By FRANCO PANIZO
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is in a do-or-die situation, and anything less than a win will be viewed as a major letdown.
The U.S. begins play in the knockout stages of the World Cup this morning by taking on a fellow second-place finisher in Colombia at Wellington Regional Stadium (3:30 am ET, Fox Sports 1/Telemundo). The Americans are coming off a lopsided group-stage finale loss to Ukraine, but are bolstered by the returns of first-choice players Rubio Rubin, Matt Miazga, and Desevio Payne.
Colombia should prove a formidable foe, however. While the Colombians were not entirely convincing in posting a 1-1-1 record in Group C, they do possess plenty of talented youngsters. Players like Udinese midfielder Alexis Zapata and Rafael Santos Borre of Deportivo Cali have gotten the nod, and should keep the U.S. plenty busy.
SBI will be bringing you live commentary of tonight’s win-or-go home match. As always, you are welcome to follow the game here and leave your thoughts, opinions and analysis in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (tonight’s commentary is after the jump):
I think the team has not played it’s best game yet. The 4-0 over New Zealand was not that artful, but ti gave the team confidence moving forward. I think the Ukraine (who lost, by the way to Senegal) match showed the US they would have to play a lot smarter against physical and larger teams. Sometimes its better to be lucky than good, but you make your own luck. Columbia let down their guard, didn’t put a body on Rubin and were unmercifully punished. Just one big mistake at this level and you are flying home.
Serbia will be a good match up as they are physical and technical. They beat Mexico and Mali (which beat Ghana, one of the cup favorites), but lost narrowly to Uruguay (who will fave Brazil to nite) They will be hard to break down, but they do not have the speed the US does, so if the US can use this, they may advance. Should the US prevail against Serbia, they would most likely face Germany. Both teams play a similar style. By the way, there are a lot of those who say the US was “lucky”. Well Serbia was down 1-0 at the end of regulation and scored the equilizer at 90+1. Hungary then scored an own goal to hand Serbia the win. Like I said: Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
If the US wants to play their best game, Serbia would be a good place to start.
Jamieson has a head contusion i heard. He might be available for next match.
It wasn’t pretty, but survive and advance is the name of the game. You take the win any way you can get it. Colombia pulls, grabs, holds, and pushes all the time. Finally the ref started calling some of them. I think this is the nastiness Klinsmann talks about. Colombia definitely was much better at pushing men off the ball and taking away possession. That’s something US players have to be tougher about.
Yea once the ref tightened up some on all the grabbing they got disjointed and we had a nice spell of play till the penalty.
I was proud how scrappy our guys fought against a bigger more physical team of thugs, especially Arriola… dude can battle
Yeah we just looked small pretty much all over the field, outside of Matt and CCV.
Colombian national teams at all levels will not let you push them around and prefer to be take the initiative when it comes to “physical” play.
Well, a great day (thus far) for US Soccer. Getting past a quality Colombia side, in spite of another early injury to our CF. We actually looked like we knew what we were doing out there today, a far cry from the Ukraine game. Excellent strike from Rubin, and a big-time, tournament-saving PK save from Steffen.
Unfortunately, Acosta is a big loss. He has looked far-and-away our most comfortable player on the ball throughout the tournament. And we need to evaluate seriously whether it is worth having Zalelem start right now. The NZ game was a tantalizing hint of the future, but he has been neutralized completely since. In fairness, I’m not sure I can so “who is better”. but that kind of contribution won’t get us much further.
I think Acosta has been a bit of a liability in the back. You’re right that he looks comfortable on the ball (I wouldn’t say he’s the most comfortable of anyone), but defensively he looks lost. Quiñones was giving him problems all game and to me looked like Colombia’s most dangerous player.
In his defense, he continued to give us problems regardless of who was covering him, but on the first yellow he took today, he got beat badly. The same thing happened against Ukraine and he was forced to take a tactical yellow then as well. I thought Carter-Vickers, Miazga and Payne all looked very good defending and Acosta looked understandably out of position.
Fair enough. I def agree that Carter-Vickers/Miazga look like a beastly tandem out there, and that this is the most encouraging story right now for this team (in a tournament admittedly plagued by inconsistency)
Still, I am not confident about anybody who might be behind Acosta, simply because we have so few guys who can actually pass the ball out of trouble. I believe he will be sorely missed, though I suppose there are worse things than playing Serbia, who have certainly looked like a decent-but-beatable team thus far
Wow what a match, glad I stayed up!! gritty win.. also, am I the only one who’s relieved Moore won’t play next match?
Do you mean Acosta?
Yea Acosta, 4:45 am brainfarts. He just has seemed a little bit of a liability in the back
Yeah. Moore was not on the field, dude.
F@ck yeah!! Steffen saved our butts on that PK. We are in deep trouble against Serbia however. The trouble they can cause on the wings is going to tear us a new one. Zelalem played poorly in this match. His fitness is lacking and he has no strength to hold up possession when he’s touched.
Zack Steffen !!!! man of the match
Colombia has had at least 3 handballs in or just outside the box and the ref has seen none of them. This guy is terrible
Something I’ve noticed about GZ that I don’t really like is that he tries to be too fancy and cute to me. Might just be me.
No, it’s not just you. Unfortunately, he seems to have inherited some of the “bad” Arsenal qualities as well as the good ones. Cuteness is not a substitute for effectiveness.
spoken like a true creativity killing american pee coach
Lame. Are you trying to tel me he was good out there?
He certainly wasn’t as bad as you make him out to be. At times we need someone to slow the game down and allow us to maintain possession. He did that well. Sure, he needs to release earlier at times, but his technique is better than most on the team, and he made more happen for us offensively this game than Allen, Hyndman, and possibly Arriola.
Don’t get me wrong… I think the kid is loaded with talent. But I’d like to see him find his way into the game more proactively, and stop resorting to tricks in the final third that are obviously doomed when it’s completely acceptable to simply play the square ball.
As much as anything, I just think somebody needs to tell the kid that he has passed the audition.
If anything, I think he needs to be more direct. Don’t be afraid to shoot, son!
His decision making is not yet the best. His style of play may be best suited for the Mexican League.
GZ is confident on the ball. This is a good thing.
I prefer a kid midfielder who thinks he can beat every other guy on the field to one who backpasses every ball he gets.
And what do you all whine and moan and complain about ? Midfielders who pass the ball back a lot.
That kid has talent that can be worked with.
He may have held onto it too long in this game but it’s worth remembering that he has not played all that much with these guys and it is possible there may not have been anyone in a good position to pass to.
After all this is the Under 20 team and this tournament is all about development.
You don’t want to beat the creativity our of him and make him the next Eddie Gaven.
This Colombian team is dirty. They’re like the old Riley Knicks that committed three defensive fouls every possession and dared the officials call all of them.
Colombian teams have always been very physical
BWAAAAAHHHAHAHAH!!!!!! Rubin almost snapped the net with that blast.
I think Tab going with the 4-1-4-1 with that early of an injury was not a bad move.
They’re much bigger, stronger, and faster-with a ref that’s letting a lot go.. which is not in our favor.
If they have more room to operate in the midfield we could be in more trouble.
This is a frantic game, I’m glad we’re not backing down, but I think it’s the right move.
Colombia’s DM Tello is everywhere covering ground but he fouls on almost every challenge. Zelalem needs to work on his strength when he gets back to England. Tello is punking him around too easily. The team can’t get any sort of rhythm going. Hyndman and Zelalem need to make their presence felt when they do get the ball which is no often at the moment because our defenders are hoofing it. Rubin is getting frustrated and tired playing all alone up top.
Usa gonna lose I already see it coming, there playing not to lose instead of going for the win again. So bj4 goes down and you bring in Allen as a mid instead of partnering him up top with Rubin. Allen isn’t good enough at passing outa pressure, I hope they switch up the tactics in the 2nd half cuz it’s just a matter of time before Colombia scores.
Well, the first half was a real alley fight. One thing I see from Zelalem that I noticed before which has gotten worse. He holds onto the ball too long. Colombia seems to have had a little better of the play, but this game could go either way. It may come down to which team tires out first. Bummer about Jamieson, let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Showed flashes in that half, but are going to need to be sharper in front on goal
emerson kinda looks like messy
US playing well so far defensively.offense could be bett
I’m amazed at some of the no calls against us. Guys have been clearly fouled and the ref does nothing.
man, I hope BJIV is ok… i couldn’t tell if it was shoulder or neck injury
about to hit the pizza bar
chicken parm and bud for the occasion
hope rubin and zelalem and howard start
wish it was tim h in goal
Anyone else stay up for this one? 2:30 am kick here in Central time..
Went to sleep at 7pm. Gunna sleep more after the game. Let’s get it boys.
Is this a joke? US boys in a knockout game and I’m gonna sleep?
Let’s GO YANKS!!!!!