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U.S. U-20s conclude South America trip with loss to Chile

U.S. Soccer Federation

The U.S. Under-20 men's national team capped a 12-day trip to South America with a third consecutive loss, dropping a 2-1 result to Chile in Santiago on Tuesday.

FC Dallas Academy forward Daniel Garcia scored the lone goal for the United States, converting a second-half stoppage-time penalty kick drawn by Santos Laguna midfielder Benji Joya to end the journey on a bit of a high note.

Overall, the trip was a forgettable one from a results standpoint for the U-20s. Luis Gil had to withdraw with an injury; his replacement, Omar Salgado, suffered a broken foot, and the team lost consecutive matches to Uruguay — 4-2 and 2-0 — prior to Tuesday's finale against Chile. Of the three goals scored, one was an own goal, one was Garcia's penalty kick and one was a tally by Chicago Fire Homegrown Player Victor Pineda.

Next up for Tab Ramos' U-20s is a trip to the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, where an 18-man roster will travel to face Denmark and Turkey in the opening matches on July 21 and 23, respectively. Host Northern Ireland, Chile and Mexico are also participating in the tournament, meaning a potential playoff match against Mexico or rematch with Chile could be in the cards.


  1. Saying this U20 US side was “far from the fist XI” completely misses the point of these preparation games.

    Nobody usually has their “best XI” at any given time. Injuries and dips in form are part of the game and nothing is guaranteed.

    The South American countries the US is playing in these friendlies also don’t have their “first XI” out there during every game but are using said games to find depth.

    It’s not important to win any of these friendly games or tournaments, what’s important is finding players that can play at a high level when the supposed “first XI” isn’t available.

  2. Yeah we definitely need to remember that this was far from our first 11, but still shows we’re working our way into this means of developing players. The roster for the U-20 World Cup should look very different than this squad. Hard to judge where we are with this team specifically until then. On the whole though, our development system is just getting cranked up. This is the age group that suffers from not enough games (domestic US players anyway), & needs to be a focal point for us. MLS doesn’t give a lot of playing time to many 18-21 year olds, and the reserve league isn’t enough games. This needs to be addressed in conjunction with US Soccer’s efforts for development.

    We’ve produced highly competitive sides up through this age group, and we need to fix the gap between the elite soccer nations’ 18-23 year olds and our own. Guys like Dempsey, Cameron, etc would be younger when they hit their stride, and we’d be a better and deeper team for it. This is where we must get better.

  3. My weak analogy:

    You are a golfer with immense natural athletic ability. You are mostly self taught, have a swing with a hitch in it. You’ve done it this way your whole life and managed to get by based on raw talent and determination rather than sound mechanics. The thing is… you have progressed to the point where you want to compete with the very best. Your game has absolutely maxed out in the middle of the pack, but you have aspirations to be at the top, to be excellent. The only way to do that is to rework the whole thing. Be willing to sacrifice the short term for long term gain. Become a beginner again and rebuild what you are doing. Initially it will feel strange. Your results will be worse, you will lode and wonder what you are doing? If you can stay humble, stick to the plan, work hard, eventually, you will catch up and then surpass your previous peak. Your swing is mechanically sound. You now have a greater array of shots and fades and slices to work with.

    We haven’t been playing with a full bag of clubs. We’ve gotten by with raw athleticism and determination. That has maxed us out at the middle of the pack with the potential to occasionally upset the best. If we want to be consistent, be and remain at the top, we must have every tool… talent, determination, teamwork, sound skills/fundamentals a unified system.

    An overhaul of a whole nation takes preserving through rough patches, trusting in doing things the right way…. there are no short-cuts. It takes years not months. We are just getting started.

  4. Not good news, however, it seemed like we were missing some top players: Sebastian Lettget, Jerome Keiswetter, John Anthony Brooks.

  5. Also our failure to qualify for the Olympics was more poor player management for a tournament format and a fluke cohort with no quality defenders than it was the new style of play. So not all failures across the board are necessarily reflective of our development program going backward (even temporarily.)

  6. It’s like anything else: when you make a major change that will generate improvement in the long run, there is typically a short term regression while people adjust to the change. As DJ said above, most American players are not used to the new system of play, and so there is a learning curve where our teams are not performing at the level they were previously, but a commitment to the new system should, in theory, raise the upside of the team in the long run.

  7. Predicting the future based on U20s is like saying you will have a world series team because u have a great AA team. Today’s soccer especially for the US now, and Mexico in the future, will be like college recruiting. We have so many kids around the world who can play for multiple teams, that probably our best players are not even known yet.

  8. Ok this is really getting to me now, seems like we are going backward rather than forward in our development at all levels.

  9. Looks like its going to take a while to implement what Claudio & Klinsmann want to do at the youth level. Tough when kids have grown up playing a certain way and have to change mid stream. In a couple years, we should see improvement in our U-17 program though. Hopefully sooner.


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