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Late stunner sees U.S. U-20’s settle for draw in CONCACAF Championship opener

Shaquell Moore U20 USMNT Guatemala


One moment of brilliance from Guatemala’s Andy Ruiz was enough to undo 89 minutes of U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team dominance.

Despite asserting themselves throughout the majority of the match, the U.S. U-20’s were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Guatemala in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships due to a 90th minute long-distance volley from Ruiz.

The volley, which canceled out an opener from Cameron Carter-Vickers, came following a clearance from Kellyn Acosta. Although the headed clearance went well outside the box, Ruiz stepped up and unleashed on the volley to net the equalizer and snag Guatemala a point.

The U.S. dominated the opening 30 minutes by maintaining possession through a high-pressure style. The constant pressing limited Guatemala’s ability to move the ball out of the back and allowed the U.S. to work with the ball following a series of Guatemala turnovers.

Tommy Thompson and midfielder Romain Gall were among the more active Americans in the opening stanza. Thompson’s efforts were rewarded with a pair of chances in the 12th minute, with the first being pushed away by goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen while the ensuing rebound was sent soaring over the bar.

Center back Cameron Carter-Vickers also earned the U.S. a decent look on goal following a free kick, but the game headed into halftime with a level scoreline despite the Americans’ dominance.

The U.S. opened the second half with a spectacular chance through Gall, but the midfielder’s volley was pushed just wide following a cross from Shaquell Moore.

The breakthrough finally came in the 59th minute through Carter-Vickers, who skied above the Guatemala defense to provide the opening goal.

Service was provided by Emerson Hyndman, whose corner kick was placed right around the 6-yard box. The physically-gifted Carter-Vickers took control from there, smashing the ball into the back of the net to give the U.S. a well-deserved lead.

Hyndman had a chance to double the lead 16 minutes later with a long-distance effort, but the Fulham product’s shot curled just past the left post.

Guatemala finally got their breakthrough in the 90th minute through Ruiz, who smashed a volley from long range past Steffen into the upper left hand corner.

The U.S. is back in action Sunday for a matchup against Panama.

Here are the game highlights:


  1. Thompson did look good. There was nothing for the backs to clean up because Guatemala was countering only. The forwards missed conecting because they were not taught how to attack a zone defense, which was well organized in lines of 5 and 4 with concentration more in the middle, hoping the USA would play into space or long thru the middle. The USA, conditioned to rely on their own athleticism, played right into their strenghths. I hope the USA learned something

  2. Individually, Thompson looked very good dribbling at defenders and escaping from tight spots, Hyndman was very good. The backs cleaned up things pretty well. Gall struggled despite being pretty quick. In general the forwards did not play well together and missed or mis-read connections way too often.

    Collectively the US knocked the ball around pretty well, but where unable to create space or complete creative combinations to spring an attack behind G’s defense. The few passes that did connect to attackers behind the defense where simple longer balls played between the spaces in G’s defense. Most of those longer attempts were cut out pretty effectively.

    Still, the US had by far the best of the game and way more shots than G.

  3. So many over reactions here! One moment of brilliance and everyone freaks out. With better finishing, we walk away with an easy win. There was some rust but knowing the team will have a rotation (due to so many games in quick succession) should have given away the first game might be rusty. Tab tried to save Emerson for Panama but Flores was just not effective and needed to come out.

    Everyone relax, it’s the first game and with some better finishing the game is a blow out. Something to work on but not the end of the world.

  4. Ok…so NO CREATIVITY from this “extraordinary” midfield! The best player by far was Shaq! When Hyndman came in, he made a difference….but it wasn’t enough. Gall, Arriola, Flores were all awful and showed nothing. There are better non-pro players that should be there for this age group. Being a pro at this age, just means in the USA that college wasn’t for you. I am really feeling that we won’t qualify……ugh.

  5. This tie goes solely on the shoulders of Tab Ramos. I didn’t understand the lineup. Arriola is clearly not a CM nor is Acosta. I understand wanting to put the better players on the field but I think the US needs to concentrate on putting the best team together and that doesn’t always mean the best players. I would guess the USA has two of the better CM in the tournament in Hyndman and Flores and he plays them each half a game? 4-4-2 with those two in the midfield. Acosta and Arriola are outside guys….. Flores and Hyndman connecting the game would be so much more fluid. stop overthinking this TR.

  6. Why can’t the USMNT produce goal scoring strikers???? Very encouraging midfield talent and also the defense looked good (thought a bit sloppy at times), several nice balls served in but so frustrating to watch USMNT of all age groups given the lack of world-class striker talent all the way down the pipeline. What is the deal that this country can’t find/develop young men that play up front and can consistently put the ball in the back of the net or at least be threatening?

  7. Didn’t see the game so can’t offer much comment specifically. Drawing with Guatemala is a poor result but there’s no reason the US can’t still win the group. I do think this group of player is more talent than the past few U-20 teams we’ve had. The key is continuing to build a development infrastructure that can identify elite young players and provide opportunities throughout the development process. We are getting there but it takes a long time and we still have a lot to do.

  8. My exact sentiments. The talent and technical abilities of the players today are far superior to those of players 5 -10 years ago. However, the previous coaches achieved better results than our current ones. I’ve said in the past the talent pool is increasing in spite of JK and his fairy tale goals. Bruce and Bradley got more out of their players and teams than our current coaches have. The problem is with the Federation who has chosen these coaches. If the root of a tree is weak the branches will also be frail and weak.

    • Robbo

      Comparing eras never really works but since you are going that route:

      “My exact sentiments. The talent and technical abilities of the players today are far superior to those of players 5 -10 years ago. “

      Highly debatable.

      Arena had equal goalkeeping and more stable defenders and with a smaller talent pool, a more cohesive unit. He had JOB and Reyna, two midfielders who were better than anyone on the current US roster and McBride a superior forward to any on the current roster. And of course, he had a young Donovan, DMB and Frankie Hejduk. In sum a smaller but better group. The proof of the smaller weaker talent pool was that when they Arena’s guys all got old together , he had no replacements, it showed and Arena was out.

      “However, the previous coaches achieved better results than our current ones. I’ve said in the past the talent pool is increasing in spite of JK and his fairy tale goals. Bruce and Bradley got more out of their players and teams than our current coaches have.”

      Highly debatable.

      Arena and Bradley had nothing to do with the depth and quality of the talent pools of their time either. Bruce went further but he had better players than JK and BB did just as well against weaker opposition while having superior talent. BB had equal goalkeeping, a more cohesive back four, the best of Gooch,Demerit Dolo and Boca, the best of Clint and most of all, he had a supremely motivated Landon at the peak of his powers.

      JK had nothing like that.

  9. Let me ask all the responders that are defending the US’s play in this game, why isn’t Mexico struggling against these lesser teams at U20 level?

    Superior talent? Something was off with the US team. I have to think, it must be something with the coaching.

    The excuse of this being the most “professional” team ever, and then under achieving is getting old.

    I hope we are able to bounce back, and move forward, and qualify.

    • G24,

      “why isn’t Mexico struggling against these lesser teams at U20 level?”

      I haven’t seen the Mexico Under 20 team lately.

      I do see a lot of Liga MX. I assume the Mexican Under 20 team players are mostly from Liga MX and mostly play the with the same basic scheme and philosophy.

      In contrast the US players tend to come from all over the place and play with teams that have a wider variety of schemes and styles.

      The latest roster on the CONCACAF website for the Mexican Under 20 lists:

      4 forwards 2 from America, 1 from TJ, 1 from Pachuca
      6 midfielders 3 from Guadalajara, 3 from Pachuca,
      8 defenders 2 from UNAM, 1 from Guadalajara, 1 from America, the other four from
      four other clubs.

      I’m pretty sure the US Under 20 team does not have the same ability to pick groups of players ( especially in midfield) with that ready made built in year round cohesion.

  10. That’s why you train, play scrimmages and friendly games. So when the games matter you’ll have the right players in place. A good coach would place the 10 field players who are capable of dismantling a team that bunkers. Who knows, may have required a switch in formation.

  11. Guatemala was over matched and played bunker defense. The US had no answer to break them down, even with Zelalem and Green this game wouldve been difficult.

    You can blame the players for not scoring on a couple good chances but thats the way the game goes. Ramos is still trying to find the right combo of players to start every game. Gooch came in too late and Arriola’s bad crosses on set-pieces dont help either, his crosses need to be ropes not slow fly balls.

  12. Matthew R! Ignorant? My reference to this game was the inability of the coaches to make adjustments during the games. This is a problem with the Senior and Youth Level Teams. Have you ever wondered why the USA is unable to dominate less talented Teams? That’s because of the inability to field a cohesive team. Have you seen the Canadian Teams played lately? Although less talented than the USA, they’ve been impressive as a Team. Matthew, a team is 10 field players attacking and defending as one unit makes a team. I’m a Jamaican whose team was taught to never pass the ball directly to a player’s feet but into the space close to the player. On defense it’s never let the player control the ball and turn on you. It’s also anticipate the passing lane, close the gap then attack the ball. So, Mr. Intellectual Matthew, when compared to Guatemala, the USA is more talented at each position. However, Guatemala was the better team last night. This is a reflection of the coaching team chosen by the Federation. The USA seldomly matches the quality and standard of better teams it plays but lowers it’s performance against less talented teams. This is a coaching problem which is reflected throughout the different age groups. That’s why we struggle to qualify in these Tournaments.

    • “Have you ever wondered why the USA is unable to dominate less talented Teams?”

      No. And if you did you certainly don’t have the answer.Unlike you I watch more than a few games a year.

      Pick a soccer competition, any competition (EPL, MLS, La Liga, NCAA, AARP,MTV, ) and you will find many numerous instances where ” less talented” teams, , whatever the f++k that means, frustrate more talented teams.

      Especially when the more talented team in the US of A.

      Would you be stunned to learn that it is possible .that “less talented” teams, especially in CONCACAF, put in their best effort when faced with the biggest bully on the block?

      The important thing is the US got a point. Other than that this draw is a non story.

  13. Since everyone else seems to be practicing their best impersonations of the average English soccer fan by eviscerating the team they “support”, let me add some variet.

    That Guatalaman goal was a thing of beauty. Perfectly hit. The poor US keeper had that shot covered by got there a hair too late… He’s gonna HATE seeing that replay.

    I have a technical question… What gives a headed ball it’s speed? There are times when headers seem to really fly fast and there are times when they seem to not… What’s the secret?

    • Conservation of Momentum – where Momentum is a vector and includes both direction and speed. Assuming the head can add little momentum to the system, it is basically up to the ball and its speed before the collision with the head. I’d also assume that the collision is elastic, meaning that the ball and the head will both absorb some of the initial momentum during the collision, leaving the ball with less momentum after the collision.

    • “I have a technical question… What gives a headed ball it’s speed? There are times when headers seem to really fly fast and there are times when they seem to not… What’s the secret?”

      Timing. Ideally the player meets the ball with his head at the very end of his motion so he gets maximum power.

      And there is also the speed and power of the cross itself. Sometimes all you are really doing is altering the flight path of a shot just a little bit..

  14. I knew the tying goal for Guatemala was coming. Disappointing game, even though we had a lot of possession.

    The US seemed to have an awful first touch, and the standard poor decision in the final 3rd. And their energy seemed a little to hyper, it seemed like Ramos needed to tell them to calm down in their passing . Hyndeman was the best most mature US player.

    I think the US team has some talent, but…

  15. I wouldnt get my panties in a bunch over this one guys. We really controlled the game and with some better finishing this could have been a 3 or 4 nil game. These things happen, especially on bumpy pitches in concacaf. The only real fault i had with ramos was not starting hyndman from the get go. When he came in he was clearly the best player on the park. We controlled the whole game and they had one wonder strike and some strange officiating leading up to that. Get 3 points against panama and we’re still well on our way. Some players looked really sharp (carter-vickers, moore, thompson). Also move arriola back to the wing, hes not quite physical or technical enough to be played centrally. Rotate the squad for panama and then we’re good to go.

  16. It’s the same thing Over and over ” this is one of the Best U teams ever we did well in the Milk cup” then “doh we just got eliminated”

    Kick and run is already ingrained by the piss poor club coaching that runs the soccer system nationwide. Get the biggest fastest players play kick and run collect your thousands repeat. At age 20 these players still can’t dribble pass ir trap but hey they can kick and run

  17. All the hype for the US-U20 in this competition and they end up tying to Guatemala on their opening game..Really? I’m not shocked though. The journalism for US soccer is blown completely out of the water and is written with such bias.GET BACK TO EARTH!

  18. DVR’d and watched the game late. USA deserved to win, lucky ass volley right at the end lost us 2 points. However, I really don’t get Tab’s tactics tonight. Guatemala was obviously going to park the bus, so I was surprised how narrow we were. Thought we would play a true 4-3-3 and get the ball out wide to our wingers. Instead Gall and Thompson tucked in and it played right into Guatemala’s game plan.

    As usual way too much panic on SBI, talent wise this is a solid U20 team.

  19. I think it is interesting to note that the 2005 edition of this squad, which included players like Spector, and lee Nguyen, and Marvell wynne, had one player go on to play in a World Cup. Benny feilhaber.

    The 07 team had two, Bradley and altidore.

    If this team does qualify for the World Cup, Rubin and what’s his face from arsenal are being added, and that strengthens this squad.

  20. For those who saw it, this game was eerily like when the US national team played in Guatemala during the first round of qualifying. The US dominated the game, but failed to convert many chances and Guatemala scored in the waning minutes to secure the draw. In that game it was a long pass to Pappa who scored from about the same distance with about the same kind of goal as in this game. Guatemala basically parked the bus and got lucky at the end. That’s the problem when you don’t take advantage of your chances, the other team can make a shot and undo all your work. Too much doom and gloom here and jumping to conclusions. Especially in youth tournaments, it often takes a game for the team to jell. That happened with the team that played in Mexico and took the Mexicans to an extra period in the final.

    • Yes, I was thinking the same thing. That long volley goal was eerily like the Pappa goal in the senior Guatemala game. (Ok maybe I watch too much soccer)

  21. As much as some try to paint this team as some sort of golden generation there’s nothing there to be overly excited about. Especially the midfield. The lack of creativity and leadership on that line perfectly embodies English player development at his best.
    We still could have a good tournament, this is CONCACAF after all, but don’t expect this group to revolutionize American soccer.

    • If more than 3 players from a U20 National team become senior internationals, then that’s a great group. The reality is that in every generation there are just as many players who don’t play internationally until they are only senior eligible.

      If you look at the previous cycle I think that Yedlin may well be the only one to make the jump and its simply because he has necessary athletic ability. As every Bundesliga manager will tell you, “you can’t coach speed.” The rest of that squad aspires to be pedestrian.

      Also remember that there are some significant absentees from this squad (Julian Green, Jordan Morris, Rubio Ruben) who probably would have nada significant impact on this match, but who are already senior internationals.

    • Anyone who tries to paint this team as a golden generation or not a golden generation after watching one match (or NOT watching one match as some commenting here clearly didn’t even WATCH the match) is being pretty ignorant. Even in this match, Hyndman shined and showed brilliant skill on the ball. Thompson and Shaq were incredibly dangerous, tireless, and tricky on the wings (Shaq covered an insane amount of ground at right back). Flores’ passing was very sophisticated, with each ball smartly placed with deception and disguise (though his work rate seems to need improvement), Gall flashed some nice skills early, but ran out of gas. Carter-Vickers seems to have the makings of a stud defender as he completely wrapped up the talented Guatemalan forward 1v1 and scored a great header. Acosta seems smart, quick and tidy on the ball.

      But take all that with a grain of salt. Arriola was awful last night, but tomorrow he could come out and score a brace and look great. CCV could fall down and allow a goal. Guys go through good stretches and bad ones, especially at this age, and they’ve got years of development left to them. We’re going to be evaluation these kids over the next 3-5 years at least to see if any of them will be special. CCV is 16. Many of these kids are 17.

      • Tom,

        I agree on most of your points.

        Guatemala was clearly thrilled with a draw which speaks both to their plan and expectations going in. Its very difficult for senior players to break down an established defense so asking U20’s to do so isn’t very realistic.

        I’ve watched Hyndman play for Fulham and he’s a real prospect. I do prefer him further up the pitch which is where he generally plays for his club. I don’t think that he’s close to being physically mature and may even still be growing (he’s gained a few inches in the past 12-18 months as it is).

        The Thompson/Moore combinations as working well, but sadly the Requello/Arriola one was not, which is strange since they play for the same club. I think that most of this was down to Arriola having a pretty poor match. Hopefully that changes, but it made our approach a little predictable.

        Cameron-Vickers is a stud and we’re fortunate that he has declared for us. I’ve always been impressed by Steffen and hope that he develops with Freiburg.

        Flores didn’t do it for me. Jameison is just a raw physical prospect at this point. Gooch showed little, and that is his weakness as he’s not quick or really skilled enough to be that small. I find Acosta to be underwhelming and always have; I want to see more of Canouse. Gaul is better on the left.

      • Flores definitely paled in comparison to Hyndman who really inflicted his will on the match, whereas Junior kind of sat back and let the game come to him, but I liked his skill on the ball. I particularly liked the way he disguised his passes. This is something we don’t see often from USMNT players, let alone prospects. See the matches against Belgium and Germany and even the recent one against Scotland for evidence of players, all too often, telegraphing their passes and showing little or no disguise of their intentions. The ball sticks to Junior’s feet and it pings out suddenly, without warning, but accurately. I love the way he delivers the ball. Acosta is hard to judge for me as that D-mid position is so nuanced. I’d have to watch him over and over for a bunch of games to read him.

  22. Youth national teams are mostly collections of individuals. The few times they actually play well together, it is either because they are from a small country without a big professional soccer presence or like the US 12 or so years ago they have dedicated year-long residency camps. The USA MNT in 1994 spent very much time together, especially the defense that made their cohesion very good, even if the talent was not that great. When Donavon, Beasley, etc. were together in Bradenton, they did pretty well and played well together.

    It is pretty easy to see the same effect in college soccer where the players are rotated through rather quickly and have relatively little time to work together. It is a more certain path to get results by using good athletes and hard work (in the case of college soccer frequent substitutions) to negate any effort at combination play or skillful soccer.

    The best you can hope for is that asthe tournament stretches on the players will develop mutual understanding and interplay that will make the games look less chaotic than simply putting the best athletes on the field. To some degree the best soccer players develop that understanding quickest, it is a negative that in recent tournaments the US has failed to develop as well as the opponents in that regard.

    • From an earlier article:
      “After nearly 14 months of friendly matches and training camps, the start of the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship has arrived.”
      These players are not strangers to each other. They’ve been a team for quite a while now.

      • I never said they did not know each other. The roster, while it has had some constants in the last 3 camps also has seen about a 30% change in the starters and new players coming in. Each line in the Guatamela match had one player who did not play a big or any role in the Spain or Argentina tournaments last year.

        The camps are short and the players are most intent on getting their own spot ensured.
        Simply having competed for a starting spot with pretty much the same guys over the last few months and knowing them is not the same as being a team.

    • Very intelligent comment, Dennis. I couldn’t agree more. It’s going to be a crazy race against time and fitness as the chemistry improves but will it improve quickly enough, especially as guys get shuffled in and out necessitated by playing matches every 2 days. It’s an odd, unique, and kind of unfair challenge, but the apparent depth we have may work to our advantage in the latter matches.

  23. Wow! Omg. Well this a reflection of the US Federation. It’s all talk and no substance. Neither Tab nor JK can place a cohesive Team on the field. The USA is very talented but poorly coached. I am shocked but not surprise with the score. Where is the balance with this talent laden Team. We need a Manager who can evaluate talent and put a Team that gels together.

    • The US has some decent players but I think the US’ performances at senior and youth levels are a pretty fair reflection of the talent levels.

    • ‘One youth soccer game is a reflection of the entire US soccer Federation’… how ignorant and daft are you? At first when I was reading your comment I thought it was a clever attempt at satire, but when I realized you were completely serious I was left incredulous. Fans like you that blow results out of this stratosphere are the reason it pains me to search for good comments on articles such as this, because occasionally I read ones like this that could give me a migraine if I took them too seriously.

      In response to you and many other people on this thread let me say this:
      First off, the quality of youth teams are not directly correlated to the quality of their respective senior national teams. If this were true, then the fact that this same group of players beat Brazil 5-0 last year would imply that our senior national team could do the same to Brazil’s, but, I hope, we all can agree that sure as hell is not true. Secondly, if any of you think for one second that Germany’s youth teams- and their senior national team- dominate everyone they play and never have an embarrassing or bad performance, which this game was not, then you are extremely disillusioned. This is sports we’re talking about, not the laws of physics, the results don’t always match the quality of the team and sometimes games that could be 4-0 end up tied 1-1. If you are ready to give up on a team and a program for one unfortunate draw in the qualifying stages of an under-20 competition, then I’m sorry but you are NOT what I would call a fan of the USMNT.

      • And in case anyone really needs me to elaborate on my first point, just because our senior team would be expected to handily beat Guatemala, doesn’t mean we should expect the same from our youth teams because for all we know Guatemala has a strong youth system or an unusually strong age group.

  24. the USA did control this game tonight. they were up 1 nil and guat, hit a blast in the end and it ends 1-1.

    there are four more games in the group stage, and panama looks to be the toughest test, and that game is on sunday. lets see what happens sunday. there are bright signs. roman gall is a baller, and so is Hyndman. when conor Donovan is in defense, no goals will be given up. not one!!!

    • Wow, how wonderful that no goals will be given up. Just what we need to worry about. Panama is a joke, just like Guatemala. These are level B teams , but I guess so is the USA There are no “Ballers” on this team for sure, Just big guys who dont know how to trap or pass a ball.

      • Guatemala did beat out Costa Rica to advance this far. Tommy Thompson is not big and he is a baller also. When you only have a one goal lead, no matter how dominate, one shot from the other team and the game can be tied.

        Why are some US fans so quick to dismiss CONCACAF competition? It just does not make any sense. Zero sense. I almost wish I could be convinced that it does make sense, but how can it.

      • Have you bothered to check the average height of our team? They aren’t particularly big. They just look that was when playing Guatemala.

      • People are referring to the current U20’s a “big” when they simply are not. I was responding to that.

        I agree, height is not a major factor, especially when playing in CONCACAF.

  25. Yup…pretty disappointed. And after watching the last 70 minutes I saw nothing that could describe their performance as dominant

    • What the hell is going on? how can the USA be spinning its wheeels for so long. These U20 guys are all like clones. They all play the same way. I see no individuality here. Thereis NO joy in this team. Just dull, industriousness that these coaches seem to admire. I just dont get it

  26. Wow, how poor was that. It was like watching college soccer again. Dull, unsophisticated, Primitive long ball soccer. Lots of big strong athletic guys who dont know how to play . High balls, thru balls, holding and dribbling in midfield. Not one give and go, just run,run,run. Guatemala was sooo much better coached that it was sad to see. Ramos is a fraud, The players belong in the EPL. Soccer in the USA is back to square one.

    • Uh, are you sure that you were actually watching the U20 match?

      “Lots of big strong athletic guys who don’t know how to play.”

      The US forwards/attacking kids were Arriola 1.70, Thompson 1.70, Gaul 1.78 (I think he’s actually shorter), and Jamieson 1.85. Only the last of these is tall and he was subbed off for Gooch who is another short player. As for being “athletic” I think that the thing that will hold most, if not all of these guys back from being senior internationals is a lack of athleticism as non of them are particularly quick, fast or strong.

      What was really happening is what occurs all too often with the all so stylish 4-2-3-1 when it is used by tactically novice players (and managers). We had 5 guys defending and 5 guys attacking and no one bridging the two. In that sense, you’re right, Guatemala was better coached because they were playing a basic and easy to understand 4-4-2 that looked to counter. Essentially how the US used to play and still should.

      Me thinks that Ramos is probably following the orders of his over-hyped boss.

      • Not really.

        The two easiest tactical templates for young players or those who haven’t spent a lot of time together are 4-4-2 and 4-3-3. Its no coincidence to me that when we went to the 4-3-3 towards the end of the match, we were actually better going forward.

        The problem with trendy tactics like the 4-2-3-1 is that they much more time together to get everything working properly. The senior National team has looked poor when trying this form as well.

      • Dude, a 4-3-3 and a 4-5-1 are the same formation, it’s a 4-5-1 on defense, and it switches to a 4-3-3 on offense.

      • Dude, taking a coaching course…or two.

        There are clear differences between a 4-3-3 and a 4-5-1, which is in fact usually more of a 4-1-4-1. Yesterday Thompson and Arriola were and wide midfielders, rather they were wide forwards. Neither was dropping back into kind with the 3 central players and that was the case when we were in the 4-2-3-1 as well.

        The issues with the 4-2-3-1 are twofold. First, unless you have field smart holding kids, there is a clear tendency for both of these players to sit back and do their primary job, which is defending. Like I said above, it splits the team in half with a huge gap that can be exploited. The trendy term is “space between the lines.” That’s the issue here really, There aren’t clear lines, and for young players this can cause problems.

        The other issue if the interaction between the attacking central mid and the forward. Specifically, the center forward can becomes dependent on the midfielder and this limits his movement. Again, with practice this can be fixed, but that takes time that we don’t have.

      • a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-5-1 are the same. and a 4-3-3 is the attacking variation of the 4-5-1.

        3-5-2 and 5-3-2, its the same formation.
        don’t you understand this?

      • Did you really just give the players’ heights in meters? You realize this is an American blog, right? Most people here know and use feet. Whether or not metric is better is irrelevant.

      • Yeah, as soon as I saw meters I stopped reading. I don’t know whether a 1.8m person is a midget or a giant.

      • Sorry to try to educate you. My day job requires me to work exclusively in the metric system.

        Gall is the tallest at a generous 5’10”. Thompson and Arriola are both 5’7′. Gooch is 5’6″. Jameison is just 6′. We do not have big team.

        As was pointed out further down, Dr.K clearly didn’t even watch the match.

      • It might then be telling that the only goal is on a defender dead ball header and not normal run of play. Mexico’s last cycle underlines the need to match style to personnel…..whacking crosses all day to tiny Chicharito is ineffective.

        That being said, the US has historically taken advantage of its height, and also played an organized counter style using our athleticism and fitness. Are we better as a technical team than the rest of the region? I dunno.

      • One concern going into the game against Panama is how physical they are and we aren’t, how times have changed.

      • I don’t think Dr. K watched the match at all. USA completely dominated this match. They probably had about 70 percent of the possession. Guatemala sat back an parked the bus. There were tons and tons of attempted give and gos. It’s just that most of them didn’t work and the players weren’t completely in sync, which isn’t surprising in the first match of the tournament. These players are used to going head to head with top European and South American sides that go after them. It’s very hard for 18 year olds who don’t play together often to break down an organized, committed defense that puts 11 guys behind the ball. Maybe they didn’t train for this kind of team or maybe they should have scheduled some matches like this in preparation. Tough to do with this age group. Jamaica should be a different type of match, you would think. Not sure about Panama or Aruba. If they park the bus like Guatemala and are as organized as they were, it will be tough.

      • This may reflect what I see as a growing constraint with US youth teams at the highest age groups. The more we move from the Bradenton/college model to professional callins, the less you are going to be able to camp a bunch of players and gel them. Some players we won’t get and others may only get a little camp. So we can’t take as much advantage of drilling a team together as before, which I think was a previous advantage.

        It’s a “downside” to being a mature soccer nation that has a professional pool. There’s a reason some of the old school European powers don’t routinely make the U20s or look as good as you might think. Their best players aren’t released except if used at the world tournament level, and they aren’t going to let their players go for weeks of camp. So you move more to a model of perhaps better talent but less gel.

      • I think this is a little abstract and since I didn’t see the game (thanks FS2/Xfinity), I can’t really comment. However, I am not a fan of insisting every US team plays the same way or that some style or formation is the “official” one for US Soccer. Tactics need to be determined, at least in part, by the players available, and I think this is especially true in the international game where your ability to go out and get players that fit a particular system is pretty limited/non-existent.

    • I don’t think he should be fired over one game but they did net only one point because they netted only one goal out of all those chances. Guate then scores the chance they get. Fair point if dialed back.

      Heck of a Guate goal.

      You do wonder as some have suggested whether the frenetic style JK is encouraging can be maintained by the players for 90 without bad late consequences. We generally are not the team historically having fitness issues. We are usually the team that is organized and fit and beats people late sometimes.

    • I’m starting to think that we may have to get used to this. This was a bit of a flukey goal – an amazing volley, but USA came out pressing like crazy while Guatemala sat back and saved their legs. This seems to be the preferred style of JK and Tab when possible. I wonder if we won’t tend to wear ourselves out late. Not that that should have mattered much for the recent friendlies with liberal substitutions.


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