE GOAL, USING THE GK, AS ANOTHER FIELD PLAYER;
    OR; Playing 5v2; 5v3 or even 5v4 IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN GOAL.!!!
    Even Cruijff didn't try that ... You got the 5 Lowest Skilled players on your Team taking Chances In Front of Your Goal...
    Peps' Farça and España(Basically Farça) have been able to Win World Championships Using Tiki-Taka...
    Let's see if he can Pull it Off with ManShitty this Weekend.!?!?!?
    (Of Course having 6 Billion to Buy your "Dream Team", is Not Really "Fair Play".!!!)

  9. frank schoon replied, June 6, 2023 at 8:36 a.m.

    Santi, you have it wrong with Tiki-Taka. It is a method of playing not a style of playing. I don't know how two defenders standing next to the goalie came about, but if look at all the old Barca games when Guardiola was coaching Barca(I have all their games from 2000 top 2013)and you won't see this. I don't know how it came about but one reason was that FiFa changed their rule of not allowing anyone in the penalty box when a goalie kicks the ball out. I don't when they changed the ruling it certainly wasn't when Guardiola coached Barca, but after.

    Tiki-Taka is a method of keeping ball possession, holding on to it until  space is found on the other side for attack. This is what Guardiola defines it as and Xavi later explained it in similar fashion.

    Here is where you are wrong.  Tiki-Taka has nothing to do with building out from the back. I don't know who started building out from the back, but it got started after FiFa made that ruling.

    Higuita and Campos were the only goalies known for their 'footskills' ability...Wrong again. It began in 1984 when Cruyff became coach of Ajax, he wanted to go beyond how the goalie of the Dutch '74 team played. He introduced Stanley Menzo, a street soccer player who also played goalie and wanted him to play as a 'second sweeper', thus coming out of his goal and cover the space behind the backline that moved up to midfield. Cruyff further continued this line of having a soccer playing goalies with Busquet's on Cruyff's Dream Team in the early 90's( the father of Busquets of Barcelona). In a discussion in Cruyff's home ,he wanted to get rid of the goalie position totally and place a field player there and finally, his assistand and good friend convinced of otherwise...

    In prep to 1994 world cup, the Colombian coach stayed in Holland to study how the dutch played, learning from Rinus Michels about the 1974WC team and how the dutch goalie played, who likewise  was really a field player.

    It was really van der Sar the goalie of Ajax who played for van Gaal's Ajax who was the first goalie and sofar the only one since who had the best footskills as far as ball placement anywhere on the field. No one since has shown this ability. This is a little history about where goalies and ballhandling skills came about....
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  10. frank schoon replied, June 6, 2023 at 8:45 a.m.

    Santi, You're so right, "  Even Cruijff didn't try that ... You got the 5 Lowest Skilled players on your Team taking Chances In Front of Your Goal'. I don't know where this came from, Guardiola following Cruyff's philosophy of having the build up begins at midfield. It was Barca's midfield that became famous not their backfield who are there only for support.  In other words the goalie's first pass should ALWAYS skip the first line or linie or station. By reaching the second line, midfield players, this prevents players from having to turn with the ball but instead use the 3rd man coming from the skipped station who will be running forward facing downfield to receive ball through a one-touch pass.  It's these idiot coaches who don't know any better that have screwed things up.

    Look at all the back passes and square in the back that are occurring today , you didn't see that kind of BS when Guardiola was coaching Barca. Barca's Tiki-Taka became 'bastardized' by other coaches who don't know or how teach Tiki-Taka. The same thing happened after Ajax and Dutch WC'74 team, coaches try to copy something successful and messed it up because they really didn't know, and we are still suffering from this crap in soccer by what these coaches copying successful systems and messing it  up. 

  11. frank schoon, June 4, 2023 at 9:48 p.m.

    Since we played often with 5men in the back, our midfield was basically a two-man operation which goes against good midfield play, resulting in the team divided in two parts. This created so much space between the front and back, causing often long cross passes to our left flank taking two days to reach, slowing our attack substantially.  Our attack had no upcoming back support and further complicated by Zoom, Zoom Cowell, who suffers from TURBO-ITIS, a disease so many of our American suffer from. And I'm afraid, Luna is starting to catch it a little which happens when playing in the American soccer type of environment... 

      McGlynn was not very functional, although he had high rate in pass completions, mostly short, backwards, and many having no real effect. He was lucky for the most of the time he was given plenty of space to operate. Luna sort of plays the #10 role but often likes to go 100mph in a short dash. He can do so much better with more foresight in what he wants to do. 

    When I look at this team who represent supposedly the best at this age. Well , I can say one thing and that the argument about should my son play high school, and or college instead of going to the USL, Soccer Academy, or MLS is no big deal .He's not missing anything by not really having going  to the latter three. When I watch the U20 national team play, I don't notice anything special about these players who play for either USL or MLS or represent the Ding Dong Soccer Academy. If you're kid has talent and works alot on his own and plays a lot, you stand a good chance. I think your son count himself lucky to not have been programmed as so many of kids are when joining a soccer academy where they just squeeze the individuality of you.....

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, June 5, 2023 at 6:55 a.m.

    Yes Frank; a Group of MLS "Lifers"...
    But for Sure we didn't have 5 Starters: Cuevas Right Back (pre-Tournament injury: Halliday was Last Minute Replacement)
    Neal: Centerback, LA wouldn't Release him
    P Aaronson: Forward, Frankfurt wouldn't Release him
    Gutierrez: AM, Chicago wouldn't Release him
    Pepi: CT Forward, was he even asked.???...

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, June 5, 2023 at 6:50 p.m.

    Like it has been for generations, it is the coach who is important. Not the club or league. The problem is that in most club situations you don't get to select coaches.

  14. stewart hayes, June 4, 2023 at 11:16 p.m.

    Luna at least had to be fouled.  No one else needed to be.  Can we say that about anyone else in this group?  If it was not for him I would not have come back after leaving.  He was alive and kicking and was a leader.  

    The coach has got to know the group he has and how weak the opposition was leading up to this guarterfinal.  Uruguay had much less rest and were missing a key striker but are superior technically.  So I wonder why we did not set a high tempo from the start?  Why was Wolf left on the entire half?  Why weren't we pressing and hounding them everywhere?  I think we had zero yellow cards.  That speaks volumes about the coaches approach, take no risks vs take no prisoners.  We can get in their faces and not get the cards. But we were much too passive until it was really too late.   I don't mind mistakes when a team is playing positively.  But mistakes when you are not are fatal.    

  15. R2 Dad replied, June 4, 2023 at 11:48 p.m.

    If we know we are getting Concacaf officials, the least we can do is play to those limits. I wasn't watching the match but a follow-along podcast and that second goal was soul-crushing to listen to. Apparently no pressure, no reason to defend in this manner. And this is the cream of the USSF/MLS crop? Once again, USSF coaches picking a back line that can't handle the ball. "We just weren't on our best tonight" means weren't not good enough.

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, June 5, 2023 at 6:35 a.m.

    Why did Wolff start; has to be the Question.??? Coaches Decision
    Why did Halliday Start as Right Wing Back.??? Coaches Decision
    Why did Paredes NOT START.??? Coaches Decision
    Why did Pukstas NOT START.??? Coaches Decision
    Why did Luna Play as a #9, When he was So Good as #10.???.. 
    Yeah; You Guessed the Answer....
    "PETER PRINCIPLE"... He Rose to the Level of His INCOMPETENCY.

  17. Santiago 1314, June 4, 2023 at 11:57 p.m.

    "PETER PRINCIPLE" ... The Coach and The Players, ROSE to the Level of Their INCOMPETENCE.!!!... (as Predicted)

    Santiago 1314 replied, May 30, 2023 at 10:31 p.m.

    Stewart, I think he got Pissed; watching Cowell Hog the Ball and Miss CHANCE after CHANCE and Kill Rhythm and Flow, Time after Time... Eventually even Luna Started Ball Hogging again...
    Very Frustrating to watch...
    Coach Mikey should Have brought in Paredes for Cowell...
    But Instead, he Put Paredes at RIGHT MIDFIELD, and Putskas at Left Forward.???
    This was Chicken Shitte Coaching...
    Disappointing, it's the First I've seen it from him.... Playing Favorites for the Bosses or  Uneducated Fans.
    He is Hoping to Avoid the Obvious; at least to Real Soccer People.
    Cowell is a "BLACK HOLE" THAT IS CAUSING THE TEAM TO "GRIND" Instead of Dominate .. (We beat NZ 6-0 last time we played in u20 WC-2017)
    Pustkas should be playing instead of Edelman; but Coachey Mikey put him at Left Forward, so he didn't have to Put his "Pet Captain" Edelman on the Bench. Vargas and Pustkas should be the Double Pivot, with McGlynn, more free as a #10, Instead of Austin Coaches Son, Wolff... Who got a Lucky Goal from Keeper Mistake.

  18. Santiago 1314, June 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

    And yes Gary, it was NEGATIVITY .. But one Born of Experience...
    Same result as Recent Youth National Teams:

    Santiago 1314 replied, May 27, 2023 at 9:02 a.m.
    Gary, Cowell hasn't Progressed in 3 Years...
    And everyone is like; "He's so Wonderful, because he so Athletic, Fast and Oh, THAT HAIR"
    He's Detrimental to the Progress of the Group.
    Luna and him Can't be on the Field at the same Time, Too many Play go "To Die" between those Two... Both are Capable of the Exceptional, but at what Cost to the Group.
    When Paredes gets there; Who is Coach going to play in that Position.? See my Point.???.. Media Hype is going to Win Out over "The Team"
    Coach made Edelman the Captain;
    Who deserves to Sit, When Pustkas arrives.???...
    Vargas or Edelman.??? (Edelman, Clearly)
    I don't see it as Negativity, just The Brutal Truth.
    I guess I could Just Blow Rainbow and Butterflies, but what's the Fun in That.!?!?!?

  19. humble 1, June 5, 2023 at 10:57 a.m.

    I watched the game in Richmond VA at a bar/grill with family.  3-days was enough rest for Uruguay.  They are young pros and have a seasoned pro staff.  They
    know the drill.  Not a factor.  This was not on players - staff set them up wrong.  Every change made by US was predictable and countered.  On the player side. We did not have a quality advantage ar a single position.  Uruguayans were the warriors - not USA - this on the player side was the biggest fail. At the
    tournament level - you have to fight in knockout rounds - esp if you do not have quality advantages.  I do not point fingers at Cowell or Luna - at the team level those two showed the most fight and determination - by far.  Lessons can be learned by our young players and staff.  Facing Uruguay in a quarterfinal knockout game will teach you a lot.  Not a single coach or player on that team came up anyway but from the dirt - no prima donas.  Introspection in order.  Those that do will grow - those that don't will stagnate.  I think Cowell has a decent future if he does the former.  This is not 2017 - this is 2023.  Make it
    happen boys!  

  20. Richard Crow, June 5, 2023 at 11:11 a.m.

    A country of 3.4 million defeats a country of over 320 million! We've seen these outcomes in CONCACAF play too. If we regionalized soccer the U.S (Mini Uruguays, Costa Ricas, etc), players could spend more time playing soccer than traveling. Forcing so-called elite players to travel across the continent dilutes local talent, increases burnout for players and families, takes away time from work and study, and definitely does not create a soccer culture. Then again, everyone on this platform knows this. Why is this so difficult for those at U.S. Soccer to wrap their heads around? Aren't they in the business of winning international tournaments?

  21. humble 1 replied, June 5, 2023 at 12:47 p.m.

    Richard - watch Italy - who is excelling and has stacked their team in this tournament - and you will see why it is easier - much easier for a smaller nation - with a baked in soccer culture - to recover their global soccer spot - than it is for a giganitic nation like the US to build one.  Just not easy.  Not easy.  Long way to go.  To the boys - well done - they are actually from an individual quality stand point - coming a long well - in this game - it was a complete tactitcal master class.  Coach Vargas is young.  He will learn.  What he played was - yes - different from recent US approaches - 4 or 5 in the back - yes - but - still - his planning for this game was incomplete - you cannot just watch what Uruguay has played - you have to think - if Uruguay watches us - how with they play?  The Uruguay coach and staff knew the US setup - they attacked its weaknesses - tactical and qualitative - and they prevailed.  The players - were and staff were stumped.  This is ok, if we do a thurough post-game and tournament review - and -  we are able to be honest and humble.  It is expected and OK that Uruguay were better - this was predicted by most.  Bigger is not better in soccer.  It is always about quaity and desire and maybe luck sometimes - on the pitch and the sideline.  We are building our quality - still we not even fiinished with our soccer framework here.  We should be allowing small community parent coached teams into leagues - we should be focusing on State level competition - below U19. A national championship at U19 is useless here.  This is the way they do it - somewhat - in Brazil - locally.  Anyway - sky not falling - we are building - this is an expected result - if you know the Uruguayan team - and their quality - which is world class - proven over and over for the past 30 years.  We got a result we can build from.  Make it happen! 

  22. humble 1, June 5, 2023 at 1 p.m.

    The key tactic Uruguay used was they studied US play and saw our patterns playing out of the back and that we depended on outside play.  Yes, US had the overload to play out of the back - in fact - two man advantage as Uruguay pressed with only 3 to 5 in back and they used dual pivot so they had 7 and the GK behind in behind halfway line - while Uruguay pressed with 3 and had 7 field players - usually 4 in MF.  What they did was trigger pressure on US on the sidelines - with three - like a three prong pincer - similar to Liverpool pressure - but with focus and intent to press wide players on the sideline.  This completely bottled US play out of the back.  They could not play up the middle or over the top - b.c. they did not have numbers and did not adjust.  Then Uruguay scored - and this is pragmatic Uruguay - pragmatic almost to a fault - so now they have you - and - the way they did it - scoring the first goal against US - in a swashbuckling attack - with several US defenders and the keeper totally done - they did not recover mentally - lack of leadership.  Mind you - these Uruguay players - all know one-another from U14 on up.  They are mates - they have a vibe - they are warriors - each.  They know they smell blood - they see the weakness.  So there you have it.  Uruguay - ready - exectute their game plan - get the win. US - like I write above - nothing to be ashamed about.  The Uruguay team - not a bunch of donkeys like some write above - world class soccer nation - yes - pragmatic - yes - disliked by many - it is not easy to score against this US team - they did - only once - it was enough.  Like Frank writes - how can you connect with 2 MF v 4 - if your wing play in the back is shut down?  You - coaches - need to plan better.  Even Guardiola today goes route 1 when necessary.  Adjust be flexible and yes - sometimes - be pragmatic.  Have a nice day.  

  23. Santiago 1314 replied, June 5, 2023 at 10:04 p.m.

    Uruguay anticipated very well that they could play into the Spaces, created by the Spaces that were behind the Overlapping Wing Backs Wiley & Halliday.
    They just put on their Big Boy "Warrior" Pants and Out "Grinded" us.!!!

  24. humble 1, June 5, 2023 at 1:14 p.m.

    Frank, Santi, my player had a tryout with a top D3 university in VA over the weekend.  Did fantastic.  Played CB, RB, and RW - versatility.  Assisted on a full field run from RB.  Another assist off his head on a corner.  Created bunch more chances with long/short range passes on the ground and thru the air. Blocked more shots and won more aerials than any other player.  Finished in top group in the 1v1 competition.  Kid is on his way to good D1 or D3 program with top academics.  This was a watershed trip.  Huge for his confidence.  He does not play MLS Next  or ECNL - he has played with older players since U11 at a small club - it's been very challenging - but we felt it was the right way.  Confirmed our approach frequently reading SA.  Thankful for all the SA content and certain writers on this forum that have helped me - a non-soccer player - recover from all my foibles as a soccer-parent and get this player - on the right track.  Great stuff.  Carry on!  

  25. frank schoon replied, June 5, 2023 at 1:35 p.m.

    Humble, thanks for letting me know what's going on with your son...KEEP ME UP ON HIM!!!
    Great news!!!

  26. frank schoon replied, June 5, 2023 at 1:45 p.m.

    BTW, There is no excuse to use this summer to just practice EVERYDAY with his  left (weakfoot) everday 30 +min. or more (make it an hour) shooting, passing ,dribbling. 

  27. Santiago 1314 replied, June 5, 2023 at 9:59 p.m.

    Keep him going Humble... Wall-Ball... Left foot vs Right Foot; 1 Touch ... Keep it below Tennis Net Level, and then eventually Inside "The Goal Posts" painted on the Wall... Ain't No Weak Partner to Blame... Just Yourself... Play to 21... Losing side has to do 50 1 Touch against the Wall.

  28. humble 1 replied, June 6, 2023 at 12:56 p.m.

    Thanks guys!  Been a long road - happy for the kid that he's starting to see results for his sacrifice and suffering, playing up, and, doing it in the shade outside the bright lights of MLS Next and ECNL, with an old school demanding unrelenting coach, every mistake amplified.  Driving force is the passion he has for the game - this is not from me - this is from his South American and European blood.  Speaks two langauges natively beyond English.  Practice rained out yesterday - kiddo was in garage last night - working with the ball on the rebounder.  The trick for us parents was to harness and focus the young mans energy.  We see where it goes.  Thank you for the tips!    

  29. Anthony Petgrave, June 5, 2023 at 3 p.m.

    ...from my view, OUR lines were disconnected. 

  30. Wallace Wade, June 5, 2023 at 3:35 p.m.

    These are not our best players available, but if you've been involved in the sport for a while, you already know that. 

  31. frank schoon replied, June 5, 2023 at 3:54 p.m.

    Ofcourse there are players missing, and perhaps lost the game due to missing players , who knows , who cares, is not really the point here. These players basically represent the best or are the better players of this age group in America and they're playing on pro-teams or are  in the process of elevating their status to pros. These players are there to show their wares ,their capabilities and that is where they seriously fall short...Not Impressed, when you take into account the training they've had. That to me is more important to consider in how our boys are developing....

  32. humble 1 replied, June 6, 2023 at 12:44 p.m.

    No one has their best players there - France does not even care about this tournament - their top U20 player all play in Ligue 1 and the don't even press to get them released as they have found this platform, the U20 WC adds little to their development.  Maybe Italy - which released a lot of Serie A players - and has a very good team present - and hungers for victories after missing two WC's in a row.  Exactly as Frank writes, other things being equal, you wanna see your players perform.  Urguay has a strong team present - so I was not as hard as some others on our boys.  I wish they made it to final - but for me - I see progress - even though we only reach the quarter finals - this was a coach in development also - against a very well developed Uruguayan coach.  

  33. Karl Sonneman, June 6, 2023 at 2:27 p.m.

    Enjoyed reading all your comments.  But was looking for this:   What does US in is the step-up in speed of play.   It is not foot speed, but rather ball speed and speed of thought.  European and South American teams and players seem to understand this naturally, but only after experiencing it over time does the US figure this out.  McBride noted speed of play when he first moved to the EPL.  Klinsmann wrote in his book about getting Germany's players to reduce the reaction time on a pass by a quarter of second.  Uruguary was not faster than the US but it counteracted quicker and moved to the ball quicker.  It seemed understand or anticipate what was going happen better than the US did.

  34. frank schoon replied, June 6, 2023 at 3:01 p.m.

    Karl, speed of play interpreted as ballhandling skills or thinking is lacking in the American player. As you pointed out by what McBride stated. This is why players tend to translate their movements to a more TURBO style of soccer. And that is why 'speed of play' is not mentioned in the discussion for it is just a higher level of play Americans lack....it is what it is...

  35. Philip Carragher, June 7, 2023 at 11:33 a.m.

    I saw McBride play in high school. He stood out. So great in the air. He also had a left footed friend on his Arlington Hts. high school team who also had game. I heard a story of two of McBride and his soccer buddies playing lots of pickup soccer. Also, my son, a college player, had the opportunity to play in small sided games with McB and he was amazed at how quickly McB's thinking was.

  36. humble 1 replied, June 7, 2023 at 12:24 p.m.

    Back in 2016 I met all the Uruguay players over the period they were here for Copa America Centenario - what struck me was only one - Cavani looked like an athlete - the remainder - the entire Uruguayan squad looked like normal people physically.  I asked a former Uruguayan pro about this - he pointed to his ears with both fingers - you know - the old saying for - it's in the brain - dummy.  The brain of the soccer player is key - reading and reacting to - in game context. This is a big part of what separates the professionals.  Here - we are too fixated on athletic build, speed, size, etc.  The key feature of the soccer player is the brain.  Even Luis Suarez - was normal - maybe even a bit thick.  Ever watch Suarez live in a game?  He stands around more than Messi.  He jaws with officials.  But in the moment - there was no one quicker to read, decide and react, no one.  He had an arsenal of moves build from years on the play ground and dirt pitches of his rural Uruguayan hometown, Salto, Uruguay, population 100,000.  Never saw McBride play - but - he is spot on.  

  37. Santiago 1314 replied, June 7, 2023 at 12:47 p.m.

    Yes Humble,,, I would say without a Doubt... Uruguayans are the Players with the Most "Guile"
    They Punch way above their Weight... So Clever and Calculating...
    Not the Most Skillful, but Their Skills NEVER Cause them Errors.
    Efficiency, Efficiency, Effort, Energy
    Try to get one to be "Bragadosious"... Not in their Nature...
    Very Humble Players... VERY DETERMINED.!!!
    4 World Championships for a Country of 3.4 Million...WOW.
    Very Proud of their Futbol History from the Early Olympic Champions(before the World Cup even Existed.1924-1928)
    (Fifa should really consider those as World Cups, because there was NONE prior to 1930)

  38. frank schoon replied, June 7, 2023 at 1:20 p.m.

    Humble , great stuff. If those that run soccer coaches/ traainers here can read what you say BETWEEN THE LINES, then that's all you basically need along with someone later on to give you pointers to make you better....No, Pay to Play is not the answer....

  39. humble 1 replied, June 7, 2023 at 7:16 p.m.

    The catch is - you really cannot develop or teach the 'speed of thought' / 'reaction' / 'decision making' of the player - you can only identify the train and cultivate the player.  Sometimes - like wine - you have to wait - this is why not all great players came along at 16.  When I speak with European coach trainers - they can point me to documents/books/websites - many of which I cannot read, but some I can - about how their system works.  In Uruguay - few written sources sources exist.  In montevideo - I can get on an app - and find and reserve indoor small-sided training space - anwyhere - but what to do on that space - you need to 'know'.  It is all in the mind of the coaches/parents.  To give an idea of what I mean.  While back, when my son was 10, I met a long lost extended family member of a relative who worked with the Uruguayan national team - he was a many time capped former international for this small country who had in long pro career and played all over South America - before they went to Europe.  After a day or two of hangin out - he asked me - have you checked to see if you son has flat feet?  Never I replied.  Kiddo was 10.  He said - no issue - he can have a great career with flat feet - but - if he does - you need to put the proper insole - or he could also have back issues later.  Next morning I took him to drug store next door - put him on the foot sensor - flat feet.  This is how they are the Uruguayans.  Soccer is more than culture - it's a way of life - a state of being.  They know. You won't find a Uruguayan book explaining all this.  It is tranfered generation to generation.  Here - we cannot become Uruguay - we have to find our own way - they key is to do it - knowing that the soccer players number one talent - the gateway to greatness - is not speed, size, strength - it is his or her soccer brain.  

  40. frank schoon replied, June 8, 2023 at 7:52 a.m.

    Well said, Humble. "A way of life" is something that I tend to refer to in another way when I mention DNA, which is found and becomes part of the soccer culture and that takes time to develop...This is why when I hear Americans say we're going to win the world cup next time because our players are getting better. I heard these same optimistic statement back in '77 when I had a soccer store. Some of the customer  stated that in 25 years we'll win the WC. There is so much more that needs to be learned, developed, which doesn't come from books, there is a hidden world of knowledge that is transferred within cultures and it pertains to each country's development and style. Cesar Menotti of Argentina talked about it, which I've a interview of. 
    This is why it is so important to watch study from the old days, the past where it all began for than you get a bigger picture of things.

    PELE did it first #pele #brazil #football - YouTube

    You will enjoy this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As far as quick thinking goes about the game, that is something that can be worked on but only in certain of the game. It's like IQ, some our just smarter and this is why Cruyff would be seen pointing to his teammates at times of where to go because he sees a few more steps ahead than his other teammates...Quick ball handling skills can be worked but quicker thinking and quicker seeing the game or see a few steps ahead of what will is much more difficult....

  41. humble 1 replied, June 8, 2023 at 11:35 a.m.

    So true what you write Frank - soccer DNA - got it.  That encapsulates a lot.  I am very fortunate to have open doors in South America.  Never-the-less when I come across folks that have soccer  knowledge - that grew up with this game, and grew the wiser for it, and are will to share their knowedge/experience/perspective, they are here, often, kept in the shade, and the far corners, speaking broken Spanish helps - I keep in touch.  Every nation has its take on the game - its interpretation - we do not yet - we do have a foundation - our interpretation is being built - one player at a time.  This is ok - no rush.  Hast makes waste.  Do it smart - always keep the kiddos in your heart.  This is why for me - this SA forum is a real gem - gift that keeps giving.  Keep it going!  

  42. frank schoon replied, June 8, 2023 at 12:05 p.m.

    Humble, I'm very fortunate to a countrymen like Cruyff was a mental genius of the game. So much I've learned from as well as other dutch. There is much knowledge not in English print but only in Dutch that I wish would be available to American public as well and that is why I don't to bring up his name in my comments in order to give this knowledge out

  43. humble 1, June 9, 2023 at 12:04 p.m.

    One very interesting aspects of soccer - a challenge to the building of a nations soccer DNA - and a key reason the road is long - you can watch soccer your whole life - and - know nothing.  Converstly - if you are not a soccer fan - you go to Italy and Holland - and you will never notice the soccer - very difficult to catch the fever.  I was watching the cycling event - the Giro d'Italia, Frank you will know this - naturally almost - this year it finished in Rome instead of Milan - there were actually tourists on their ride thru town - they had no idea what the event was - yeah bicycles - but they never even heard of the Giro - it was a curiosity - nothing more. The riders had ridden for 3 weeks on one of the most difficult ever Giro's.  The foreign spectator - yawn - when can I cross the road?  Road is the wrong metaphor for building a soccer culture - it is a mountain - an Everest.  We are maybe the foothills.  Messi is coming.  The messiah - maybe this stimulates things a bit.  C'mon USA!   

  44. humble 1, June 12, 2023 at 11:48 a.m.

    No write up on the final - so posting here - in case anyone pays attention.  Uruguay win the final.  I watched all their games and all the USA games.  On tape or live.  My son watched all the Uruguay U20 Qualification games also.  He told me they could win this.  He was right.  The US actually game them their best game.  Says a lot about the US team.  Everyone writes - another quarter final - 4 straight - or whatever - but - you have to look deeper.  They lost the the eventaul champions - a very good team.  Here again - Italy lost 1-0, USA 2-0, so many would say - Italy played better.  Italy had maybe 1 shot on goal and got the ball in their attacking 1/3 for less than the minutes on one hand - the entire game - they were completely dominated.  The Swedish referee was completely out of his element in this game - he was both gutless - lost control - fortunate no player was seriously injured.  All this favored the Euro team of course - they should have been on two reds.  Anyway - point being - USA - U20s - players and staff - actaully gave these boys a game - showed for the first time since I've been watching - sparks - in the small spaces the Uruguayans play in - and force the opponent into - so for me - well done to Uruguay.  For USA - boys - and staff - keep working hard to get better - you did well!  

  45. humble 1 replied, June 12, 2023 at 11:56 a.m.

    On your own - not at club practice - you work hard to get better in small spaces - the four cones - this is what they do - seen it with my own eyes.  You - the ball - four cones - 2-3 feet apart - and - a friend and/or trainer to harras/push you.  You can do it on your own - but you must also do it with the shadow then static defender - to build the context - that goes next to club practice - then - to game.  There are a million ways to do this - you run into recieve pass - you have to control in the cones - then defender flys at you - you have to beat him to shoot.  In Uruguay - most drills finishes with a shot - there is never ever a training or practice without everyone shooting.  If you are a defender - you do it too - but you find attacker friends - that need you - and you help one-another.  Do this until you drop - then refresh and do it again.  In 45 minutes - you simulate a half of a game.   

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