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USMNT U-20’s suffer quarterfinal exit in loss to Uruguay


The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team’s quest of reaching a first FIFA World Cup semifinals since 1989 ended on Sunday with Mikey Varas’ side suffering elimination in the fourth-straight quarterfinal round.

Anderson Duarte and a Josh Wynder own goal propelled Uruguay past the Americans 2-0 on Sunday, advancing the South American side into the final four and sending the USMNT U-20’s home. The Americans’ shutout streak ended after 21 minutes before Wynder’s own goal iced the victory for Uruguay in the second half.

Duarte delivered the breakthrough goal for Uruguay in the 21st minute, sending a left footed shot down the middle of Gaga Slonina’s net for a 1-0 advantage. Juan de los Santos set up Duarte before watching his offensive teammate do the rest from point-blank range.

Wynder’s right footed shot just before halftime was the Americans’ only true offensive chance after missing several other opportunities earlier in the half.

Uruguay got a fortunate bounce for its second and final goal of the match, watching as de los Santos’ cross was deflected into his own net by Wynder. Wynder’s failed clearance gave Uruguay a 2-0 advantage that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Cade Cowell created two good opportunities in the 63rd and 66th minutes respectively, but wasn’t able to sneak a shot past Randall Rodriguez.

Uruguay would hang on to join Italy, South Korea, and Israel in the semifinal round.


  1. USSF looked at Belgium in 2014 and said we will never defeat elite teams giving up 39 shots. NT at all levels began trying to play a more possession based style. We’ve seen the limitations of this style primarily against organized and compact defenses at the top level. The U20s have not had this problem as generally teams that sit in low block against them have been significantly lower quality and we’ve still broken them down. Although the end result matched the last three tournaments, the ability of the US to control quality opponents like Serbia and Ecuador shows there has been progress. Uruguay’s defense was able to contain Cowell’s ability to have space and run at them and limited Luna’s influence as a false 9 with numbers. Once Diego slid wide late in the match he was able to cook some but his energy was running low. Could this team have “bunkered in and played a 5-4-1 and just hit long balls to try to spring Cowell. Yes they could have. U20s are like junior varsity, winning isn’t the only thing that matters. I used to coach 7th grade American football, the HS coach made us use a wishbone and run the option. On defense we ran a base 4-3 with some vary limited blitzing. We never won more than half our games. Teams would line up and send double blitzes in the A gaps and we’d usually go 3 and out. When those teams got to hs our school made 3 straight semis and had a run of 8 or 9 straight playoff appearances. The teams that had crushed us 30, 40 to nothing in 7th grade we’d beat by equal scores in HS. Why, because they played to win, our kids learned how to play football. Other teams developed there 2 or 3 best athletes, we tried to develop the whole team. Why would you bunker in at the U20 WC because how many teams have a 10 that can unlock a low block? Our guys didn’t win but hopefully they learned what they need to work on to be elite at the next level. Cowell hopefully sees he needs to get his head up and look for others more Luna should be working making the final pass, Vargas is going to work on defending in space and so on. Getting to the semis or final by playing just to win at the youth level is a false positive that harms development over time. Winning next weekend would have felt group but wouldn’t have helped much over the next 3-7 years. The US needs to develop modern 10s that can unlock a defense and still defend, that doesn’t happen playing 4-4-2 with two deep midfielders youth levels.

    • saying a counter team = bunker team is a gross exaggeration. think france, japan, or morocco. get back, swarm, win ball, counter into space.

      IMO pressing other end is child’s play. run around hard for 30′ then hope you can make it to the whistle. i want a 90′ strategy. it also works better the worse the opponent is as holland showed. holland was willing to simply play outlets long over the press.

      • I think the pressing is more the stop gap. Can we find away to get some turnovers and get some opportunities before teams get set. If you look at the NT vs England especially and initially vs Netherlands the pressing was much more select.
        France has so much more talent than us it’s not even a comparison. Plus they got beat perhaps if they had possessed the ball and made Argentina’s older players chase the game it doesn’t go to pks.
        Again with Morocco or Japan did they have a realistic chance to win the WC? No, because over the course of multiple knockout rounds you have to outscore someone at some point.
        I’m not talking about Berhalter’s passages of play that were apparently overly detailed for some players. I’m talking we’re going to look to possess the ball and force the opponent to chase us. This is what’s coming. Sam Allardyce is not going to be hired, and the guy who is is going to be possession focused. What formation they use and where they set their defense is yet to be determined. Ask Canada how counter attacking worked in the WC by the way?

      • i think canada is a worse and slightly less athletic team than we have so that’s not really indicative. we should be better than them. that we aren’t speaks to your implied counter-argument we’re fine on system.

        you also played a weird game saying this is not france’s talent. like we can’t play an athletic style because we aren’t as skilled. surely you see the logical flaw in saying we can’t play athletically for not being as technical. wide speed counter isn’t predominantly a skill game.

        a great deal of what makes france hum is simply running the athletic (but also skilled) mbappe down sidelines. we have weah like that. maybe not as good but 90% of that. we have others like dest who can dribble at speed up a flank or chase vertical outlets. we also have players like mckennie who are not possession MF but can be counted on to crash a box to poach chances. finishing a fast counter would probably be mckennie wheelhouse. ditto pulisic.

        y’all are deeply confused that counter = bunker. there is a massive difference. bunker is 10 guys in a line back in the 18. there is no counter outlet if you do that as everyone is back. you can only try some lengthy buildout. to do a german-style counter you get back in disciplined defense to something like the center circle or half line, you wait for them to come to you, you entice them forward, you then swarm passes into the heart of the defense, and win the ball. unlike a bunker, you maintain shape and 3-4 lines from 18 to centerline, which gives you the wide outlets to counter.

        it’s a transition game built around superior athletes and speed. it requires skill to execute because soccer does in general. more skill is more execution. but it plays off having the better athletes against mere soccer players. they try to outsoccer you. you negate that with defense then run by their slow technical guys for easy counter goals. fits our personnel. and fits me since i believe the pep “15 pass rule” stuff is fake and timid. i’ve had an assist on a 3-pass goal from a kickoff covering the whole field. that is as pretty as pep tentative kickaround and much more direct. i personally think it takes more skill to hit an 80 yard lead ball downfield to a curling forward than to pass sideways 20 times. i personally think trying to sell pep to america is a bill of goods because with the exception of messi he resists the idea of dribbling to create. i think dribbling helps commit defenses and also gives another scoring option. i thought we were going to promote more attacking creativity before this got hijacked into sideways passing funball. hence i am fine with aggressive countersoccer because i think it has the realism to know defense is necessary, the smarts to not be overaggressive other end of the field and give up your own counters, and then uses not just skill but also our athletes to get downfield and score some goals. as opposed to slow builds that let the opposing defenses off the hook. go ahead and get back and we’ll see if the 30th pass unlocks you. happens maybe once a year. i want stuff we can do 3 times a game not once a season.

      • France had the most talent and lost the 2022 WC Final, Rnd of 16 exit in 2020 Euros, finished behind Croatia and Denmark in their NL group. If the US had that record would you be singing the praises of Deschamps strategy? There is not one player on the US that could even sniff the starting 11 for France. How did the tactics you described work for Arena and Klinsmann in 2018? How did it work against Germany and Belgium in 2014? For that matter how has it worked for Germany since 2014? WC: 2 group stage exits, Euros: 3rd place and 15th place NL: 3rd in group, 2nd, 3rd. Is that your proof of concept? So giving weaker opponents the ball gives them more opportunities to score and provides you with fewer opportunities and overtime those odds can catch up to you.

    • the other part you’re confused about is maybe find the money tree BEFORE you apply it on down to U15. GB didn’t find tactical pay dirt. klinsi wanted to control the system but tried 2 systems. so, which one did every kid need to know? sorry but maybe make the world cup semis with tactics that work well before comparing it to a JHS running a winning HS’ teams plays at any cost. you’re implying U20 is running some great scheme the men use to great success and should because it’s their future. the coach got fired. this is a zombie scheme at this point, if we have a clue.

    • last, the fundamental problem with what the US is trying is we are imitating dutch and barca type teams that fully control player development. i know how ODP/ regionals/ YNT work. the get the kids a few times a year for a week or so. they do not control how kids are being taught to play at U5 when they get a ball. they do not control the academies or select at U10. they only begin trying to impact stuff with U15 YNT that barely play together. you’re trying to come in at HS — or worse with full professionals — and say, oh, i don’t care how FCD academy or some club team has taught you for 5-10 years, do this other thing. good luck.

      i keep arguing bring back bradenton if you want a scheme empire. that way the residents are drilled in the scheme every day for years. but the fanboys want academy development. ok, let a thousand flowers bloom. everybody comes in playing different.

      last point, all due respect but y’all have pep style possession with technical players shifting the defense around probing for cracks, with what we do, which is defend hard and then play keepaway. problem being we aren’t selecting good technicians who can actually create possessing. we have athletes with good but not great skill who get stripped when you swarm them. we then don’t have a leakproof defense. so we can’t score alot or pitch shutouts. 1-1 recipe. barca has kids trained to play like this since they were 5. they can literally pass until it’s in the net. you aren’t trying to put lipstick on a pig. what we really are is a team trying to kill clock as opposed to work and run the opposition.

      we would be better served playing a scheme that fits an athletic team with wide speed and quality. that is usually a counter scheme as a high press denies the very green space a wide speed team needs to play vertically. you HAVE to back up and let them come to you, to release weah more often behind teams. otherwise it’s silly to hand a possession offense to the wasteful mckennie, who is better suited to box crashing on counters.

      • Completely agree that the size of the US is a problem. As I understand that’s one of the reasons Crocker is being brought in. To advance training and teaching of coaches as far down as we can go. We don’t have U11 NT but the federation does provide training for coaches at this level. You can diss academies but they’re producing players, we’ve just got to get every franchise producing the same number of players as Union or FCD. You’re a big competition guy, Bradenton siphoned off 20-30 players and that was the age group for better or worse. Today you’ve got 20-30 players in every age group at every MLS club. Bradenton was the right thing at the time but we’ve moved on. Communication is better (coaches across the country can communicate during live teaching sessions instead of VHS tapes and printed notes), training facilities are top notch in most MLS and many USL locations, a lot of academies are starting their own schools so players can spend more of their day doing soccer activities, with academies all over scouting it is much harder for guys to slip thru the cracks not impossible but harder. Your idea seems to be we tried a way for 20 years and it didn’t achieve the results we wanted and actually was declining in the last 10, but we should go back to it because we tried a new way and it produced similar results the first time we tried it. We know defending first, absorbing pressure, hoping to get an athletic attacker in behind had its limits. It’s not going to get the US to win the World Cup for a long long time. The first real attempt at possession based soccer got us equal results let’s see where it is in 10-12 years because that’s the timeline. No rational individual thinks we have the talent to win 2026 or likely even 2030, 2034 now we’re talking realistic. Caven Sullivan playing a one-two to Figueroa to break down the German backline to win in extra time 2-1.

      • i am going to diss academies slightly and say a significant chunk of MLS academies aren’t even up to the job if we’re talking about senior NT guys. my houston team can barely get HGP into the lineup here much less into the NT. i think we jumped the gun slightly turning it all over to capitalism here. not enough academies are good enough yet, FCD and a couple others. this is not to diss the academies doing it right. this is to diss the idea it was time to drop the center completely and hand it completely off. many academies aren’t ready for their first teams much less that bigger responsibility. period.

        more to the point on scheme, i am saying each academy, like each select or college team, plays their own way. you then get 3 guys from FCD, 2 guys from RSL, 2 guys from philly, 1 guy from NYRB, a dual national who was at ajax or la masia. maybe someone who went to duke. most NT obsessed with national system, there is some national stereotype, or they control development at clairefontaine, or they are dominated by a handful of key academies whose tactics they imitate. yes, if half your team came up from ajax or la masia, you can play like barca as a NT. yes, if you had the leading kids together every weekend and all summer from junior high, or even in residence, they will have great rapport in a common system. we have dozens of teams with their own ideas. the idea of coming in age 20-25 and saying, ok, now play some other way, with a learning curve……are we trying to look like we played together and win games, or what?

        i don’t buy your theory a coach or scheme needs a decade to work. if you have a money tree you will know it immediately. we might not win 2026, but we’d start upsetting leading teams or looking awesome. we look clunky and we play EXACTLY to the form chart. ergo the scheme isn’t helping at all. that doesn’t need more time. that needs do something different that does catch france or argentina on their heels.

        sorry but people pimp this gibberish in houston every new coach. the meter barely reads any change each year because people say it will take time as an excuse for failure. when i was on a club team that wanted to be good, improvement was expected every year, and personnel changes happened every offseason. this year we win league. next year make state. next year win state. set actual milestones that have to be achieved. i think acting like it’s impossible creates a space where no improvement is demanded, and encourages complacency. i think even if you believe it’s 2034 — and to be blunt, you aren’t considering where we are in developmental ebb and flow — that 2019 was crazy, that 2023 isn’t as good — so maybe the future is now, and the next generation like it is who knows, 2042 — that even a team that thinks 2034 is the endgame should be demanding demonstrable progress towards that. (the precise progress the stagnant U20 program isn’t making). semis next time. final next. win the next. coach goes if he doesn’t do it or we don’t look sharp. that is how the women used to operate and winners roll. this maybe in 2034 but i ask nothing of you now, or 2026 — that’s religion. maybe if we pray hard it happens. give me concrete progress or you’re not my leader.

    • JR, your glass is much more full than mine. I watched all the games except Equador and I didn’t see anyone I think will be a significant contributor to the A team down the road. I think Vargelas is really young so he may be able to but I don’t think k 19 year olds are really that young. Varsity football players are usually 16 and 17 and in junior high 13 and 14 I would so I am not sure I agree with your analogy, but I hope ypu are right.

  2. As usual the pessimists show up. According to the commentator, the US is the only country to reach the quarterfinals for 4 straight U-20 competitions. That means that 4 straight times we won a game in the knockout round, so it’s not just getting an easy group. Yet, despite the consistent achievement, some are complaining that we haven’t gone far enough. Which is better, be like some teams that go far in one competition, then don’t make it into the competition for another 4 or 6 years? Our consistency means we are not dependent on just a Golden Generation, but have a fairly consistent pipeline of good, if not great, players. For the development of the senior team, the consistent approach is better. Secondly, regarding the US defense, the own goal was truly unfortunate because if you look at the replay, if Wynder had let the ball go, there was no opponent behind him. The other goal was a bad decision because he tried to make a slide tackle when he should have stayed on his feet. Have people forgotten that, if you discount the own goal, the US gave up- only 1 goal in 5 games? The defense can’t be that bad if your GA average is one fifth of a goal per game.

    • i assume there was a miscommunication on wynder as the keeper sees more of the field and can tell him let it go. but what you’re confused about is in a loud crowd filled situation it’s hard to hear and you get kind of tunnel vision. you need someone telling you stuff. i personally don’t get why it was a slide but i think that underlines he was panicked when he didn’t need to be.

      • There was a lot of panic after the first goal. We’d settled somewhat after half but once put back under pressure …

    • pessimism is an exaggeration. i think a team that makes the U20 quarters over and over should be going deeper U20 now. i think a junior team that makes U20 quarters repeatedly should be doing better as a senior adult team. that’s common sense. if i am the best regional U20 team by far it’s odd if mexico and canada outplay us as adults. i am not pessimistic in the sense i think this should be the best team in the region and at least semi talent at world cup. i then think world cups are soccer games and not just a talent ranking. right scheme (like morocco) and you can go further than just talent said. i think 3rd in WCQ, 1 win in group, out round of 16, tepid stuff relative to talent. i think their system stunk. i think we got by on sheer effort. this bunch, 343 was nuts and they eventually paid for it. i think the coaching is holding it back. that is actually a compliment to the talent and concern about the fed and the leadership. get them schemes and coaching where this takes off. i am bored with beating up on minnows then losing to historical quality sides. c. 2000 we could beat some good teams. as late as 2014 cycle klinsi beat italy their place. i find the excuses for not even being that level gross. and they had a fraction what the pool has now, and a harder time getting into elite leagues. but maybe they were more hungry for NT success as that replaced elite pro squads not caring.

  3. Lots of people are talking about Uruguay’s defensive discipline and organization as if somehow their players are imbued with such by the Almighty himself. If the Uruguayans were disciplined and organized it is because they were COACHED that way. The powers that be in the USA only seem to value attractive attacking soccer but don’t really seem to care about what goes on in the back. This is a shame because soccer being a fluid game is hard to control from the bench but the two places that a coach can really make their mark is defensive shape and set pieces. It isn’t sexy but it is just as important as the attacking portion of the game because, as yesterday showed us painfully, it is far, far, far easier to gift an opponent a goal rather than earn one yourself.

    • to me the error is treating organized physical defense as at odds with technical offense. false dichotomy sold by the people who didn’t want bradley ball, just aesthetic cuteness. you watch the elite teams. their defenses are nasty. they then pass the ball to someone like messi who does the pretty stuff. division of labor.

      i think the confusion stems from teams like spain 2010 winning world cups are rare. they are usually tough two way squads like germany, italy, or argentina. france is no defensive slouch. and one can argue spain 2010 was like a developmental miracle even they can’t repeat. most teams playing cute tiki taka type ball finish runner up or worse. you play a world cup final the other team showing up are not schmucks who sit back and let you pass all day. nor can you take a bunch of risks and not pay for them.

      personally i think the snobs are badly confused. spain 2010 worked in a period when refs were handing out cards like confetti and you could pass it easier. soccer has headed more towards physical swarming defense again. you aren’t going to be handed endless time on the ball. japan or morocco or holland are gonna come take it away and counter. you are actually playing right into their wheelhouse. the game has moved on. join present day reality. better, get ahead of the future. spain 2010 is so past now it’s not funny.

  4. They give you the ball and dare you to do something with it.

    All of Uruguay’s national teams play this way and have done so for years.

    It would have been interesting to put 10 men behind the ball and make Uruguay come to us but this team is probably too young an inexperienced to mess around with that tactic.

    You can’t evaluate these guys as if they were the senior national team.

    • no, actually we every so often in the first few games would hit an early ball, from sitting back, on a diagonal to the wide forwards. but if you press you’re playing a high line and trying to win it way upfield and that outlet ball disappears as you’re up by the corner flag.

  5. Ill timed slide tackle outside of the 18 opened up the first goal. Poor decision and risk!
    Uruguay kept their defensive shape very well. Defended Cowell with numbers and pushed him wide and negated his speed and bulldozer runs. Also exposed is lack of playing his teammates into the play.
    Obviously Uruguay was on a mission to let the US have the ball and picked their spots to attack. Disciplined defensive shape limited US options around the 18 with little threats around the 6 yd box.
    I thought the US showed really well until they played an experienced physical skilled team.

    • it was poorly executed but more importantly i was always taught you don’t overcommit for either an open field header or a breakaway tackle unless you’re sure you get that ball, lest you hand over a breakaway with you in a physically awkward place to recover. some of that is the knack to pull it off but as you say some is smart risk assessment.

      i will say that on that play and the other goal che seemed to get beat for speed around the flank.

      i will also say that between that and wynder on both plays i am questioning the quality of defensive development by the USSF. backs who seem capable of island defending seem the exception and not the rule. we seem obsessed with producing a certain type of vulnerable attacking back without getting a luke shaw or ashley cole out of it.

      • i should qualify that slightly. the precise teaching was if you commit there – either jumping for a header or diving in on a tackle — you either get ball or man. ball is the sanitized for TV version. man is the dark arts version. if you make a sincere tackle and just mistime it’s usually a yellow.

  6. Coaching is what doomed this team. I see a troubling trend in Mens US Soccer. Every tournament, US men’s trans are getting totally out coached. Happened against the Netherlands, and now against Uruguay.

    • Kind of easy to say it’s the coach’s fault but if players make different plays throughout Varas looks like a genius. An early goal by the US dismantles Uruguay’s game plan and it’s a completely different match. Margins are so small in soccer that one play can make a coach look like a genius or a dud. Varas was always put behind the 8 ball with this group not having a true #9. Yapi has some promise but he hasn’t shown finishing prowess for US or Colorado. This team’s fate might have been sealed when Pepi scored against Honduras.

      • yapi couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. cowell at least has some use someplace on a field running slaloms. he just shouldn’t be the guy finishing the play,.

    • 343 or whatever we were playing struck me as fairly naive. i think people who grew up playing offense like the aggression. i think people like me who also played some defense are like are you nuts. we were giving up odd-man jailbreaks from even the easy teams we beat, they just weren’t converting. we had a fairly easy schedule to this point. we just finally played a good team. it’s not unlike berhalter at qatar finally meeting a team happy to expose our desire to pass through the center MF and wingback aggression.

      i generally agree with you in the sense that i feel like our tactics are generally a drag as opposed to making it more than the sum of the parts. most NT or YNT are not out there to be foolishly aggressive or make an aesthetic point. the tactics are picked to win soccer games. i thought at qatar we should have won wales but punched ourselves out and took risks. i thought holland exposed us too. i thought the england game was a tentative effort between two teams content to tie rather than risk a loss being more aggressive. i thought iran was pure scrappy. playing hard and giving up your body for a goal, while a coachable ethos, is not sophisticated tactics. i never thought we were literally owning the opponent with some genius scouted strategy. and then with this U20 team i thought we were not as talented as the last worlds team, wasteful, but taking attacking risks a better team might get after.

      personally i want us off the “scheme train” for a while. pick some winning coaches who can adjust. get off the one-note missionaries who want to take over the whole program and impose their ideas. give me some coaches who have ideas specific to the personnel but are also capable of adjustments. we are obsessed with scheme but then not dominant through those tactics.

  7. We have qualified for the u-20 WC 17 times the same amount as Argentina and only Brazil has qualified for more at 19. In 17 tournaments we have made it to the semifinals 1 time in 1989. That’s not good enough if you ask me.

    • But I do want highlight that we were missing 3 players in P.Aaronson, Gutierrez, and Neal who would have made significant upgrades in midfield, attack and defense. Add to the fact I think Noel Buck would have been an upgrade at the 8 as well.

    • there is actually a second layer here. first, yes, we have stalled out at the quarters. i think a lot of that is defense. i didn’t like about half the defense last time they held worlds. this time the tactics were naive and against a good opponent the defense was again soft.

      but second, it’s not just we keep making the quarters, it’s we’re the dominant regional side for about 4 U20 cycles running, and yet do not own CONCACAF at the adult level or have top 8 global status. something is awry in your process when you own regional U20 but don’t convert it to adult dominance as well. or take a consistently top 8 world U20 team and make it a quarters regular at the world adult level. i don’t want to indulge the “we don’t have world class players” fanboy whiners too much, but i do think at the highest levels having specific impact players matters how far you go. like if we have some star sniper who creates and finishes that’s a 2-2 dogfight and not a 2-0 game where they ding us and we waste ours.

      along those lines i feel like there was a bait and switch with the new regime where we got pep-style keepaway passing instead of the promised virtuoso dribbling, ie, the ability to take teams on. bruce arena used to promote “get a goal or two then play keepaway” just the same. we just now play keepaway even before we score which can have the opposite effect. anyways, i thought when this tactical change was first being sold c. 2010 by fans upset with bradleyball, we were going to mold better individualistic players who could take people on and finish. we then just created another team machine that passes the ball too soon. what was dangerous though often misfiring for the U20s was players like cowell running at people. (he then can’t finish half the time).

      • “and yet do not own CONCACAF at the adult level”

        The USMNT does not own CONCACAF at the adult level?
        What makes you say that?

      • V: seriously? last cycle WCQ we missed out in 5th. this cycle we advanced WCQ on a tiebreak in 3rd behind canada who took 4 points from us, and mexico. did i stutter? we don’t own the region. WCQ is the closest thing we have to a “league” where you see how you stack.

        i think part of the confusion is fanboys who think winning a summer tournament means that much. i know GB wanted to dine out on 2021. it meant nothing in 2022. just like 2017 GC meant nothing for 2017 missing russia. i think if you look at the major regional events maybe 1 team — spain 2010 — won regional and world cup back to back. italy who won the euros went out to north macedonia in WCQ within no time flat.

        my two cents it has to do with the very sense of complacency we often display when we start to have any success, where victory in a summer tournament makes the team get risk averse and stale. meanwhile everyone else paints a target on your back and adjusts to your tactics.

        but anyhow, i think we have 1st place talent but 3rd place in WCQ. that’s the discrepancy i see and why i have been pushing for new coaching, some new players, and fresh ideas. i don’t think the scheme actually fits or optimizes the actual specific players in the pool. canada has less talent but no cuteness confusion what they are trying to be.

    • it’s worse. watch the replay. he whiffs the ill-considered slide and it ricochets in off his trail leg. i also don’t know if people noticed on goal 1 his man finishes the ball across after che whiffs his slide tackle. i was underwhelmed. neither of these guys. or neal when he played senior. not sound.

  8. Uruguay played excellent defense and had a good game plan. I was thinking about it and the US never has had much of an aerial threat in this tournament, So Uruguay really packed the middle, rarely sent central defenders forward and weren’t hurt by our crosses. Another thing is that Uruguay was a lot quicker than our previous opponents and the US was much too slow moving the ball , especially in the first half. They picked it up some in the second, but not enough. Too casual with the ball at times and often waited too long to make passes, allowing the opponents to close them down. Also, the US passing wasn’t as sharp as I have seen them before. Still, except for the own goal, the US would have been in it right till the end.

  9. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. We had total control until their first, and really only, counter, which led to their goal. I thought our transition D was so uncharacteristically lazy on that play, and we were punished. Uruguay was better in the second half, but we controlled play enough I still felt we were going to score and tie it up. So very unlucky on the second, pretty random sequence, hate it for Wynder. Is there anything in sports worse than an own goal? After that, Uruguay took more control of the game. But that said, Cowell’s shot from the top of the 18 was heading for the corner, GK beaten…and it deflects off Puskstas back on the goal line. Seriously? There was still 15 min left plus all the stoppage at that point. It just wasn’t our night.

    • Yeah what’s even more annoying about that blocked shot is that Pukštas is literally looking right at Cowell as Cowell shapes to shoot. He Should have hit the deck, and that shot goes in and who knows maybe we can get a second after that.

      But it was a case of Varas not getting the 11 right and misplays. Still don’t know why Wynder decided to slide for that ball he could have cleared it staying on his feet. But yeah feel for him.

    • miles and richards seem exceptions in recent years in their ability to island defend. the emphasis must be on offense because they don’t seem to have been drilled on stuff i was taught by U14 eg you don’t dive in on that che slide unless you win that ball. otherwise either take the man down or track back jockeying and play for time. che got beat for speed and maybe he didn’t trust his ability to hold the flank if he let the play continue. which itself would say something.

      • IV you know far more about defending than I do, but it felt to me it was a lot of not being used to the level of competition. Wynder looked poor against Ecuador and Uruguay, when he played slower less skilled teams he looked fine (not unlike Keita in 2019). Playing only in USL he faces offensive players that have muscular strength but not many with a lot of pace. Che played half a seasons in MLS but then has mostly been in German 4th Div. Leading up to the tourney Che had played 141 mins since Dec 9 because of injury so I think rust might have been a factor. U20 is an interesting age as most go on to become average pros, a few retire within two or three years, and 3-5 make it to the NT level. Some guys just never adjust once everyone is as strong and fast as they are. I think Wydner has a long road at Benfica to make the first team and Che likely is going to need some time at Dallas before going back to Europe or he’ll join a club’s loan army. It’s easy to forget how meteoric Richards rise was, 10 day trial to playing for the first team in preseason in a month and a half. Richards only played U19s leading to the WC but had played the U19 CL against some good teams.

      • i could see richards was one bad dude from U20s. y’all took the time to catch up, ironically because bayern took it slow with him. the US fetish for analytics of late hurts the guys like richards and weah who are better players in higher demand signed at elite teams who take later to break in first team and put up the stats we fetishize. to me plain old scouting would see what they offer. just like i could see from dortmund age groups reyna could play.

        in terms of your defense of wynder, IMO there is a “type” some coaches like, technical, almost like a mid in skill, but slow as molasses. brooks is another of the type. fans who adore skill love them. but they can only perform in highly controlled circumstances against weaker or slower opponents who either whack random balls in, or are willing to play the ball in front of the defense. faster or better teams are going to get after a defender who can’t run. i want boca or pope or miles — athletes — any day over trying to hide some slow technician in the back and hope no one sees it for what it is. mobile strong island defenders can handle anything. slowpokes need a specific opponent. i want the guy whose value doesn’t depend on the day.

        if you have to bring technique in it, identify all the island defenders then see if one is a better distributor or crosser. for some reason the US of late works the opposite. the find the passer. they then hope they play enough defense. that is inherently vulnerable.

    • I may be harsh but pukatas was completely oblivious to the Cowell strike. He just stood there and basically blocked a goal. Had he been moving or more aware I believe he can avoid being struck…that ball was going in. Credit to Uruguay a very composed D and more technical team than the US. Hurt that we had played weak competition until that game. Other than Ecuador nobody offered a real test.
      As someone else noted earlier, no aerial game whatsoever in fact, US set pieces from the senior team all the way down really have been lacking over the last half dozen years. Used to be our bread and butter. It’s something our coaches need to put more emphasis on whether training or in practice

  10. Watched the game. It was a case more of dooming ourselves. And Uruguay taking a more counterattacking approach. Which Uruguay really only had one good counterattack.

    Questions should be asked about Varas starting 11. The fact you opted to save two spots for Paredes and Pukstas for the knock out rounds and neither started the quarterfinal?

    A few players might have USMNT potential. Cowell the most likely within the next year to be a meaningful contributor.

    Luna and Wiley probably need a bit more seasoning as pros. Wiley in particular needs to add more to his defensive side and the ability to beat players 1v1. He is good but in transition. Luna just needs more pro games.

    I don’t see any of the three Union players becoming full fledged USMNT players. Mcglynn and Craig are snails and likely very good MLS pros. Sullivan is going to be a very good MLS pro.

    Wynder is still young but needs a bit more seasoning. Che needs more pro games period. Neither one of those guys are as good as Neal right now.

    Anyways back to the drawing board again for the next cycle.

    Slonina needs to go out on Loan next season.

    • Haven’t seen enough of Paredes and Pukstas. Paredes looks to have sauce to his game. Needs to physically fill out more. Has played LW, RW and CAM for Wolfsburg. Will be interesting to see what position he settles on at Wolfsburg.

      Pukstas was moved from RWB to CAM to Striker in this game. He projects as an 8 and has played mostly as an RM and CM for Hajduk Split.

    • Ball posession is so fantastic if you create scoring chances but if you don’t your a ‘Rope a dope’ victim. Poor coaching for sure. Out coached by someone that had far less resources.

      • Far less resources? Uruguay has been top 15 team in the world for the last 100 years. Almost all of their players have professional experience?

      • They give you the ball and dare you to do something with it.

        All of Uruguay’s national teams play this way and have done so for years.

        It would have been interesting to put 10 men behind the ball and make Uruguay come to us but this team is probably too young an inexperienced to mess around with that tactic.

        You can’t evaluate these guys as if they were the senior national team.

      • what is the goal scoring plan? like what is a typical progression? passing the ball around the perimeter is more of a clock-milk or sleep-induce tactic. it’s not a goal scoring strategy. to me we seem most effective either feeding players top of the D and shooting, or playing the ball in behind defenses. i don’t think the possession style is actually that snugly fitted to the way we could score goals. but then i thought GB’s version of this was try to pass the ball around the wings but it would dissolve into whacking crosses to 9s not chosen for target play. that’s not exactly pep either.

        if you want to play pep ball we need better passing technicians playing. if not drop the possession and play a style suited to getting behind opponents with athletes eg sit back and counter. or come up with a style where central attacking players get routinely fed to turn and shoot. the tactical carpet doesn’t match the drapes, and has been picked to satisfy snobs. who cares what fanboys or europe thinks? figure out some winning soccer.

        personally i think actual defenders are better at defensive soccer than possession with the offense. we seem to not get better teams aren’t going to let us pass all day, and will win the ball and get after us. if the “defense” was really playing keepaway the good teams will then get after the weak defenders the possession was trying to hide. it’s either that or you need to come up with the more technical player capable of creating and finishing tiki taka ball, which i thought was a fed goal but we still don’t seem to have in abundance. i mean the one dribble fiend we have, reyna, can’t consistently be started.

      • Mr Voice

        “i mean the one dribble fiend we have, reyna, can’t consistently be started.”

        Pulisic is a “dribble fiend”

      • sorry, i think reyna is a better dribbler. i have seen him take people on to some conclusion. i think pulisic wants to dribble but watch the games and he tries to dribble the whole team on a wing and loses it.

        i think it would help them both if we quit constantly gathering 2-3 guys out wide passing back and forth drawing opposing defenders like flies. you leave reyna or pulisic iso they have their defender and can risk a double we can exploit. you constantly send a wingback or others up with them, you have drawn 3 defenders to poke at the ball even if he’s not their man specifically. pick and choose the overlaps. give the stars the room to operate.

        maybe it’s i thought pulisic was better years ago. i kind of thought weah surpassed him this cycle and to me that’s pure gas speed. people want pulisic to go sign someplace huge. i want him to play someplace he starts every week and has to actually put up numbers and carry a team.

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