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CONCACAF U-20s: USA vs. Guatemala (Match Night Commentary)


One game, one ticket to the Under-20 World Cup.

Those are the stakes tonight as the United States takes on Guatemala tonight in the U.S. Under-20 CONCACAF quarterfinals in Guatemala (10pm, Deportes). Beat the host team tonight and the Americans punch their ticket to the Under-20 World Cup on Colombia this summer.

The Americans are heavily favored tonight, but anything is possible in regional competition. The United States will need its high-powered attack to keep scoring goals and put the match out of reach for the Chapines.

SBI will be providing commentary on tonight's match so please feel free to follow along. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):



  1. Thats why I go to games, to watch players perform backheels… actuallly…no it isn’t I go to games to watch players move the ball up the field and score goals. To each their own I suppose. I don’t derive much pleasure from an errant backheel pass, there are those on this board who apparently do.

  2. I’m not only talking on the national team. And you have to be kidding if you think a national team coach doesn’t really matter. Come on, I know you know better then that. Turn over rate to find the “right” coach would be closer to 0% amongst teams if that were true. Nat coaching is not for development, but used in getting the right Chemistry, formations, using the talent pool correctly, and for motivation. All very big factors in if a team will do well or not.

  3. Of course he is good enough for us. I said that he *wasn’t* good enough to project to be a German National Team member. And *if he was* good enough to player for Germany, there is no way he’d be playing for us regardless.

    I know you’re apoplectic and freaking out right now, Ricky B. FreakOut, but maybe you could take the time to read?

  4. Yura Movsisyan wanted to play for the US, and what does that have to do with ANYTHING?????? all you said is “they’re not gonna play for the US b/c of Rongen and b/c we lost”, yet you have no actual facts to back that up. All you did was throw out one fact about someone who’s not even relevant, and another about a player who’s motives you know NOTHING ABOUT. But hey, nice research

  5. Exactly. We just lost a match. That’s all. There is no deeper meaning.

    We should stop being so insecure that any given loss by our youth team must somehow mean that the sky is falling in on U.S. Soccer’s quest to win a world soccer power.

  6. That is tons of ignorance right there.

    These guys are all at clubs in either MLS or in Europe playing full time in professional environments. That is where they will develop.

    Most big national teams outside of South America don’t even take the U-20 world cup seriously.

    This will not set US soccer’s development back in the slightest. You are the one being “remedial” in your thinking here, to say that the U-20 team is as important as the senior team. We have no idea where any of these guys will be in five years. Go back and look at the U-20 guys from ’07. Adu was the hero, he’s in the Turkish second division. Sal Zizzo is looking for minutes at Chivas USA. Jozy has been “ok” but is constantly slagged off on the internet. Danny Szetela is in freaking jail. ONLY Michael Bradley has amounted to a consistant performer for us on the senior level.

    Life will go on. These guys’ careers will continue to develop based on their club careers.

  7. We won the Gold Cup that mattered, we beat a Spain team that was dominating everyone, we finished second at the Confederations Cup, we won our WC group for the first time ever, we advanced out of the WC group stage for one of the few times ever.

    I’m not sure how Bradley didn’t get the results that were expected from us. It’s far more likely that the results you were expecting were totally unreasonable.

  8. “perhaps development prior to this stage should be improved. That’s why we failed to reach the WC.”

    That makes no sense given that we qualified for the previous 8 U-20 World Cups. EIGHT. So did our development get worse this cycle? Of course not, almost every one of these guys is already a professional.

    So, to reiterate, your point makes no sense.

  9. BUt Barcelona doenst get dominated in the run of play and dont punt the ball as an offensive weapon when they are losing.

    When you have the better team play like it and if you lose you lose. But respect the fact that your team is better.

  10. I think you’re overestimating the effect of this.

    The US guys will get scouted and are all already either starting for MLS clubs or are in European systems. If they play well at their clubs and develop they’ll be fine.

    Getting scouted is a big deal for the smaller, poorer countries. We’re already on everyone’s radar.

  11. He was the captain of the U-17 team for Germany. I think he is good enough for the USA haha, but not after this.

    THe Us soccer program goes like this 1 step forward 3 steps back.

  12. I wouldn’t call it fierce, but it was well-placed…especially since Modragon guessed wrong. He was definitely out-dueled by Hamid in the PKs.

  13. Close. Coaching rarely wins matches at the international level, youth or senior. Better players *almost* always win, and coaches take credit.

    But the truth is, even then, we will still ocasionally lose a match like this 2-1. This is like when Newcastle lost away this year in the FA Cup to Stevenage Town FC. These things just happen. Hell Arsenal drew away to Leyton Orient and a month later beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp. And yes, it was much the same Arsenal side.

    This is why we love the game. USA-Columbia ’94. USA-Portugal ’02. USA-Spain ’09. We’re not always going to be on the right side of these things.

  14. i like that idea. imo i think we need to have the U20 and USMNT be in sync tactically. this way when kids make the jump they already know the system. seems pretty logical to me, but idk how the rest of the world does it, if it’s the normal to coach 2 different styles bt the two teams.

  15. ’07 Gold Cup, 2010 World Cup Qualifying Hex, 2010 World Cup Group C

    I’m just saying this isn’t the end of the world.

  16. I don’t undertstand why people are complaining about the format. It’s the same format as in European U-20 qualifiers. It’s groups and then knockouts and then the top teams make it. If anything having a knockout stage is good preperation for when you reach the knockout in the World Cup. This team blew it and Rongen borrowed Bradley’s “How to insert attacking players 20 mins too late” coaching manual. No excuses. Guatemala played with heart. This is going to be Guatemala’s first appearance at a World Cup of at any level. Just listening to how the announcer broke down crying shows how big of a deal this was to them. Over a 30 game season the better team always wins but in a single game any team can beat any other on any given day. Sometimes will power, courage, and pride beats out talent and this was the case today.

  17. I agree. Although I don’t agree with getting rid of Rongen or anyone in the staff. Actually I find our staff to be an allstar one starting with Rongen.

    There was two mistakes on the field tonight and Guatemala took advantage of them, simple as that. The score should have been USA 2-0 in the first 20 minutes of the game to be honest.

  18. Well, that’s why they play the games instead of letting the “best team” go straight to the world cup. …..
    Please, there is nothing more ignorant than complaining about the referee. sometimes the other team plays better. For a game that the US was supposed to dominate they never looked better than Guatemala. The better team won. period.

  19. Ooh and by the way the media needs to get some balls and call out Sunil, Bradley, Rogen when they dont get the results that are expected from them.

    Get some balls media members.

  20. Zahavi all ready played for the under 21’s for israel this past month, do your research. Why would you want to play for a national team that just lost to one of the worst teams in the region when you can play for israel and get exposure in Eruo. I think you should research your claim and just because Israel is not winning games neither is armenia and yet Yura Movsisyan is playing for them for the EXPOSURE of Euro clubs. And I know it was due to citizenship issues in the US. So jpc get some facts and than speak.

  21. The kids teams just don’t play good. smart soccer. Even the better years it is still all individual play, no linking or building attacks through passing. Rongen probably isn’t solely responsible for this, but he certainly is partially. I don’t think I have ever seen a team of his that played a smart possession game.

  22. Maybe its a little soon to plan Rongen for the failure to qualify. Of course I expect to be ripped apart for saying this, but perhaps development prior to this stage should be improved. That’s why we failed to reach the WC, all I can hope is that this is character development for those involved in this upset.

  23. Well, that’s just awful.

    I don’t care if Huerzeler and Gatt and possibly Ruelas were not released by their teams, I don’t care if Wood was injured, or that Agudelo graduated to the MNT.
    Even with the questionable officiating, youngsters not used to a rowdy crowd, and ridiculous timewasting, etc. we should have destroyed Guatemala. It’s freaking Guatemala. This is supposed to be our deepest U-20 team ever, stacked with professionals. How are we supposed to make noise at the World Cup against the best from Europe and South America if we can’t beat Guatemala.

    I’m not one to overreact, I have never called for anyone involved with US Soccer to be fired, but something needs to be done here.
    The qualifying format is awful, it works against top teams like the US and Mexico, as it’s based entirely on the result of one game.
    Our players were mostly mediocre to totally unimpressive tonight. I’m not sure if that’s on Rongen and the coaches or on the players themselves… the mental mistakes and bad decisionmaking was everywhere. The coaching decisions were bizarre, whether it was moving Garza forward or not using substitutes until it was too late.

    How do we weigh Rongen’s lack of results this cycle with his success bringing in Hurzeler, Doyle, Zahavi (my understanding is that he went to Israel only because he was down on the depth chart here), and others?

  24. What did we learn, no US team can finish in the final third. All Guatemala did was punt long balls and let the US defense make mistake then pounce on it for 2 goal. When the US learn to finish in the final third maybe that’s win they can win something.


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