Archive for the ‘US U-20’ Category

Rongen Out As U-20 Skipper: Ramos Tabbed For Now

Rongen, out....

Update 05/05: News today that Thomas Rongen is now out as head coach of the US U-20 team, ending a rocky near 10-year tenure, according to Fox Soccer’s Ives Galarcep.

A March and April CONCACAF series where the US failed qualify for the U-20 World Cup seeming to be the niggling impetus for a change.

US Soccer player luminary Tab Ramos will assume the manager’s duties temporarily for the team’s sojourn to France scheduled for

The move by US Soccer would seem to corroborate their steadfast public message that it’s the results that matter most over player or style development.

Below, commentary from April.

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This is a guest post by Ryan Rosenblatt

Gyau, cause for optimism...

The United States U-20 team were beaten 2-1 by Guatemala, ending their hopes of qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup? Awful, no? Not so much. When the match ended, factions of U.S. fans reacted by labeling the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup being called disastrous or a step back.

The U.S. used to need the U-20 World Cup and other big youth tournaments because it was a chance for clubs to get a look at young Americans and sign them.

2011 is another story, the squad is made up of almost all professional players already and the one non-professional to start, UCLA’s Kelyn Rowe, has interest from clubs abroad and is projected to be a top pick in the next MLS Draft if he signs with the league. These U.S. players don’t need to be “discovered” like past Americans.

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US U-20’s Golfing This Summer

First, two points:

Amobi Okugo had a big task in the middle tonight..

1) I don’t have enough observations of the U-20 team to comment on tonight’s affair in depth like with the senior team. So help out.

2) If it wasn’t for ESPN3.com–a fantastic product–I never would have seen this game.

The U.S. U-20 men’s national fell to Guatemala tonight in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship campaign. The loss means no World Cup this summer for the team.

Guatemala jumped ahead in a 1st half largely controlled by the States. After threatening on many chances in the 2nd, Conor Doyle was played in and sand wedged a composed chip over the keeper to level things.

No sooner had the US scored than the home side edged forward again. Miscommunication and slow reaction were to blame as Henry Lopez gathered an over-the-top ball–something the US struggled with all game–tangoed past a befuddled Gale Agbossomunde and slotted the ball past a deer-in-headlights pose from keeper Zac MacMath.

As the hype crescendo this week–with goal celebration video wafting through YouTube–the team failed to deliver on the pitch.

The talent appeared to be there, but for the second tourney, Thomas Rongen’s on-field prowess couldn’t match his recruitment record off it. The U-20’s played a very rushed brand of soccer. It’s one thing to play fast; the U-20’s were rushed. However, this isn’t the senior side either.

Now….the team has plenty of time to slow down.

Rongen Calls Agudelo, Zahavi, More Into U20

Thomas Rongen made it official today, calling in 18 of the 20 players that will participate in the Torneo de las Americas in Kennesaw, Ga., from Nov. 21-29.

The best US goalie prospect you likely haven't heard about plays at Ipswich Town under....the one...the only Roy Keane.

The U.S. will face Colombia on Nov. 26 and Mexico on Nov. 28 in the three-team round robin tournament held at the Kennesaw State Soccer Stadium.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town; Athens, Ga.), Eduardo Fernandez (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.)
DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (G.D. Estoril Praia; Syracuse, N.Y.), Bryan De La Fuente (Chivas USA; Bell, Calif.), Greg Garza (G.D. Estoril Praia; Grapevine, Texas), Korey Veeder (Crystal Palace Baltimore; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Parker Walsh (Karlsruher SC; Roanoke, Va.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United; San Francisco, Calif.), Alex Molano (NK Dinamo Zagreb; Grapevine, Texas), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Moises Orozco (Tigres; Oxnard, Calif.), Conor Shanosky (D.C. United, Sterling, Va.), Alex Zahavi (Maccabi Haifa F.C.; Lisbon, Portugal), Cesar Zamora (Chivas USA; Sylmar, Calif.)

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.Y.), Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles Galaxy; Van Nuys, Calif.), Fuad Ibrahim (Toronto FC; Richfield, Minn.), Omar Salgado (Unattached; El Paso, Texas

What You Missed At The Milk Cup

This is a guest post by Brian Mechanick

In a thoroughly dominating performance Friday, the U.S. U-20 National Team won the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. After wins over China and Denmark got them to the final, the U.S. had to face the home nation for the right to lift the trophy.

Friend of TSG 723 Football Films has the highlights:

Thoughts on the U-20’s, and their performance in the Milk Cup as a whole:

Okugo

•            Let’s start on those not in Northern Ireland, before we get to those on the field. A couple of MLS regulars were notable absences: Tristan Bowen, Jack McInerney, and Amobi Okugo. Of the trio, keep an eye out for Okugo to challenge for a senior holding midfielder in the future.  Also to watch are two midfielders, West Ham’s Sebastian Lletget, who was recovering from Mono and Alexander Zahavi, who is rehabbing a leg injury.

Top goalie or Facebook CEO?

•            Maryland’s Zak MacMath was a star at goalkeeping throughout the tournament, and the world has taken notice. ESPN’s Brent Latham has reported the USA star is staying across the Atlantic to train with Tim Howard’s own Everton. Don’t expect a contract, but this kind of hype could earn MacMath a contract with a European club or make him a high draft pick, perhaps as high as his Maryland predecessor Chris Seitz (drafted #4 by RSL in ’07).

•            MacMath’s understudy in the tournament is Porto’s Samir Badr, who looked up and down in his start versus Denmark. The Egyptian-American showed some fantastic shot stopping and athleticism, but was indecisive on crossed balls.

•            Captain and most famed player of this U-20 squad, Gale Agbossoumonde looked the part of a future USMNT member. He controlled the game in the air, showed the strength and agility to stop attacks, and even had the skill on ball to open the USA’s scoring in the final. Expect “Boss” to lead this team throughout this U-20 cycle.

The "Boss" of the backline...

•            Akron is the soccer powerhouse that has produced Steve Zakuani, Blair Gavin, and Teal Bunbury in recent years, and they are keeping the pipeline flowing with two more fantastic defenders. Zarek Valentin shined at right back today, providing intent going forward and a lovely ball to boot. Valentin provides a needed utility of being just as comfortable at right back as center back. His fellow Zip Perry Kitchen showed himself well pairing with Agbossoumonde, playing the smaller half with confidence.

•            Greg Garza was what US fans always dreamed of today: a true left back.  The Sporting Lisbon defender played deeper today, but he showed a nice cross and talents in locking down the Northern Irish’s right wing. TSG fave and utility fullback Eric Lichaj not withstanding, Garza looks the best young left back around these days.

•            Alex Molano looked confident in central midfield, but his free kicks were the hallmark of his play, delivering perfectly aimed crosses into the box. His free kicks on goals left something to be desired, but it’s interesting to see the Dinamo Zagreb player bring a unique skill-set to the table.

Agudelo is going to learn from the best...

•            The MVP in the final for the U.S. was NYRB’s own Juan Agudelo. Confident on the ball with some fancy footwork and cutting speed, Agudelo looked a dynamic and powerful force down the right wing. He has no better player to learn from now than Thierry Henry, so let’s hope the Colombian-American does well to learn from one of the best attackers of his generation.

•            Omar Salgado is a raw talent, emphasis on the raw. At 6’4” he can win those vital balls in the air to score goals, but on-ball he is a half step slow. His upside is Edin Džeko, but he could become just another stiff if not careful (although I’d hedge a bet on him becoming a center back if he can’t cut it at forward). His Generation Adidas contract is a good start to starting to harness his talents, as the youth development is getting better and better in MLS. Hopefully he can get loaned out for the rest of this year for further seasoning, and then get drafted by a MLS team that helps him grow his talents.

•            Adrian Ruelas came out of obscurity into the U.S. team, but the Santos player looked a ball-hawking forward this tournament. Leading the team with three goals, Ruelas combined his tall frame with strength and technical ability. With so many American forwards lacking that scorer’s mentality, Ruelas’ finishing is a breath of fresh air.

Brek Shea to Fulham? Not Buying It

Shea to the Cottagers: We're not buying it

Shea to the Cottagers: We're not buying it

Oh, come now.

Fresh off the highly uneven and underwhelming performance of the US U-20 team in their World Cup, the rumor pushing UK rag The Sun is broadcasting that Fulham are after FC Dallas’s Brek Shea.

As we commented in some of our review on the U-20 team, we were highly unimpressed with Brek Shea in the lead striker role for the U-20 team.

If Fulham wants to sniff around another U.S. striker to complement Eddie Johnson, how about taking a flyer on Conor Casey or even throwing a tryout to 6’2” Indian Hoosier beanpole Will Bruin.

The Volatility Streak Continues for U-20

I’m going to preface this post by commenting that I don’t have enough history to truly evaluate the players and coach of the USMNT U-20.

I’m going to keep my commentary brief and ask for more for your thoughts.

More volatility than Wall St.

More volatility than Wall St.

So now I’ve watched all three US U-20 games. 0-3, 4-1, 0-3. Wow, more highs and lows than a U.S. team in Confed Cup play. Thanks, I have a show at 11pm as well.

Today’s match was frustrating, mostly for fans, but not unexpected if you saw the other two games of the group stage. You just don’t know what to expect from US team. This is not an insult, but Yanks-Abroad’s and ESPN writer Brett Latham, who follows the team religiously it appears, predicted a win over Germany and today’s opponent South Korea, while questioning the U.S. going into the Cameroon game.

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