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U.S. U-20s advance to CONCACAF final after easy win over Cuba

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Tab Ramos may get his wish of playing Mexico, after all.

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team advanced to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship final on Friday evening, defeating a lackluster Cuban side, 2-0, off a pair of quick goals from Mario Rodriguez and Daniel Cuevas that came three minutes apart.

Weakened by injury and the departures of players like Luis Gil, the Americans took a surprisingly early lead when Rodriguez netted the winner in the eighth minute after getting on the end of a good pass from Benji Joya. The U.S. doubled their lead shortly after, with a Cuevas shot from distance taking a deflection before soaring into the back of the net.

Cuba, which like the U.S. has already secured a spot in this summer’s World Cup, tried to muster up a response but the U.S. killed the game off by dominating possession.

The Americans will face the winner of Friday’s other semifinals match between El Salvador and Mexico on Sunday, and if they can win there they would become the first U.S. team to win a CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

What do you think of the United States’ 2-0 win over Cuba? Who impressed/disappointed you? Think this American team can win it all?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Dear senior USMNT. Please note how the current blue away jersey top looks infinitely better when paired with white shorts. Reference: U20 MNT.

  2. I had been monitoring the U-20 team, but not really looking at it closely until today. Did not realize the roster includes so money guys playing in Mexico, England and Germany for teams like Santos Laguna, Southhampton, Freiburg, Kaiserslautern. And only one German-born dual national on the roster, Jerome Kieswetter, who it appears only played in one game, coming on in the 91st minute and did not play in the rout of Canada.

    It appears that Tab Ramos has up to this point done an outstanding job with home-trained talent and makes me wonder how the USMNT would look if Ramos were making roster and starting decisions for the senior team instead of Klinsmann.

    • Speaking of foreign based players..possibly our 2 best players Brooks and Pelosi were not included in this round of qualifying.. Unfortunately Pelosi is done for the U-20 WC but we will really need Brooks.

      I’m slightly afraid to watch Sunday’s game against Mexico. Without Pelosi, Brook and Gil and anyone else we could get our heads handed to us. After watching them against ES I can see why they are one of the favorites to win it all in Turkey

      • I think several other U-20 players also have headed back to their club teams. So the starting line-up against Mexico will not be the one that played earlier in the tournament.

    • Probably would have more of a Latin American influence in the midfield in forward spots. Maybe we would see more of players like Corona, Castillo, Torres and Bedoya. More time for Gomez less for Altidore. Shea, Spector, Klesjtan, Beasely and Beckerman would probably get less time. We probably wouldn’t have any games where we have only 30-40% possession. People wouldn’t say the USA has athletic players but not much skill.

      • So by the logic on here Bob Bradley only used white players right? SInce Klinnsman will only pick germans and Ramos would pick all Mexicans. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

    • Biff,

      Tab and JK are in totally different situations. U20’s can afford to lose because they don’thave the same visibility as the senior team. Plus, Tab is tapping into a young, fresh, inexperienced pool. JK has to work with the options he has been given. However, IMO, the current U20’s will be the nucleus of the 2018 WC team. Also, don’t forget that Tab and JK are working quite closely—the whole idea of possession soccer was JK’s initiative.

      • I’ve posted this before here it goes again. Klinnsmann talked about possession, players knowing what to do with the ball before they get it. Instead Klinnsmann is playing lock yourself in the prison cell and beg the guards to protect you. While Ramos is taking the game to his opponents. Klinnsmann talks the talk Ramos walks the walk.

      • Tab has the players while JK doesn’t.

        The US has only had one legitimate, consistent, creative attacking spark plug since JOB and Reyna hung it up.

        That would be LD.

        Clint is a great scorer but he doesn’t necessarily help others score. Landon does.

        You can go on about philosophy, formations, assistant coaches, Jogi Low, central defensive midfielders and all that other BS but the fact remains Donovan plays and they blow up Scotland 5-1,

        No Donovan and you get a lot of 1-0 games, not all wins.

        There may be more to it than that but please don’t tell me a motivated, healthy LD would not have made huge difference for example to Jozy.

        13 of his USMNT goals came off of assists from LD.

  3. I have hope for the future! Hey Sunil, after the senior team loses against Costa Rica in Denver, can we promote Tab and a few of his crew to finish off the Hex?

    • Patience my friend, patience! Tab wouldn’t have been in the same situation had Klinnnsman not had his say about youth development in the country. From this point on I can see the US developing a lot more quality prospects and not only quality athletes, at least I hope so.

      • The people that believe klinsmann has changed our youth system are people that don’t follow youth soccer and don’t know what they are talking about

      • What’s funny is that Claudio Reyna created our youth development template like a year *before* Klinsmann was hired…

      • Spot on “Why…..” — Klinsmann has established the goal of playing possession soccer and tenacious defense and Tab has found the players to implement that. It will take a few more years for that philosophy to permeate the youth system. However if coaches like Ramos can continue to find players outside the system, there will be steady improvement. Bradley and Arena tooks us as far as their system could. Win or lose, this U20 team is playing the type of soccer that I have waited 30 years to see. Certainly not mistake free but always entertaining.

  4. Not exactly a sterling or stirring game, but you have to hand it to Ramos and his staff for turning the team into a real team which has gotten better as the tournament has gone on. With so many good players missing for the final and being played in Puebla, doubt they have a chance to beat Mexico, but all they need to do is stay competitive and them put together a good team for Turkey. Congrats to these young men for an outstanding job–4 wins in a row is good in any tournament.

  5. I have no hope to win the final. With all the injuries and players returning to their clubs; it’s going to be a very hard game to win. 🙁

  6. Cuevas left the game injured, is there a report how serious the injury was ?, great talent, I hope he can play in the final.

      • I personally dont see him ever featuring for the senior team. He’s a little bull that works hard and knows how to play, but I dont see him ever being able to play up top for the US over what will undoubtedly be bigger faster and equally skilled forwards

      • I don’t know, the stellar speed, close ball control and desire to really go at defenders will definitely get him a look for JK. CD wasn’t tall but he had the ability to stretch the D up top or the flank.

      • skeptical,

        That’s the thing about soccer, a bigger, faster and more skilled is always the better soccer player.

        Always. Every single time. Without a doubt.

  7. It kind of seemed like Cuba wanted to take the air out of the game and slow it down, except we scored two goals immediately which didn’t really allow them to do that. Then Cuba did that anyway, and we were okay with that, so it made for a very uneventful last 65 minutes or so.

  8. O/T i wanna get my 6 year old niece She is tall and fast and a bundle of energy. I want her to bring home the WWC in 2027. how do i do that?

    • take her to the park and play with her as much as you can. watch soccer with her and talk about the game with her in a fun way. sign her up for a program that has good coaching. encourage her to dribble the ball under control when she walks around the house and up and down the stairs. encourage her to kick the ball against a wall when she has 10 or 15 spare minutes.

    • Just play. Get the futsal ball the Brazilians use that doesn’t roll well keepy uppy and close control.

      Watch a lot of games. Take her to see the US woman’s national team or this pro league.

    • I highly suggest joining a club team. learn Coever touch and moves. Repeat Coever over and over (she can do a lot of work in her own room). Never an off season. Clubs tend to teach more thoroughly and colleges stay in touch with clubs. She will get more out of a club after putting in the efforts. The difference between professional and not professional is the amount of time they put into learning the basics.

  9. “tried to muster up a response but the U.S. killed the game off by dominating possession.”

    That’s what I like to hear…


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