Monday Morning Centerback: On the US Under-20s, SBI’s MLS MVP vote and more

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It was an ugly loss, but one you came away feeling didn't have to happen.

The U.S. Under-20 national team's 3-0 loss to Germany was never really competitive, at least in the sense that the Americans never did look like a team capable of threatening. The Germans were organized and efficient, but hardly a team who looked intent on dominating. No, it was the United States which helped Germany post such a resounding result, with its combination of defensive lapses, unforced turnovers and lack of organization.

While you can always blame the struggles of a youth team, at least in part, on jitters or even just a bad game, but Saturday's match stood out because of head coach Thomas Rongen's decision to employ a 4-3-3 formation and bench several U-20 regulars in favor of some untested players.

Brian Ownby and Dillon Powers hadn't been regulars on the U-20 side, and neither was a starter in the qualifying tournament, but both earned starts vs. Germany and each played a part in the loss getting out of hand.

It was Ownby who was beaten on a run from midfield, only to compound the error by committing a foul with a clumsy tackle in the penalty area. And it was Powers who lost his mark on a corner kick, thus giving German captain Florian Jungwirth a clear look to bury Germany's third goal.

It is easy to blame Ownby and Powers for their mistakes, but they were simply two young and inexperienced players thrust onto an international stage against a tough opponent. The blame should fall to Rongen, who passed on players such as Dilly Duka, Bryan Arguez and Peri Marosevic in favor of players he decided were in better form.

Yes, injuries played a part in Rongen's decisions, and a reason why Chivas USA's Gerson Mayen went from not even on the team to starting at right back, but the struggles of the defense were attributable, at least in part, to the struggles of a midfield Rongen constructed.

It shouldn't be assumed that a different U.S. lineup beats Germany, and Rongen knows more than most about the form and fitness of his players, but when a coach plays new players over more established players in a major tournament, and his team loses, blame will follow.

Perhaps it wouldn't have mattered what American midfield played on Saturday, the Germans are a strong team even without the handful of stars it was unable to field for the Under-20 World Cup, but while a loss may have been inevitable, a 3-0 loss dents the U.S. chances of being one of the third-place teams to progress to the knockout rounds.

This team can't really think that far ahead. A match against a tough Cameroon team awaits on Tuesday, and Rongen will be left with little choice but to play the players that got the team to Egypt, because the players he thought were on top form clearly aren't.


Some more thoughts on USA-Germany:

The third goal started on a counterattack but if you want to place specific blame you can point to Gale Agbossoumonde, who floated back during the counter and found no man to mark. While that, in itself, isn't a crime, he wound up dropping back far enough to keep Manuel Schaeffler on-side as he made a run from the far flank. The initial replay made it look as though Schaeffler was Ike Opara's responsibility, but further inspection shows that Opara was marking Richard Sukuta-Pasowhen Schaeffler came streaking in from behind for Germany's third goal.

Mikkel Diskerud is skillful and has good ideas, but he needs to be partnered in central midfield with players who can do the heavy lifting and win the possession battle. A central midfield trio of Diskerud, Arguez and Duka to go with Jared Jeffrey would have been a better bet against Germany and is a group we should see vs. Cameroon.

Other bright spots? Jared Jeffrey and Tony Taylor showed glimpses, as did Brek Shea, who was extremely active, even if he did get caught up in trying to beat double-teams at times.

Causes for concern? I'm not convinced Agbossoumonde is a centerback. He's a much more capable fullback. If Kyle Daviesis healthy, he should probably get the nod in central defense alongside Opara, who I thought did well despite some questionable foul calls against him early on.


On to MLS, where Shalrie Josephhas all but locked up SBI's vote for MLS MVP. Yes, there are players who have scored more goals and delivered more assists, but this year Joseph has had a season where his MVP candidacy must finally be taken seriously.

Earlier in the season, when injuries had ravaged New England's forward crop, Joseph stepped in and played forward, scoring goals and setting up teammates. Since moving back into central midfield, Joseph has returned to his dominating self, but he has continued to find the net. He scored game-winning goals against Seattle twice in a five-month span and has also kept the assists coming. After his two-goal effort in New England's 2-1 comeback win vs. Seattle, Joseph now has eight goals and eight assists.

If you want to know how important Joseph is to New England, consider this. The Revs have lost just one match since he returned from a knee injury in mid-July in matches where Joseph plays more than 25 minutes (6-1-2). The two matches missing from that equation were a loss to KC (where he received a highly-questionable red card early in the first half) and to Chivas USA (with Joseph serving his suspension.

There are plenty of candidates for MVP, including Omar Cummings, Stuart Holden, Dwayne DeRosario, Fredy Montero, Zach Thornton and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, but right now our vote goes to Joseph, who is a candidate every year but has made perhaps his strongest case this season.


San Jose's 2-1 victory against D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Sunday snapped a 20-match regular season road win-less streak. The Earthquakes hadn't won on the road in 477 days. That is the second longest such streak. The longest? The Red Bulls' current 25-match regular season road win-less streak. The Red Bulls travel to San Jose this weekend.


What did you think of the U.S. Under-20 team's performance on Saturday? Think some lineup changes can help the Americans beat Cameroon? Agree with our pick of Shalrie Joseph for MVP? Think the Red Bulls will win a road game this year?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes, Monday Morning Centerback, U.S. Youth National Teams, Under-20 World Cup. Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Monday Morning Centerback: On the US Under-20s, SBI’s MLS MVP vote and more

  1. TFC OZZ - Disgruntled TFC fan says:

    Honestly, I’m gonna have to throw my vote in for Dwayne De Rosario as MVP. He’s single-handedly picked TFC up on his back and dragged them into the playoff race this year. He’s been exceptional.

  2. brett says:

    the U20s were unable to string together successful passes. that was the biggest cause of the loss.

    i suspect the U20’s will show better in up coming matches, but that was a game we should have performed better. disappointing with some glimpses of quality

  3. nate says:

    Wrongen strikes again.

    We had top 4 talent at the 2007 U20 and went out with a wimper after beating Brazil. Dude sucks the life out of our youngsters.

  4. cammiev says:

    Thank you for recognizing Shalrie’s importance to the Revolution. If we make the playoffs, he’ll be the reason, not just for the goals, but for his work in midfield.

  5. green says:

    Like I posted in the game day post, there’s no shame in losing to Germany.

    We were lucky it wasn’t 3-0 BEFORE the PK was given.

    If you can’t see the difference between Germany’s youth program and ours, well that’s your opinion. To say that we somehow “helped Germany post such a resounding result” is well, comical to be honest. We were never going to win this game.

    From the top down, that program blows ours away, and it showed on the field. No excuses please. Let’s be honest here, we were outclassed.

    (SBI-Nobody said Germany wasn’t good Andrew, and NOBODY tried to say the USA youth system is on par with Germanys (don’t you love when people invent things?) but the point was that on that day and in that particualr match, the Americans did the Germans work for them with silly decisions and unforced turnovers. Not saying USA wins under any circumstances, but the scoreline on that day, at least with respect to the three goals scored, were as much a product of American blunders as German dominance.)

  6. rory says:

    I like the fire with which Mikkel Diskerud plays. Unfortunately he is still supposed to be up in the air over which team he will play for at the adult level (US or Norway). We will pobably have until the Euro qualifiers two years from now to lock him up before Norway gives him an invite to a meaningful full national team contest (IF Norway squeezes into a playoff spot for the WC from Europe he will not be there). The US got real lucky that Norway was in the smallest group of UEFA qualifying for the WC, as this way they wound up with two less games–had they already been eliminated with two games to go you could see Norway locking him up for the future, thankfully that didn’t happen.

  7. rory says:

    Ives, do you feel a team has to make the playoffs for their best player to have a shot at being MVP? Just curious.

    (SBI-Not necessarily, but if two players are close, the one who has his team in the playoffs will get the edge. Someone racking up goals when their team is already out of the race probably won’t get my vote over someone who has been leading his team to victories throughout the season.)

  8. Lawrence says:

    Rongen… just as soon as I start to take him seriously.

  9. Jake says:

    Yes, bad teams on bad streaks you are welcome.

    – signed washington DC sports teams.

  10. Aquaman says:


    I was wondering if you think that this game goes to show anything about the quality of college vs. pro players (even if it is just riding the bench for MLS teams)?

    (SBI-I think way too many people are trying to make one match in a youth tournament mean way too many things. Once the tournament is over, and we have three games to look at as a sample size, then I believe much more can be discerned from this tournament. One game, against a tough opponent, isn’t enough of a sample to really analyze.)

  11. CapeCodFutbol says:

    I hope that the U-20s turn it around, because their performance Saturday morning was enough to turn my stomach.

    GBS for MVP.

  12. whatagame says:

    Regarding the U-20’s, who is in charge of organizing the backline? Two years ago and again this time around, we have guys who when they gain possession of the ball fail to seize the open space in front of them. Instead they make lateral passes to each other (under no pressure) until one of them elects to boot the ball forward – usually to the other team which is hanging back and begins a counter-attack. I was screaming at the TV – “take it forward! Draw some of their guys towards you to create some open spaces for the midfielders to run in but instead they just play “bootitforward” ball.

    Are these tactics they are told to follow or do they just lack imagination?

  13. Matt says:

    As a Crew fan I tend to campaign for GBS for MVP. He was the obvious choice last year, and there are very few players in the league more exciting with the ball at their feet. This year, however, the Crew have shown all season that they can win without him. Shalrie Joseph is the catalyst of the Revs and no player in the league this year has been more vital to the successes of their team.

  14. Ian says:

    Before I clicked the link, I was thinking “I bet he’s not thinking Shalrie,” but i’m glad you are. I’ve seen him kill my Sounders too many times. Without him, that team is on the outside looking in.

  15. julio says:

    It’s only one game, but I’m glad we have two games to get it right. Ives hit all the points on the head specially about putting an inexperienced team.

  16. Austin says:

    yea… wasnt a good performance but everybody needs to take it easy on the U-20’s….rongen is the one to blame in the end for starting players like powers and ownby….we still have two games left against no where near difficult as germany opponents, cameroon and korea…..its only one game, lets wait until after the 2nd game to really go up in arms about youth devlopment….especially when there are u-20’s like anthony wallace, sam and greg garza, freddy adu, jozy altidore, and vincenzo bernardo that were not called up showing that there is still alot of skill in our future

  17. green says:

    Let’s see. . . who exactly is our experienced squad?

    This. . .

    Manchester Utd. (ENG)

    Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)

    Borussia Dortmund (GER)

    Munich 1860 (GER)

    Bayer Leverkusen (GER)

    Werder Bremen (GER)

    Ahlen (GER)

    Schalke 04 (GER)

    Hamburger SV (GER)

    Bayern Munich (GER)

    Greuther Fuerth (GER)

    Kayserispor (TUR)

    Bursaspor (TUR)

    VfB Stuttgart (GER)

    Hamburger SV (GER)

    Arminia Bielefeld (GER)

    or this

    Central Florida (USA)

    Miami FC (USA)

    Univ. Notre Dame (USA)

    no club affiliation (UNK)

    Houston Dynamo (USA)

    FC Dallas (USA)

    Miami FC (USA)

    Club Brugge (BEL)

    Univ. Rutgers (USA)

    Stabaek (NOR)

    UCLA (USA)

    Chivas USA (USA)

    Univ. Virginia (USA)

    Wake Forest (USA)

    Hertha Berlin (GER)

    So when I said I’m watching Pros vs. Joes I wasn’t kidding.

    Yeah, we should of put our experienced team in. Oh, wait.

    (SBI-Andrew, why are you trying to argue a point nobody is arguing against? My point, and I think most folks can figure it out, is that if the USA was going to give Germany a test, it probably should have done so with the players who actually got the USA into this tournament. I’m not sure how that’s far-fetched to say, unless you think Germany was untouchable on Saturday and played amazing soccer (which apparently you do).

    And since you felt compelled to provide club lists to make a point nobody was arguing, how about you go find the affiliations for the Brazil and USA teams in the 2007 Under-20 World Cup when the USA beat Brazil.)

  18. mike says:


    that must be what the kids learn at the U.S. Soccer academy because they do it at every level of U.S. Soccer. they have no clue that defenders must be able to play out of trouble and get the attack started. instead, we love clumsy oafs who are good at heading the ball, keeping a strait back line and fouling.

    does it even matter who the U.S. manager is? USSF must just have one CPU they use for every manager in the system. when Bob Bradley isn’t using it they take the chip out of his brain and plug it into Rongen’s.

  19. afrim says:

    as a RBNY fan i’d say Joseph deserves it most as well. the guy is hands down the best midfielder in the league. he owns the middle of the park.

    its shocking how he’s not in europe already

  20. nels says:

    in that picture the angle is lined up just right so that the player the picture is focusing on looks like a woman with his long hair.

  21. PetedeLA says:

    I second the voting for Shalrie Joseph. I’ve only watched 3 or 4 New England games this year and each time he just sticks out. Of course, I have to ask myself… “What the heck is he doing in this league?” GBS has great moments, Beckham has good games, DeRo is certainly impressive, but no one dominates games the way Shalrie Joseph does. It’s like he gives the Revs an extra man advantage.

  22. Eric K says:

    Well it depends how you define ‘MVP’ – is it the player of the year (best player), or the player whose individual performances mean the most, and make the most difference, to their team. I think the best player is probably Schelotto; but no one has meant more to their team this season than Shalrie has. Yet again the Revs have been battling injuries this year. We knew Shalrie was outstanding before this, and how influential in the game he was, but this year he’s had to step up even further and take the team on his back to keep them in the fight. I didn’t think it was possible but this year has made me admire his game even more. It still amazes me that no teams from abroad have made a real offer for his services over the years (besides that derisory offer by Celtic). Look at those SuperLiga games last year – those Mexican teams, including Pachuca, could not get through Shalrie and gave up going through the middle of the field entirely for the rest of the game.

  23. green says:


    Pounding fists?

    OK dude.

    My point was, we aren’t really experienced, so how could we expect to match up to a truly experienced team? Again, no shame in losing to Germany.

    We shouldn’t, however, start thinking that if the team that got us here played (playing against who exactly?) it would have fared any different.

    That’s it.

    (SBI-See, this is a much more reasonably’worded argument. But again, nobody is saying that the team would have definitely done better, but at least we would have had a better sense of how the team’s stack up. You’re whole “it wouldn’t have mattered because germany would have dominated regardless” attitude is a bit much. That’s all I’m saying Andrew, which is why I had to bust your chops a bit.)

  24. brant says:

    Chad Marshall for MVP! :)

  25. David says:

    Red Bull break the streak this weekend. Count on it.

  26. Steve C. says:

    Nigeria doing everything except put the ball in the net vs. Spain.

    Why can’t ESPN360 put the score and/or time on the screen?! Would that be too much to ask? Watching this match, but I don’t know how much time has gone by until the commentator randomly announces the score and time.

  27. DJ Barnett says:

    I think Andrew should win the MVP award for the most times he has pissed off Ives. I am not a huge U20 follower so I am not speaking from great wisdom here but when I saw the lineups on Saturday even I noticed that Rongen left out some of the more “star” players from the squad. HOpe he fixes that by Tuesday!!!!

    (SBI-Who’s pissed?)

  28. JP says:

    Youth soccer development is a very complex topic. Our backline was unable to handle the ball and use the midfielders appropriately to create plays.

    We looked nervous, partially for playing Germany, partially for being the first match of a World Cup. It’s hard to play good soccer when your players don’t feel comfortable on the ball.

    Germany is a good team who has a way of making mediocre players look worse. We had no chance on this one. Let’s see how the boys react for the game against Cameroon.

  29. davidaubudavid says:

    I think the u-20 world cup is more of a learning experience for the younger players, and while it would be nice to win I don’t see why we cannot play less experienced players at times. There is only one way to get experience and only one way for the coach to truly see how in form certain players are.

    I also think it is quite hypocritical for any person on here who believes that those inexperienced kids shouldn’t have started, but want holden in important games for the u.s. You just never know till you try so i am not going to blame the coach on this one. Especially when mistakes like those are fairly common place at every level, except maybe that one kid keeping the german player onside that was ridiculous.

  30. Frank says:

    Green: “Let’s see. . . who exactly is our experienced squad?”

    You are assuming that because the German players are on better known teams, they are more experienced? Can you please provide the number of competitive matches for each squad?

  31. green says:

    Were the first two posts really that unreasonable and argumentative?

    (SBI-There was definitely some smugness about them. You definitely missed the point of some of my comments, which is why I pointed out the things I pointed out. You went a bit overboard in proving to nobody in particular that Germany has more talent than the USA.)

  32. RK says:

    Nigeria are a quality side — they would destroy the US I bet.

  33. Tony says:

    Green, you sound like an arrogant jerk to be honest. We all saw Germany beat us, but I can’t say I was all that impressed with them. I personally think that a US team with a healthy Anthony Wallace and Sheanon Williams, and Duka and ARguez instead of Powers and Ownby, has a much better game. Heck, Germany didn’t even do much for the first 30 minutes of the second half. You act like they destroyed us with amazing soccer.

  34. green says:

    “You are assuming that because the German players are on better known teams, they are more experienced?”

    Yes. Who would you rather have developing your future national team? Example A or B.

    If you think otherwise, no worries, that’s your opinion.

    “Can you please provide the number of competitive matches for each squad?”

    Why? That isn’t my point about development. It’s about quality not quantity. Knock yourself out though, I’d love to see those numbers as well. Just remember, they’re playing against other high level clubs, not Rutgers.

  35. Austin says:

    i agree frank……but also if you look st it we didnt even call up the best squad to the cup and didnt start the best on top of that……i said this statemet earlier,

    “u-20’s like anthony wallace, sam and greg garza, freddy adu, jozy altidore, and vincenzo bernardo that were not called up showing that there is still alot of skill in our future”

    he didnt start arguez, marosevic, duka, and williams and put gerson mayen and kyle davies in the wrong positions

    rongen has always had a careeer of odd decisions, im 17 and he comes and trains my college showcase team in Florida every now and then(coerver coaching), if i didnt know anything about the U-20’s or rongen i would have never thought he would be the US u-20’s coach….hes nothing special and quite frankly bro he dont deserve it, dont tell him i said that lol….ive had way better training from the brits over from west brom

  36. Felix says:

    I’m not a fan of the knee-jerk “fire the coach” mantra that is normally shouted after a US (senior or youth) loss.

    However, I agree that alot of the blame on this recent loss by the U-20s is largely Rongen’s fault. His headstrong decision to bring amateurs over professionals is questionable at best. Even the pros he did bring was more because of injuries. I understand that we are somewhat at a disadvantage because of the burgeoning youth setup here in the US, but this should still be a squad of pros sprinkled with exceptional college players, not the other way around.

    Also, I will always blame Rongen for the Subotic fiasco.

    The only bright spot that can be taken is that this will force US Soccer to fire Rongen.

  37. bryan says:

    DC got booed pretty good after the game yesterday.

  38. Austin says:

    btw, totally agree with ives

  39. Austin says:

    actually dont know about joseph as MVP, but….u-20’s spot on

    my MVP is brad davis……hey i mean u picked joseph

  40. WK says:

    i’m a little pissed. a 4-3-3?! when was the last time we played a 4-3-3 in a competitive match with this team? just because they trained with it for two weeks doesn’t mean it’ll work against top flight competition in a big tournament. what did we employ when we played egypt recently– i think mix scored a goal in a win? i don’t know why rongen continually shoots himself and our team in both feet. typical over-mgmt; its important to get points in the first game of a group stage, so just put our best players on the field. make subs when you have to.

  41. gerald says:

    I have to agree with Tony, a healthy Williams, Wallace and Davies probably means a better scoreline

  42. WK, San Jose says:

    “Yes, bad teams on bad streaks you are welcome. – signed washington DC sports teams.” Posted by: Jake

    “Red Bull break the streak this weekend. Count on it.” Posted by: David

    @ Jake, Quakes are 3-2-2 since the allstar break- not a bad streak, though i can’t argue with the bad team part.

    @ David, well we’ll see won’t we? we owe you guys some payback.

  43. Austin says:

    danny cruz is another that could have been involved and help but rongen didnt put in the game

  44. Austin says:

    agree wit tony too

  45. Paul says:

    Wrongen. Agree or disagree with the opinion behind it, but that’s a clever one.

  46. Mike Caramba says:

    Thank you, Ives!

    Two years ago, I questioned Rongen’s managerial ability and was completely ripped apart. I was told, “This is the guy who beat Brazil and took us to the Quarters, and you want to replace him?”

    Rongen is rigid about the formation he plays. He preaches discipline and organization, and his teams rarely show either. His substitutions are often identical from game-to-game, regardless of varying circumstances. Furthermore, he doesn’t know how to use substitutions to swing the game in his team’s favor (unless you consider defender for defender in the 85th minute of a 1-1 knockout game a game-changing move). This guy is a joker. I like what I’ve seen and heard from Wilmer Cabrera so far. I think it’s time to find another like him to put in charge of the U-20s (or give him the promotion).

  47. michael wright says:


    – do u think stu is more of an mvp candidate than davis? Second I’m posting this from my bb storm. Does sbi take forever to load on your bb?

    (SBI-Probably not. Davis probably edges ahead after that performance against RSL. Not sure if either is in the Top three. As for SBI loading on my BB, I have a storm and it loads fine.

  48. d says:

    the U20s lost to Germany because they kept passing to the wrong team. they gotta work on that

  49. Skeeter says:

    Omar Cummings!

  50. nels says:

    i agree with Matt up there about Joseph for MVP over GBS, and im also a former columbus native-crew fan.

    goalie of the year tho belongs to one of my new adopted team though, donovan ricketts

  51. KCB says:


    Joseph for MVP might be deserving of it’s own post.

    The guy is a machine in the middle and New England’s record, as you point out, extremely favors the Revs when Joseph is on the pitch, no matter what position he is playing. I’d almost (almost) compare his importance to Messi for Barcelona. If Theirry/ibrahimovic goes down (aka Twellman) you still have the Messi Magic running the show and possession and goals will come. But without him, the whole dynamic of the midfield changes. Sharlie is that man for New England.

    Forget stats, Joseph’s importance to New England is what makes him an MVP.

    If stats decided who gets MVP, do we need to start talking about Jeff Cunningham for MVP?

  52. MVK says:

    I like Joseph for MVP, they guy is a complete player, I dislike his team quite a bit but its always to treat to see him play

  53. amanda says:

    “Yes, bad teams on bad streaks you are welcome. – signed washington DC sports teams.” Posted by: Jake

    “Red Bull break the streak this weekend. Count on it.” Posted by: David

    @ Jake, Quakes are 3-2-2 since the allstar break- not a bad streak, though i can’t argue with the bad team part.

    Posted by: WK, San Jose

    WK — you do realize that San Jose hadn’t won on the road for over a year, right?

  54. jig says:


    hahahaha, danny cruz? are you kidding me? have you ever seen him play? he’s a good athlete, but a shocking soccer player.

  55. Wolfgang Depner says:

    Can we give SBI a break, please? SBI’s assessment of the game against Germany was pretty spot on. Germany (which thanks to history has a head-start on developing youth players) did not dominate the game. If the US team had played a tighter game, they could have come away with a tie. This forum also has an unfortunate tendency to dramatize successes and failures beyond their actual magnitude. So please, some perspective would be appreciated.

  56. manutd13 says:

    We looked 2nd rate trying to qualify for the U20 WC in TnT. There’s very little creativity and efficiency to our game and it showed when we were trying to qualify. Cross after cross and hoping for set play. Other than that our success was more down to athleticism during that tournament than actual ability. How Ronegen stays in any capacity at the USSF amazes me.

  57. Leonardo says:

    Montero for MVP!

    12 Goals. 6 Assists. and he ain’t done yet!

    w/o him Seattle would have no finishing whatsoever. He is an executioner. just ask Josh Wicks. heh. He’s lethal from any part of the field (as Matt Reis just learned). No one can argue he has an incredible shot.

    And he’s just 22 years old.

  58. Joe B says:

    is bradley or gulati responsible for rongen??


  59. JP says:

    Incidentally, the CONCACAF Champion, Costa Rica, did not look to bad against he Brazilians.

    One could argue that when you get thumped 5-0, you’re terrible. However, if you watch that match (not just the highlights), you will see that Costa Rica had good ball movement and created several good scoring opportunities.

    The main difference is that Brazil knew how to put the game away with the chances it had.

    That is a sign of soccer maturity…

  60. David says:

    I’m glad that you’ve called out Rongen. The U-20s looked lost.

    And, I refuse to believe that those are the best U-20 players in the US. I’ve played against better teenagers in Mexican adult leagues in Phoenix.

  61. jig says:

    I love how US fans blame the coaches, or even more laughably the USSF, when they see a lack of creativity or the inability of our players to maintain possesion.

    Have you ever taken a step back and looked at the players that actually make up our roster? Let me do it for you. This current u-20 team is made up of college players (no surprise they can’t stand up to the pressure in a tournament where they are forced to play against pros), and other guys who either A.Ride the bench in MLS or B. Aren’t good enough to even touch the bench in Europe.

    Now, Rongen gets these guys for how many days out of the year? Why would you point the blame at him when its the players that clearly aren’t up to snuff?

    Who’s our best player? Jared Jeffrey? He’s made the bench for Club Brugge how many times? Once? Twice? And we are expected to play a team like Germany, with players who have all for the most part featured consistently in some type of first division European atmosphere? You can’t blame the coach for that.

    Who is to blame? Millions of other people besides Rongen and the USSF. The whole system is F****d. By the time Rongen gets these players at the u-20 level, they’re already ruined by the coaches at the u-8, u-9 and u-10 levels who place a much greater emphasis on results than technical development.

    Look. Bottom line, we suck. The whole country. Anyone who thinks we can consistently “out play”–not out run, out jump or out benchpress–the elite soccer nations is out of their gourd. Take the blinders off everyone, we haven’t ever had a legit generation of players in the 70+ years soccer has been around in this country, we still don’t have one, and judging by the comedy that was on show on Saturday, we won’t for at least the next 2-3 years, and that’s if we’re lucky and somehow a switch magically got flipped that we don’t know about. I’m not betting on it.

    In the meantime, just know that there are literally hundreds of reasons why we got beat down on Saturday. Rongen’s decision to start Brian Ownby is just one of them.

  62. green says:

    “Green, you sound like an arrogant jerk to be honest. We all saw Germany beat us, but I can’t say I was all that impressed with them. I personally think that a US team with a healthy Anthony Wallace and Sheanon Williams, and Duka and ARguez instead of Powers and Ownby, has a much better game. Heck, Germany didn’t even do much for the first 30 minutes of the second half. You act like they destroyed us with amazing soccer.”

    Awww, I’m so sorry, did I hurt your feelings?

    All I was getting at was no matter how you spin it, we were outclassed. It was a game that could have quite possibly been over after 20 minutes had the Germans finished their early chances. Whether you were impressed or not really doesn’t matter. If people want to think “what if so and so had played” and think it would have been different, ok, I understand. It’s a little naive to me to think such, but that’s their opinion.

    I’m also a little old school in that you don’t make excuses as for why you lost, it’s a little disrespectful to the other 11 guys across the field from you that were better for 90 minutes. How do you like it when we beat Mexico and they turn to the excuses instead of saying “congratulations, job well done?” I’ll say it, it bugs the (crap) out of me, so I don’t really take to that approach after a loss.

    Here’s to a rebound game against Cameroon.

    (SBI-It’s never been about making excuses, but about being rightfully perplexed by a coach who didn’t go with his proven players (whether you agree that they’re proven or not) and instead went with some novices who happened to be more fit. It’s not a “We would have won if these guys played” thing as much as a “Our coach gave us even less of a chance to win that we might have had with our established players” thing. Not sure why you can’t get that. You seem to be unable to tell the difference between people delusional enough to think the USA beats Germany with different players (of which I’ve seen none here) and people who are just upset at having fielded a team that included players who were questionable inclusions before the match and clearly awful inclusions after the match.)

  63. Austin says:

    joe b, rongen was there b4 bradley was even put in charge of us team

    jig, players under the age of 20 are minors and should not be bamboosled after only one loss when they didnt lose any in qualifying

    on top of that, your missing the point…..RONGEN DIDNT START THE RIGHT PLAYERS, thats why he is being blamed, he didnt start duka, marosevic, or arguez and started players like powers and ownby who dont deserve to even be on this squad ….we dont have wallace, sam and greg garza, freddy adu, vincenzo bernardo, and jozy altidore at this tournament so we dont have our best out there and we do not suck at bringing talent through the younger ages

    rongen was responsible for this loss, quarter final finish in 2007, freddy adu horrible form(i believe), and neven subotic switching nationalities… dont know what your talking about man

    P.S. cruz would have been WAY better than ownby

  64. Scott A says:

    Green, I think you’re grouping together two different things. People get annoyed and feel disrespected when a team draws attention to factors outside of the control of both team’s players and management staff (like ref decisions and field conditions). However, criticizing decisions of coaches or play of players’, and recognizing that if these things were different, the result might have been better, is not the same. It’s not saying that another team didn’t beat you if you point out what you did wrong. It’s just trying to improve

  65. Scott A says:

    And I wanted to write “as a reason for the loss” at the end of the second sentence

  66. Mike Caramba says:


    Not everything can be blamed on Rongen, but some things certainly can. He’s shown an obvious preference for college players over our kids training with professional clubs. Last U-20 World Cup, he subbed Dax McCarty around the 60th minute of (almost?) every game. Games with completely different circumstances, against very different opponents. He manages the game the same way most people manage FIFA or Football Manager. He has a pretty bad habit of waiting too long to make offensive substitutions when we’re losing, usually favoring position-for-position switches. Plus, let’s not forget his bad track record. With the exception of his first season wiht the Mutiny (when he was gifted one of the most talented teams in the league), he has bombed everywhere he’s gone. So what do we do with him? We put him in charge of our youth! I’m not suggesting changing out Rongen will fix all of our woes, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction (assuming we hire a competent replacement).

    One side point–which of Germany’s players are seeing first-team minutes at top-flight clubs?

  67. jig says:

    @ Mike Caramba,

    Sebastian Jung has featured several times for Eintracht Frankfurt so far this season, Patrick Funk has been a fixture with the Stuttgart reserves, Lars Bender has been fantastic for 1860 munich the past two seasons and earned a transfer to Leverkusen as a result, same goes for Sven Bender who is now with DOrtmund. Semih Aydilek has featured for Kayserispor in the Turkish Super Lig this year, Lewis Holtby scored 8 goals for Alemannia Aachen last season (8 goals! If an American scored that many for a second division German club people would be screaming for caps with the full team! Oh, wait. Kenny Cooper. Forgot.) and has subsequently been transferred to Schalke.

    As for your Dax McCarty point, I defy you to explain once instance when his entrance into one of the 2007 WC matches was inappropriate/misguided. If you don’t remember correctly, Dax was one of the smartest and most consistent players on that team and performed admirably not only in central midfield keeping the ball when we had the lead, but also filling in at left back when Wallace was sent off against Uruguay.

    I guess we will agree to disagree about Rongen, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume he has much more sense of who to sub and when to sub them than the average idiot sitting at home posting comments on Soccer By Ives, playing FIFA and eating potato chips. I’m not saying that’s you, necessarily. I sure hope it isn’t.

    As for our boy Austin who can’t quite put coherent thoughts on paper, let me respond to you. I would love to address your point on players under the age of 20 being minors and being bamboozled and such, but for the life of me I can’t quite understand what you’re getting at. Please clarify.

    While I agree that Powers and Ownby were certainly naive choices on the part of Rongen, let’s be honest with ourselves. We would have gotten pumped by Germany even if all those dudes were playing that you mentioned. Please stop mentioning Bernardo as he doesnt even have a club to play for and has never once provided any concrete evidence that he’s actually worth a damn on the field.

    Finally, Austin, to say Rongen was responsible for the loss against Germany is laughable. Not one person on this entire thread will agree with you that had Rongen not been coaching, we would have gotten something from the match.

    He was responsible for the US getting to the quarterfinals in 2007? The one where we beat Brazil when it actually meant something? That was good, right? I mean, whens the last time a mens national team has gotten to the quarterfinals of a major tournament. Please name them for me and then tell me you weren’t please with how those tournaments turned out.

    You blame Rongen for Freddy Adu’s horrible form? Again, gotta go back to the summer of ’07 when the Freddy Hype Machine started back up again in earnest. He killed it in that tournament. That’s literally the best he’s ever played. Who was the coach? Wait for it…yep, Rongen! And now he’s awful. How is that Rongen’s fault, again? Please explain.

    You blame him for Subotic switching “nationalities”? Do you mean national teams? True, perhaps his exclusion in the 2007 team contributed to Subotic’s decision to play for Serbia. But I would bet heavily that factors like actually being born there to parents who are from there had something to do with it as well. There’s also the fact that Serbia has a better national team than we do. Those things don’t matter to you, though. It’s all Rongen’s fault.

    As for the discussion of whether Danny Cruz has any sort of ability, can we please end it? He doesn’t. It’s literally impossible to develop proper technique if you start playing the game at the age Cruz did. He’s a wonderful athlete, but to think that he has any sort of national team future beyond the three games the US plays in this tournament is silly.

    Apologies for the long post. I’m not even a Rongen fan, necessarily. You just spouted some of the most ridiculous s**t i’ve ever read on this website (and believe me, this site is full of ridiculous s**t, top to bottom), I felt compelled to respond the way I did.

  68. Scott A says:

    jig, Mike Caramba used Dax McCarty–a professional–as an example of Rongen having a preference for college players over professionals. You seemed to think that he was saying that McCarty’s appearances in any form were unwarranted and that he’s not quality. I believe he was saying that he should have been starting instead of coming in as a substitute. Just clarifying

  69. cam000 says:

    Someone suggested Ownby and Powers don’t belong on the squad. If that is the case – who is in their place? As I recall (but couldn’t find match details) Ownby was man of the match in one of the lead up games/tournaments and tallied once or twice. He’s also been on the squad all along. Did he have his best game – probably not but, saying he or another guy doesn’t deserve a spot is at best harsh but most likely misinformed.

  70. Mike Caramba says:

    @jig – Your point about the Germans is well taken. I shouldn’t have even brought it up.

    But your response to my Dax argument shows you missed the point entirely. I’m not questioning Dax’s abilities. I’m not suggesting he played poorly in the tourney. I’m simply saying that if a coach makes the same sub repeatedly, regardless of the scoreline, opponent, the run of play, etc., it leads me to believe that he went into those games planning on making that sub. This means he’s not managing the game. Every coach has prefered subs, and I’m familiar with the concept of the super sub, but when these players enter and for whom they enter is largely dependent on circumstance (i.e. they aren’t entering in the 58-68th minute of every game).

    Even if you write this Dax thing off as a big coincidence (he just happened to be needed at the same time most games), that still leaves several points. I understand that college soccer is necessary in this country, but I have a hard time believing a kid starting for Maryland is better off than a kid training with a professional club in Europe. The fact that Rongen has insisted on running his 4-5-1 (erm…4-3-3, sorry) since he’s taken over the U20s leads me to believe he’s trying to fit players into his formation/tactics rather than molding his formation/tactics around the players he has available to him. He has a poor club track record. He rarely makes game-changing subs, but instead opts for position-for-position (with the obvious exception of way-too-late attacking subs when we’re losing).

    I understand what you’re saying, Jig–a lot of Rongen hatred is the product of unrealistic expectations–but I don’t think I fall into this category. I’m not upset because we lost 3-0 to Germany. I’m upset because no matter how poor the American youth are, it’s important that they’re trained and managed well in Bradenton/international competition. I think we could do far better than Rongen.

    “I’m gonna go ahead and assume he has much more sense of who to sub and when to sub them than the average idiot sitting at home posting comments on Soccer By Ives, playing FIFA and eating potato chips.”

    Was that really necessary? Despite your weak disclaimer at the end, it is still an unwarranted low blow. I think my points are coherent, reasonable, and valid, even if you disagree with them.

  71. Jeff says:


    can u shed some more light on the MLS MVP voting process? Who votes, what are the percentages, etc?

    Also I completely agree with your pick of Joseph…he is a player that has clearly never gotten the spotlight he probably truly deserves either in Europe or if he was eligible to represent the US — It would be a great feather for his cap…but what do you truly believe are the odds that he will win?

  72. madmax says:

    @jig, “You blame him for Subotic switching “nationalities”? Do you mean national teams? True, perhaps his exclusion in the 2007 team contributed to Subotic’s decision to play for Serbia…”

    Do you understand that Rongen rated 4 very mediocre defenders above Nevin in 2007? As a youth coach his job is to evaluate young talent. He can’t do his job.

  73. Matt says:

    Rongen is not good. plain and simple. He was a bad player when he played for the diplomats,he has been a poor coach at the professional level. His one championship was with a team he did not construct and when given the chance to influence the team in DC he made them worse. His tactics do not match his players ability or apparent personality. In the case of the u-20’s he did a horrible job in Canada with a very talented group. He has had two years to get ready for three games. Game 1; 3-0 loss. Not good enough.

  74. Revs fan says:

    Without De Rosario, TFC still has Guevara, and now De Guzman. Without Shalrie, the Revs are the Red Bulls.