USA U-20s lose to Guatemala, fail to qualify for World Cup

MacMathGuatemala (Getty Images)


The U.S. U-20 men's national had its chances, but lackluster finishing and defending saw its CONCACAF U-20 Championship campaign end with no World Cup ticket to claim.

The United States was eliminated from the regional tournament and failed to qualify for the World Cup with a 2-1 loss to Guatemala in the quarterfinals at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City on Wednesday night. Henry Lopez scored the game-winner in the second half, finishing a one-timed shot past Zac MacMath two minutes after Conor Doyle had equalized for the Americans.

The loss not only eliminated the United States, but also gave Guatemala its first World Cup qualification ever. The result was a crushing blow to Thomas Rongen's side, which was considered by the head coach to be among the most talented he had coached at the youth level.

An inspired Guatemala team began the match with good energy, but it nearly conceded a goal early on as Kelyn Rowe had a pair of open looks that he failed to convert. The Americans also struggled to send in a final ball despite getting into Guatemala's final third often, partly because of Greg Garza's contributions as a left winger and Joe Gyau being marked heavily on the right flank. 

The hosts withstood the pressure and attempted to find a goal rather than sit back and defend, an approach that payed dividends as in the 33rd minute Gerson Lima found an open lane and headed home a corner kick. Lima was unmarked as he made his run and MacMath did a poor job of coming off his line to intercept the ball, which floated into the 6-yard box.

That goal, along with the United States continued squandering of chances, gave the Guatemalans and its home crowd confidence. 

That was until Amobi Okugo made a nice run down the center of the field before releasing a pinpoint pass to Doyle, who beat the offside trap and equalized for the Americans with a chipped shot in the 66th minute.

The Americans weren't celebrating for long as two minutes later a long ball saw Perry Kitchen move up the field to clear it, leaving an open gap behind him. Guatemala recovered the ball and lofted it into the vacated area, and Gale Agbossoumonde's challenge to clear it from an attacker saw them both fall down, resulting in Lopez's finish from the center of the penalty box.

The United States attempted to find another equalizer, but the hostile crowd and bunkered in Guatemalan side proved too much to overcome.

What do you think of the United States' 2-1 loss to Guatemala? How upset are you that the Americans couldn't pull out the win? Who were you impressed/disappointed by? Think Rongen should go?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in U.S. Under-20 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams. Bookmark the permalink.

179 Responses to USA U-20s lose to Guatemala, fail to qualify for World Cup

  1. A says:

    There is something seriously wrong with the US Soccer Federation on every level. How do our players not come out with energy and passion, motivated to win?

  2. AL says:

    energy and passion does not equal a win. there is also skills, luck, opponents, etc….

  3. anon says:

    Well, you know, stuff happens. Coaching was poor, and the players didn’t play to their full potential. Still, this isn’t the apocalypse: still a pretty talented group which will probably help us down the line.

  4. ju says:

    fire that sk^nk gulati & bradley ha ha ha!

  5. Eric says:

    Wow….what a huge disappointment. Not the end of the world for U.S. Soccer, though….still lots of young talent in the ranks.

  6. Joe says:

    Can we finally put the last nail in the Rongen coffin? The guy is a disaster.

  7. Alex G says:

    Im shocked, this is definetly wrong on every level, fire ROngen

  8. Jao says:

    Guess this makes their friendlies against France in May pretty pointless.

  9. abc says:

    Well, that’s just awful.

    I don’t care if Huerzeler and Gatt and possibly Ruelas were not released by their teams, I don’t care if Wood was injured, or that Agudelo graduated to the MNT.
    Even with the questionable officiating, youngsters not used to a rowdy crowd, and ridiculous timewasting, etc. we should have destroyed Guatemala. It’s freaking Guatemala. This is supposed to be our deepest U-20 team ever, stacked with professionals. How are we supposed to make noise at the World Cup against the best from Europe and South America if we can’t beat Guatemala.

    I’m not one to overreact, I have never called for anyone involved with US Soccer to be fired, but something needs to be done here.
    Our players were mostly mediocre to totally unimpressive tonight. I’m not sure if that’s on Rongen and the coaches or on the players themselves… the mental mistakes and bad decisionmaking was everywhere. The coaching decisions were bizarre, whether it was moving Garza forward or not using substitutes until it was too late.

    How do we weigh Rongen’s lack of results this cycle with his success bringing in Hurzeler, Doyle, Zahavi (my understanding is that he went to Israel only because he was down on the depth chart here), and others?

  10. jonk says:

    Ugh, this game gave me a monster headache. Between the espn3 feed and the US team’s ridiculously frustrating and ineffective long ball strategy after the second goal, this game was agonizing.

    Anyway, oh well, several of these kids will be studs for the full side in a few years.

  11. Marvin says:

    Huge loss. Ussf needs to make changes. We should have someone like Bielsa ciaching this talented group.

  12. Warren says:


    Rongen has had more USSF lives than a cat….maybe he can be ushered out the door finally as scout in chief or some face-saving title like that?

    Of course not.

    Since it seems coaches in USSF are like FIFA and Blatter and Sunil believs all positions are practically hereditary including his own.

  13. Ricky B. Free says:

    IN order for a national team to have a winning mentality they have to win the games you are supposed to win.

    Everyone sees the US team as a competitive team, but not as a winner. The US team has only beaten Spain in a game that matters, in friendlies the Us bunkers down and doesnt take risks.

    THe day the US takes some risks and goes for a win against a top team the mentality will change.

    The Under 20 teams should be asked to qualify to every world cup. They play in concacaf and they didnt even get eliminated by Mexico or COsta Rica, it was Guatemala.

    Show a winning mentality.

  14. Warren says:

    Easy – we thank Rongen for his good work, pat him on the back and say ‘next!’

    Not hard…if it were Sunil’s style to actually think coaching should be improved.

  15. Alex G says:

    `+´1000000 Im with you, its Guatemala, a country with no infraestructure or money, this is a disaster.

  16. John says:

    Energy and passion won the game for Guatemala. They played with heart and for national pride and we didn’t.

  17. ACS says:

    S*&% happens

  18. wilyboy says:

    I could possibly over look Rongen if it weren’t for the fact that we had some real individual talent that just needed a system, and that Kitchen was taken off the backline when they needed him so badly. DMF is fine, but his organization was missed.

    Rongen leads to sloppy teams that win because of talent and fail because of discipline and strategy. Fire him.

  19. Dancy says:

    The result isn’t the problem. The better team doesn’t always win, these are young guys with still bright futures. What is a problem is the performance, tactics, and preparation were poor.

    If this team looked like Argentina against the US a few weeks ago people would be disappointed, but it would pass. Then it would be a case of bad luck for a clearly superior team missing a few regulars. It is hard to play against cynical, negative teams. But this was more a case of being out played.

  20. AL says:

    How can Mexico and Panama be already qualified if they still have to play tomorrow?

  21. DCUPedro says:

    They’ve qualified for the past 8 U-20 world cups. How’s that for a winning mentality.

    God, some US fans are such babies. Losing is part of football. Get your man pants on and grow up. Every now and then in football your team craps the bed. It doesn’t mean anything more than that — its part of the game.

  22. fischy says:

    Indeed it does.

  23. dpg says:

    It’s really disappointing; my summer just got a little duller. That said, I’m happy that these guys get to go home and get games rather than take the summer off. Very lucky position for us to be in.

  24. John says:

    The U-20 age group is the most important in National Team systems since most are professional rookies playing around the world and need to start learning the national team system. We need a direct connection between the U-20 and senior side. Rongen needs to go and the US needs to hire a foreign coach with no MLS ties who can come in a implement a winning mentality. You don’t need a big name just someone who is a solid tactician and implements a strict gameplan. Imagine a coach like Hans Backe who makes you turn over the ball to the other team if you don’t follow his instruction in practice games.

  25. Ricky B. Free says:

    They play in concacaf, they should be qualifying. Even Mexico kicked Hugo Sanchez as the national coach when the U-23 team didnt qualify for the olimpics.

    At least play like you are the region powerhouse, not like you are the underdog, punting the ball up the field.

    The under 20 in Mexico are asked to qualify for every worl cup, why shouldnt the USA ask their U-20 for the same thing?

    THis was a failure and grow some balls and admit it.

  26. John says:

    They played their quaterfinal game yesterday.

    All 4 semifinalist qualify.

  27. rs says:

    It’s monumentally stupid that qualification for the U-20 World Cup depends on the result of a single game, no matter how well or poorly you perform in prior stages. Anything can happen in one game.

  28. AB says:

    Bye Thomas. Enjoy 99 weeks of unemployment checks.

  29. StevenG says:

    +1. Guate did well for themselves.

  30. The Dude says:

    Fire Bradley.

  31. John says:

    The 4 semifinalist make the World Cup seems fair to me. If you can’t beat a team like Guatemala in quaterfinals then you don’t deserve to go on. What happens when you go to the knockout rounds of the World Cup? It’s win or go home as well.

  32. Jao says:

    Not to mention it is done like that in every confederation that has a qualifying tournament for the U-20 World Cup. Make the semis and you make the World Cup. No excuses.

  33. Texas 1836 says:

    Can someone explain why were win in a 1-game elimination AT Guatemala?

    I thought we were supposed to be a strong team. What was the point of the games we were crushing last week?

    Were we not the top-ranked team in the region?

    I’m having a hard time fathoming how our “best U20 team ever” was in a position where one bad game in a hostile road environment could keep them out of the World Cup entirely.

    Can someone explain this?

  34. Texas 1836 says:

    Why was this game played in Guatemala? What is the process that determines this?

  35. John says:

    It’s not just a one game. It’s a whole qualifying competition that is being hosted by Guatemala. Everyteam is playing down there, not just the US. It’s a bid process just like any other Cup. Maybe if the Gold Cup rotated through Concacaf we would be a stronger team as well but that is a different story.

  36. ehhh says:

    thomas has to go. we all know you cant win every game and that our game is beyond unpredictable but come on. this player pool is as deep as we have had at any level. regardless of who wasnt released by their clubs or playing in the match, our starting 11 u20s could beat guatemals full team and that cant be an exxageration with these players in the professional club systems they are in. this game isnt the end, but it has to be the end of tommmy boy.

  37. DCUPedro says:

    “the US needs to hire a foreign coach with no MLS ties who can come in a implement a winning mentality”

    ah… I was waiting for this. What is wrong with a guy that has MLS ties or is American?

    Don’t give me names… tell me what about those two things should disqualify a guy from being a good coach? Because our senior team won its world cup group, won the gold cup, and beat Spain with a guy who had done just that. Oh and he’s known for being a strict tactician. Most people complain that he is too tactical.

    But of course, there is nothing wrong with American soccer that can’t be fixed by a brilliant foreigner, or a baby-jesus like savior of a talented young player, right?

  38. bob says:

    you are all nuts, did spain fire their coach after the lowly US beat them in the Confed cup???

  39. Dan Murphy says:

    Anyone else catch the Mexico-Canada U-20 highlights? If we couldn’t take care of Guatemala, we’d never make it past Mexico at the World Cup. Mexico U-20’s positively dominated Canada.

  40. bob says:

    +1, this will be better for the kids in the long run. It will make them work harder and not look down on “lesser” teams

  41. Texas 1836 says:


    Thanks for the explanation. I didn’t realize Guatemala was hosting all games. That makes more sense.

    Were our earlier games against Suriname and the likes part of a seeding process? Were we the top seed? Did we just draw Guatemala randomly?

    I agree with the guy who said his summer sucks now. I was counting on the U20 World Cup getting me through from Gold Cup to NFL. I can’t believe we won’t be there.

  42. Ricky B. Free says:

    Rongen has been the coach for 3 or 4 cycles. Failed miserably ate the last world cup and failed to qualify to this one.

    I think he has earned a YOU ARE FIRED.

  43. mg says:

    jaja you american think you are the top of the world huh? we are only 10 millions.. its a shame US wasnt able to beat us…. Cry baby.

  44. Scott A says:

    Very disappointed. We’ll bounce back though.

  45. Pedro says:

    Rongen out, Reyna in. This type of result gets people fired everywhere but the USA.

    Bradley and Rongen have no idea if how to motivate a team. Listen to the “Behind the Scenes” videos posted recently. I felt like someone from accounting was explaining a new expense report form.

    Hey Clint – how about shouting” PC Load Letter” during the next speech recorded for the fans! (Mathis would have hooked me up).

  46. Dan Murphy says:

    This game seems pretty flukey to me. If you played the same game in the same conditions over and over again, I bet 9 times out of 10, the US would have advanced. Then again, maybe winners make their own luck. It’s one thing for our boys to make a mistake, it’s another for Guatemala to capitalize.

    In any case, I’m betting Rongen’s cycle is done. He’s a competent coach, but if the players won’t fight for him, and they won’t fight for each other, then we’re not doing the boys any favors by keeping them chained to the same system.

  47. Knowles says:

    Rongen’s got some issues, for sure. Missing out on Subotic will always be a strike against him. But I wonder if he’s fired now, the new coach might go away from the 4-3-3. The U-20 team had some flashes these past few weeks where they looked like Brazilian squads out there. And hasn’t it been proven that the U.S. youth system should center around skill development as opposed to results?

    A single-elimination game, featuring teenagers, in a hostile Central American country isn’t exactly a referendum on the state of the U-20 team, which actually looks really good right now. Missing out on the World Cup will hurt though.

  48. CA says:

    Tonight certainly isn’t the end of the world, but it IS very disappointing. If this team was anywhere near as good as hyped then they would have easily put away Guatemala.

    Like others here, I am one who believes the greatest deficiency in the American game is coaching. Bring on the next coach.

  49. John says:

    Because US soccer and MLS has been incestous for way too long. It’s the same recycled coaches over and over again. In case you haven’t noticed, Mr. US Soccer Bruce Arena is being left in the dust with his UVA bag of tricks. He hasn’t changed with the times and so haven’t many others. We need to bring in someone who is looking at the issues concerning US soccer from the outside objectively. Most sucessful socccer programs around the world has had their seed planted by a foreigner. I like to compare the US development in soccer to Japan’s. Our leagues are the same age yet they are advancing at a much faster pace than we are. Their system got implemented by foreigners who handed the reigns over to the Japanese.

  50. PGS says:

    thats like saying that because the NCAA tournament is single elimination, it’s OK that ONE LOSS in January might eliminate a top seed.

    this system is clearly insane. for something as monumentally important as the world cup, ONE AWAY GAME should not control whether or not you get to go. concacaf should be more concerned with sending its best team to represent the region.

  51. Dan Murphy says:

    What?? The starting XI of our U-20’s aren’t consistently starting for the first teams of their clubs. No way they’d be able to put away Guatemala’s full team. I’m sure these kids have more potential than many who have come before, but we have to remember, they’re only just beginning their professional careers.

  52. anon says:

    Are you kidding me?!? This is STEVE SAMPSON’S FAULT.

  53. John says:

    Those games were in the group stage. And because we won our group, we ended up playing Guatemala who came in 2nd in theirs. Normal single round robin situation.

  54. PGS says:


  55. anon says:

    Actually, it doesn’t. Germany’s u21 team didn’t qualify at all for the European championships this summer, and they gave him a raise. Most of Europe doesn’t care about youth tournaments.

  56. John says:

    That’s why they are called the Final Four. They earned it.

  57. Alex says:

    LOL +1

  58. Alex says:

    Haha, Reyna as U20 Coach – we’ll be backpassing with the best of ’em!

  59. Simon says:

    Rongen must go now if i was the head of US soccer i would tell Rongen dont bother geting on the flyight home you are done. if he is not saxd then gulati must go.

  60. PGS says:

    UConn lost 9 games this season. But none of those losses prevented them for going to the big dance.

  61. PGS says:

    *from wow my typing is on tonight.

  62. jackie says:

    USSOCCER = Fail

    Sunil = Fail

    Rongen = Fail

  63. Soncho says:


  64. abc says:

    “They’ve qualified for the past 8 U-20 world cups. How’s that for a winning mentality.”

    Which proves it’s easy to qualify from CONCACAF.
    Which makes this failure to qualify that much worse.

  65. Primoone says:

    the kids looked nervous in the beginning however, did well to calm the nerves after about 20 minutes or so. I believe this was a case of the US not making most of their chances in front of goal. Rowe could have easily scored an open net goal as well as. A header from valentin with. You can easily place some of the blame on rongen. He waited too long to inject some fresh legs into the match. Give some credit to the man of the match…their keeper got them to the world cup

  66. abc says:

    “Can someone explain why were win in a 1-game elimination AT Guatemala?”

    smh x facepalm

  67. Primoone says:

    Don’t say this is the most talented team you have ever had and then fail to do anything with it….I think he just handed ussf the rope to hang himself with.

  68. Illmatic74 says:

    I wonder if German fans reacted the same way when they failed to qualify for the under 20 world cup.

  69. abc says:

    Yeah that was definitely a case of taking it too far. Sort of like when people say a good college team can beat a bad professional team.

  70. abc says:

    “Reyna in”

    Congrats you win worst idea of the day.

  71. abc says:

    1. Their coach probably didn’t claim that this was the deepest U-20 team they had ever fielded.

    2. Our kids need the exposure of the World Cup to advance their careers more than kids from Germany, who I presume are already all with various Bundesliga clubs. We have 2-3 players from this group in the top four leagues (Gyau at Hoffenheim, Lletget at West Ham, three if you count Hurzeler at Bayern).

  72. mypurpleundercracker says:

    Im not mad son, Im just thoroughly disappointed. We just missed a chance to see some up-and-comers for the full USMNT. I can’t explain my disappointment in words, other than I fear for the future of USMNT soccer.

  73. jeremy says:

    Tell me how your senior team does against us mg.

    How did the last world cup go for you? How about the confederations cup? Qualifying? Gold Cup?

  74. JW says:

    Wow, a ton of criticism for the coach but not too much for the players. There should be a lot of fault for this loss on the players. The passing was really bad at times and the guys could not handle the high pressure Guatemala was creating.

    Gyau was great for about 15 minutes of the game and pretty much disappeared in the second half. He was definitely a marked man. Kitchen and Gale were just average today. They did not settle the back very well and the entire end of the game was just long ball soccer.

    As far as Rongen goes, i would agree that he has had his turn so lets get someone fresh in. The timing of his subs were poor and the entire game just looked frantic.

    However, were were unlucky with two shots off the post and a few great saves from the Guatemalan keeper.

  75. jeremy says:

    Maybe if Michael Bradley didn’t start every game…

  76. mike r says:

    Omg enjoy the win this will be the last time Guat beats the US in anything. The Sr team will kick your a$$ 3-0 with the b team.

  77. martga c says:

    He starts every game because his dad once said that people need to play for Thier club team before they could play got the US. He said “if your not good enough to play for your club your not good enough to Play for us”
    And Bradley plays more at his club the Jermaine Jones does at Blackpool or Edu does for Rangers….oh wait….

    I guess he must have muttered ” unless your my son” under his breath

  78. Rgodinez22 says:

    ugh it’s a shame I was looking forward to Mexico facing the US in the final =\

  79. Brett says:

    I don’t think this was Rongen’s best team, but this is hugely disappointing.

  80. Northzax says:

    Yes it is a shame we won’t get to play Japan in the U-20 World Cup. Of course, maybe we could schedule a friendly, cause they aren’t going to Colombia either. you know who is? North Korea. Should we emulate them, as well?

    The chicken littles around here.

  81. Aquaman says:

    I’m actually pretty depressed about this. I know we’ll see a lot of these guys again because they showed very well. I think the signal of their loss was when they started to revert to blasting long balls from the back, which just doesn’t seem to be their game. It’s disappointing to have such a talented group of players and not make the Cup, but here’s to wishing them the best in the Olympics and in their futures with the national team.

  82. Rob says:

    I think fresh ideas may be a good thing. But it doesn’t have to come from a foreign coach. There seems to be fresh blood amongst MLS coaching, ie Kreis. I think that the Arena system is getting old and our players are getting to the point that we don’t need to always play counter ball.

    That being said, if Rogan is anything he is a heck of a scout. Found a very good player pool, which everyone should give him credit for, even if we did lose.

  83. Rob says:

    Or most comical.

  84. Rob says:

    Very true. Development over results. Nigeria has won the u20 world cup a few times, has that translated into the senior side? Nope. This is still probably the most talented pool we have ever had, even with this loss.

  85. Shane says:

    Yeah that US team in South Africa had no heart what so ever. Had good goals taken away and they just wilted. Oh and the Confed cup. Had to win 3-nil to advance only if Italy lost 3-nil, and they just rolled over.

  86. Der_Amerikanische_Kaiser says:

    Tab Ramos for U-20 coach!

  87. Robert daniels says:

    Not the end if the world. Its crazy to think one loss and were out though. It should be double elimination to prevent flukes like this. The only bad thing to come out pig this is Fabian hurelezer looks like he’s still on the fence about switching allegiances. This doesn’t help or chances, also or ability to recruit more Fabian’s.

  88. Martha says:

    There will be no changes. Sunil Gulati is too friendly with Bradley and Rongen and won’t dismiss his buddies. Plus he doesnt like too make tough decisions. It’s easier just to maintain the status quo.

    It’s our fault to we believe the hype n we overestimate our talent. Where’s all the “stars” from the last team. altitodore and Bradley are marginal. Where stephon Jerome? Charles redken? Ibrahim? Etc

    Btw, Rowe=Chad Barrett.

  89. DC Josh says:

    Shocking result. Totally gutted. No excuse for this loss. At least the players are in professional environments, so their development won’t wain due to the missed World Cup.

  90. MSNats says:

    I’m usually all for the “development over results” philosophy when it comes to youth soccer, but I believe this result negatively affects development for our kids. Missing the world cup, and especially the chance to play in front of all the clubs that scout the world cup, deprives our boys from a VERY valuable experience.

  91. bryan says:

    such a disappointing result. i was really looking forward to watching the U-20s at the World Cup.I remember thinking to myself last night when Rowe missed those two clear cut chances that they would come back to haunt us.

  92. korey says:

    WOW! Just horrible.

  93. jollyredgiant says:

    You said it, look at the Germans, they expect and put pressure on their young players to go win so they are ready for that pressure when they move to the senior side. I believe in development but handling pressure and the show case is part of development.

  94. readte12 says:

    “Europe doesn’t care about youth tournaments.”

    In most cases this is very true. Think about a country like Germany, the size, the economic strength and the huge talent pool. The main incentive for a country like Germany or Spain or England is to structure their entire NT on a certain system of play. Germany can continue to plug in players for the NT and they can still reach the semis in any WC. They just can. They probably could care less about not making a youth tournament here and there because their players are fiercely nationalistic and loyal to their domestic league–perhaps the most underrated of any big league in Europe. We would do well to learn from the German FA.

  95. U-37 USMNT says:

    I really hope Wilmer Cabrera qets the job. I was very impressed with the few U-17 games I watched. He’s been around the fed long enough and should easily transition into the U-20 gig.

    Come on you baby yanks!!

  96. Dale says:

    I expected better from Omar Slagado, I dont think he’s that good at the moment.

  97. Freddyisonly19 says:

    Why didn’t Adu play?

  98. Possum Kingdom says:

    +1 A one game do or die match and it happens to be in their backyard makes it very hard even for the best teams in the world to get a result. Should we have won…of course, but Guatemala had nothing to lose and they played like it. We have a lot of young players that look very promising. Has one of our SR midfielders (outside of Renya) ever had the vision to make the pass that Okugo delivered to Doyle? However it is definitely time for some fresh blood in coaching. Farewell Rongen.

  99. ZacIndy says:

    It’s a tournament that’s held every two years. And we likely would have been tortured with false hopes and underwhelming play against better opponents in the WC. And that’s not to say that playing those teams wouldn’t have been a good experience, but we squandered that chance. Playing a home side for a spot is tough no matter who the opponent is (Ask our women’s team). Most of us have been clamoring for a new coach anyway, perhaps this is the final nail in the coffin. Life goes on.

  100. rak says:

    A lot of this seems like an overreaction. Yes it is disappointing and yes the team should have qualified, but the USA has gotten to the point that by the U-20 level most of our players are at international academies or playing professionally. That is where they spend most of their time and where they will develop their game, not at USA camps for a few weeks at a time. The point of our U-20 system is identifying possible players that can go on to help our senior team. With this aspect I think Rongen has done a pretty good job.

    This was a tough game in a tougher environment. In general the passing, movement and combination play that the team showed was pretty fantastic and something I haven’t seen from a US squad.Just because two mistakes made by kids in a single elimination game is not justification for a complete overhaul of the system.

  101. Knowel says:

    Don’t know whichpart of East L.A. this coach got these talentless players, my local high school team is far and away better than that. Guatemala? are you kidding me.

  102. Timmer says:

    Disappointing. Period. Needs to get better.

  103. Shane says:

    Most of the US coaches are foreign. Rongen is Dutch and has dutch coaching licenses. Former U23 coach Nowak is Polish and played in Europe. The U17 coach is is foreign. We probably have one American coach in all of US soccer and that is Bob Bradley. Who, by the way, out-coached Fabio Capello, a foreigner brought in by England that was supposed to be the best coach in the world. He is a disaster for them with the amount of money he costs. No team has ever won a world cup with a foreign coach. How does that prove your point about needing foreigners? Also, the Japanese league happens to be currently looking at MLS for answers to its financial issues and how to structure a league.

  104. Don Pelayo says:

    A terrible disappointment for the U20s. Call me arrogant, but I believe we should always qualify for competitions like this at every level.

  105. Shane says:

    Ha ha, hit the nail on the head.

  106. Free says:

    ha. nice! +1

  107. Shane says:

    Disaapointing and the team has no excuses. But they will grow from this experience. However, if you think it is a coincidence that the U20’s have to play the host’s in a must win game just after the US WNT had to play Mexico at home in a must win WC qualifying game then you are naive. What I cant stand about Gulati is that he takes all this crap. How many more times is the US going to be assigned corrupt refs in important matches – Lorrionda anyone?

  108. Eurosnob says:

    If you like Cabrera, you should hope that he stays at U17 level. This is the most critical group in youth development. The U17 WC is more heavily scouted than U20. Many of the world’s top young players play in U17 world cup and transition directly to the senior national team rather than to U20. Take Neymar, for example, or even Agudelo.

  109. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    What class.

  110. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    your ≠ you are
    Also, Jermaine does not play for Blackpool lol.

  111. Felix says:

    I love how one upset victory is being interpreted as US Soccer being fundamentally broken….. really.

    Listen, for the people who actually stayed up to watch the game (which I unfortunately did), US put Guatemala under some early pressure for the first 15 minutes, and missed some great chances, but once Guate withstood that early surge, you can see them growing in confidence and the US struggle under the pressure they put them under.

    The first goal was a culmination of poor marking by Okugo (I think) and MacMath failing to come out. Guatemala’s two forwards constantly harassed Kitchen and ‘Boss and they did not deal well with their work rate. Guate played a simple game of long balls, pressure on the ball when they did not possess it and crosses into the box. The second Guate goal was a culmination of a terrible attempt of playing the ball by Kitchen, Moises Hernandez’s poor marking on Lopez and ‘Boss inability to deal with Lopez’s surging run.

    The majority of the team was poor, and I really felt were struggling with Guate’s pressure and the hostile crowd. There were a couple of standouts, Joe Gyau was an absolute handful most of the night and besides the poor marking on the first goal, Amobi Okugo played admirably in the midfield. Greg Garza did a solid job as well. Other than that, I don’t have too many positive things to say. Kitchen and MacMath I felt were terrible, and Conor Doyle had a bad first touch most of the night and spent more time offside than onside.

    They play that game 10 more times and the US wins 8 of them. But all fairness to Guatemala, they came out to play the US and not bunker down, they played to their strengths and have qualified for their first ever U-20 World Cup.

  112. dan says:

    First of all, Kudos to Guatemala for pulling out the upset…. secondly, like many have said, it is not the end of the world for these players. Many of them already are playing professionally and are in a great learning environment. If anything, this tournament shows how young american players handle real-must-win-game pressure… (make your own conclusions here)

  113. Angel FAN of USA says:

    @A said…
    Yes I’m with you on this one. I saw that US U20 came in to this game like they were already qualify to the world cup, too cocky, and if you saw how Guatemala came in as they really want this game. I love my USA but heck I have to give it to Guatemala. I don’t know why rogen didn’t start the same team that play the first game. And like always I don’t know why every coach in the USA always have to keep their sub a the last moment and when they do is already too late or the wrong subs. I don’t know what happen to Bobby Wood.

  114. dan says:

    by the way, why not get Caleb Porter to coach the U-20 teams. He would do a fantastic job!

  115. Thorpinski says:

    That is why you play the game. Soccer is like a lot of other sports where the best team doesn’t always win.

    Sooner or later our record of qualifying for every youth WC was going to end.

    I like Rongen as the coach of the U-20’s because he’s great at identifying players and does a great job recruiting. Sure he may not be the best game coach, but I prefer to have a coach that can bring players in and lose verses a coach who can’t recriut but can coach.

    There’s no denyng that there are a few gems in this group Lletget, Gyau, Agudelo and Wood and that’s what really matters.

    You can only tip your hat to Guatemala, they deserved to win and I think this win is more important for a small country like theirs then ours.

  116. Angel FAN of USA says:

    you think they will. come on this was the time to see what the future will bring. I think is going to be a waste of talent cause the poor coaching. I think this kids had plenty of time to win that game but Rogen didn’t do well on the sub. Now I’m afraid that we most loose some key players especially the kid that is playing in the Bayern. or maybe other one that were not call to this qualifying stage. I just don’t know..

  117. Felix says:

    NOt to mention Argentina. They’ve won a few u-20s themselves, and they haven’t advanced past the quarterfinals in the World Cup since 1990.

    Another poster here said it best. A one-off elimination game against a Central American country on their home turf with a bunch of teenagers isn’t a referendum on US Soccer.

    However, I think it is a referendum on Thomas Rongen who himself has admitted this is the best team he’s ever had.

    I hope this shows at the very least he needs to go.

  118. Felix says:

    Who’s still better than every other CM we have.

    Seriously, people who cannot understand that Bradley Jr is our best CM, despite his playing time or not do not know anything about soccer. Their opinions on Bradley Jr are entrenched in his father not on his individual performances.

  119. Ron says:

    The US National team coaching is a disgrace, thanks to that economics professor running the show….Sunil Gulati…

    1st Bunker Bob had the golden opportunity to take us to the Copa Mundo quarters and then the semis and he inserts Rico Clark instead of Mo Edu and went back to bumkering after LD’s PK…

    2nd Rongen misjudged and angered Subotic – look at our tattered CB’s now….and to lose with the most talented U-20 team – awful coaching!

    3rd Sundhage loses to England, but at least it was a friendly…

    All a reflection of the man at the top who selected these bozos for coaches – FIRE GULATI AND ADVANCE U.S. SOCCER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!

  120. jpc says:

    I hear a lot of how the coaching was poor, but nobody ever explains why. I’m not saying you’re wrong or full of it, I would just like you to explain a little more

  121. green says:

    Well said. Someone who gets it. . .

    I think US fans (shoot, plenty of “journos” do the same) invest way too much into these youth tournaments and fail to see the big picture.

  122. Tractor says:

    Well, then, technically martga was right. Bradley has played more minutes for Villa than Jones has for Blackpool!

  123. Josh D says:

    Amen. That’s why big teams lose the smallest teams…. We came in cocky and looking at some of our fans from yesterday, the fans were cocky. You play with pride and heart no matter who you play.

    Absolutely gutted this morning….. My fiancee and I had intentions of seeing them play this summer when we visited Colombia…..

    Again, disappointment with the national team and a lot of potential left wanting. Sadly, this time I can’t blame it on Bradley : (

  124. green says:

    Ok, you’re arrogant. : )

    Yeah, teams should just be given invites to competitions and fore go the qualifiers. That way it could be just like a private club for only the elite. : )

  125. Josh D says:

    You’re insane – out coached Fabio? To a draw? Big win there……

    The problem with US mentality – a draw is something to be proud of.

  126. beachbum says:

    you are an insightful poster, balanced in perspective. thanks

  127. green says:

    Bravo, the first to give props to the winning team. I endorse this message.

  128. beachbum says:

    no insight from you. keep poeting tho

  129. Josh D says:

    Come off it mate. Perhaps two years ago but even when he was playing this season in Germany he was behind Jones and Holden. Even now, Edu has come leaps and bounds for Rangers but hasn’t been able to play in the same position as he does for club.

    For me it’s: Holden>Jones>Bradley>Edu

  130. beachbum says:

    excellent post. thanks

  131. jpc says:

    I love the constant coach bashing that goes on in the US system. As if we have world class players at every level, and it’s the coaches that hold them back…

    I believe that we hold the record for most consecutive Youth World cups qualified for, and that has been done with amateurs, while most countries players are all in professional setups. That probably has a lot to do with quality coaching covering up the players flaws. Also, when other coaches talk about playing the US, the first thing they ALWAYS comment on is our teams’ “Tactical Awareness”, NOT how talented we are, or how many star players we have. But how good tactically we are…

    I know it’s easy to get into this mode thinking that kids like Guyau (sp?), Lletget and Kitchen are gonna be great players; But, I gotta say, they really aren’t that good, at least not right now. Kitchen looked Terrible last night, and the other two, while they have good skills, seemed to be playing one on three last night every possession.

    I’m not saying Rongen should stay, maybe it is time for him to leave, he’s been there for a long time; BUT, it’s not his fault that his players are incapable of possessing the ball for longer than 4 passes, or that the midfield and forwards offered almost no support to one another in terms of passing options. This is stuff players need to figure out, and they couldn’t. Players need to have the requisite skills to play properly, and if they don’t, which we didn’t at least last night, it’s not the coaches fault…

    My final point, these are still just kids, and they went into a foreign country with a really loud crowd, that’s daunting, regardless of the competition. I mean look at what happens to our senior team against teams like costa Rica and Honduras away, teams that we rarely have trouble with at home. While concacaf doesn’t have the best teams, I would say that it does have probably some of the most hostile environments of any federation, as these KIDS saw last night. Lesson learned, and they will be better because of it.

  132. beachbum says:

    Josh D, you’ve been a hater forever on Michael. you obviously can’t get over your own perpsective even when the facts shoot you down. congratulations

  133. Josh D says:


    Never thought of that…

  134. beachbum says:

    WORD!!! I am sick of getting the shaft from the region, FIFA, etc.

    we always have to overcome the BS, because the BS is a given


  135. Dainja says:

    Look, I’m not one of those guys always asking for Bradley’s head on a platter, but Rongen must go. At least as a coach, and keep him on for player development. You can point to 4 critical coaching mistakes by him last night:

    1) Garza, normally a left back, at left forward/attacker. That’s like putting Boca or…gulp…Bornstein there. ZOINKS!

    2) Zone marking defense that he preaches cost us the first goal

    3) Boss was clearly hurt bad in the 5th minute. Not at least subbing him at the half possibly cost us the second goal. No way a healthy Boss gets muscled down like that.

    4) Too late on subs

  136. beachbum says:

    wish I had read this last night; would have helped me to fall asleep faster

  137. Josh D says:

    We are also in the least competitive Confederation in the world. The gap between the top and bottom is larger than the poor and the rich.

    And in our region, our boys are world class compared to our opponents. You have to put it in context for this game.

    I’m embarrassed for the team and it’s because, in my humble opinion, the boys came out cocky and were not in the game with their hearts. If they played with heart and left it all on the field, it’s a job well done to the boys. But the way they just strutted out there was the wrong mentality from the start.

    You can imagine the coaches warmup speech “Boys, we have already won. In 90 minutes, we’ll be relaxing and looking forward to Colombia.” That’s the speech you give a team with no hope. Not a team that’s expected to win against a baby team. You should put a mentality in that everyone is against us and this is the hardest game of our lives.

    Poor coaching. Tactics wrong, subs wrong – reminds me of a certain Senior.

  138. beachbum says:

    Overwhelming stage seemed to me. That statdium was crazy, and those teenagers didn’t respond well to it. how many excellent chances were missed?

    Rongen should be n trouble. He’s been around for a long time, and to claim it’s his best team and stumble like this should not bode well for him.

    Congratulations Guatemala. You earned it.

  139. jpc says:

    as hilarious as it would’ve been, I’m fairly certain that wasn’t the pregame speech. But your point is taken, they certainly weren’t in the right mindset. But that is also on the players. These are kids but also professionals, They are expected to be up for games. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way, and they really aren’t so skilled that they can just sleepwalk through ANY team that tries hard, and has 20,000 raving fans behind them…

    What were the tactics? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does. I’m sure though that Rongen’s plan WASN’T “alright guys, pass the ball, then trap it terribly, then get flustered a send either a very poor short ball or blast it up field”. I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but you could’ve had Pep Guardiola setting up this team tactically, but it wouldn’t have made any difference b/c at least last night, the team couldn’t even perform BASIC tasks properly.

  140. JD says:

    well heart is worth more than your “money and your infrastructure”. What good is your “money and infrastructure”it if your team has no heart?

    youre a tard for even talking about that when it comes to soccer.

  141. JD says:

    Some of you idiots need to show some class. A much less talented opponent beat a very talented and deep US team because it had more balls and more heart. Plain and simple.

    Do not make derogatory comments on Guatemala the country, instead congratulate the great heart, balls and guts their soccer team showed.

    Show some freaking class!!!!

  142. Shane says:

    Reply to Josh D …

    Bradley outcoached Fabio because the US won the group, with inferior players. And two good goals taken away.

  143. taylor says:

    this isn’t as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be. the U-20 world cup is a good place for these young guys to be noticed and sign professional contracts, but most of these guys are already professionals, and Kelyn Rowe is sure to be one soon. relax, teams like italy, germany, and the netherlands fail to qualify, and they are clearly doing just fine.

    also, keep in mind this was without Agudelo and Gatt, two big players for this team, were absent

  144. beachbum says:

    another brain fart from you…p u

  145. Goalscorer24 says:

    I had a bad feeling that we were going to lose. Terrible, for all the supposed talent this group of U-20’s had, and they did not qualify.

  146. Shane says:

    I did not make any derogatory comments about Guatamala, and I would’ve been the first to congratulate them as I love it when an underdog prevails through heart and determination. However, after watching their display of diving and feigning serious injury, I just cant get myself to compliment and congratulate them. It may be part of the game for some, but I think it’s a disgrace and will not honor a team that behaves that way. The US players and coach congratulated them and that is enough.

  147. inkedAG says:

    This is a bummer, but oh well. It’s U20 kids. Half may be decent pros, the other half will fade away. Think of the last U20’s people were all hot and bothered about. Sal Zizzo, Danny Szetela, Freddy Adu. None of those guys are tearing up any leagues anytime soon. And these dudes were supposed to be good.

  148. abc says:

    redken… I assume you don’t mean Red Ken, as in the former mayor of London… do you mean Charles Renken? He’s not even old enough for our U-20 team yet! Way to declare an 18 year old kid is done.

    And Rowe screwed up big time but he’s the second leading scorer in the tournament! Dude has three goals, now he’s Chad Barrett??

  149. Illegal Alien says:

    Rongen and Bradley both need to be fired….when will your federation grow some balls?

  150. JL says:

    Has anyone seen a post game interview where Rongen explains why Garza started at forward after playing left back for the last few years? Or why he waited until the 70+ min to finally make a sub?

    I thought all the defenders looked shaky, and MacMath was underwhelming. Rowe was way off his game, and probably should have been subbed early in the second half when it was clear he had nothing on the night. On the plus side, I thought Moises Hernandez looked good, Okugo had nice moments and Leget was good when he wasn’t getting hacked.

  151. Goalscorer24 says:

    Does the US as a result of this lose a player like Huerzeler? Since he can’t play with the US at the U20 World Cup, will he sign back up with Germany? Rognen needs to go!

  152. abc says:

    He is not a finished product.

    I’m not sure why Salgado was selected over a guy like Adrian Ruelas who is actually scoring goals.

    Another questionable Rongen decision, perhaps.

  153. abc says:

    That is some crazy conspiracy theory…

    If we had finished second in our group, OR if Guatemala had won their group, then we would not have had to face the home team in the crucial WC qualifying game.

    So how did the Soccer Illuminati screw us over like that, by fixing the results of every game? If that’s the case, we would be screwed no matter what.

  154. abc says:

    Because he just signed a contract extension with Akron that goes pretty much forever? (2017 I think)

  155. abc says:


    This is a good summary of Rongen’s key mistakes in this game.

    I also think he should have done something about the cocky entitled “we’re better than you and we know it” attitude that our players have displayed throughout this tournament.

  156. Sam says:

    Lets not forget that we should have been 3-0 to the good were it not for Rowe’s wayward finishing. Open net, 1v1 were he was too slow, free header from 8 yrds…

  157. Vic says:

    Blow me Americans, you’ve been to the last 8 World Cup. You silly americans can’t win everything. Greedy A’holes.. Winnin! VIVA Guatemala!!!!!!

  158. Goalscorer24 says:

    Gale Agbossoumonde, the most experienced player on the team, was quoted as saying Rongen said that “even our B team is going to be the best team we are going to play.”

    Rongen is an idiot. You never underestimate the opponent!

  159. Dennis says:

    Surely it must be Bradley’s fault!

  160. Chapin says:

    USA suxxxxs

  161. Dennis says:

    Real bummer. It is what can happen when the qualifying comes down to a single game.

    In soccer the best team does not always win, sometimes even the team that plays best for that day does not win because the result comes down to a few mistakes or great plays made by an individual.

    After seeing the game, I think the US would win 5 out of 5 times.

  162. Dennis says:

    Except for the U-17 coach who has the players for a year or 2 at Bradenton, national team coaches do not play a big role in player development, that is the role played by their professional (or college) coaches who have them much of the time. National team coaches select players, choose tactics put those players in positions to execute those tactics and help the national team win.

    So I do not think this will have any effect on these players’ development (except they might have learned a valuable lesson about the need to approach every game and opponent with respect). If the players are honest with themselves, some of them also learned that their skill is not where it should be.

    This is something I’ve heard the US National Team coaches at various levels mention whenever they get a group into a camp. The National Team Coaches should be working on tactics, organization and building team unity, instead they need to spend too much time working on fundamentals. (Of course, practicing skills is important at every level, but at the national team level, it should not require the majority of the focus.) What was evident was that the reliable execution of fundamental technique was lacking.

  163. marco says:

    One thing I’d surely change, Gyau would be on the end of the attacks not Rowe.

  164. Josh D says:

    A guy called “beachbum” replies about farting…… :/

    Sorry, Bradley did not out coach Fabio – the English team played better in the group than we did and both bombed out at the next stage… The only difference was expectations and player willingness. Our players played with heart, England did not.

  165. Josh D says:

    Again mate, I lead with examples – what stats for this season show Bradley ahead of Holden and Jones – both starters for their team? Bradley has not performed this season – you can’t ride on last season or the summer. Perform now, play now. Don’t perform and don’t play. Simple math.

    Where are your facts?

  166. Mat says:

    Disappointing for sure, but not the end of the world.
    Rongen has to go, he’s never achieved anything during his tenure. Time for some new blood.

    I think we also have to congratulate Guatemala. Those kids played themselves one heck of a game, and they left blood and tears to beat the stronger opponent and make their country proud with their first qualification to the U20 WC. Well done. I’ll root for them.

    I hope the US kids eat this humble pie well. You could tell some of the US players were just slacking off. Our number 10 was horrible. Very poor decision making, selfish play, poor finishing. Should have come off at halftime for his half arsed effort.

  167. Kevin says:

    Worse is what happened to the women’s U-17’s or U-20’s (can’t remember which it was.) They lost to Canada on PK’s after a 0-0 regulation and extra time game in which they outshot Canada 30-4 or some nonsense like that. The USA ladies didn’t give up a single goal in their entire tournament run (save for the PK shootout.) Qualification -should- be table format with home and away games. However, given the attendance draws for U-XX games (both men and more so for women) that’s just not economically viable. :(

  168. bottlcaps says:

    That is why they have positions called “Assistant” coaches.

    Rongen should be gone in the next go-round. You cannot have as much talent as the US supposedly has and fall to an opponent in the fairly week CONCACAF conference.

    This is another in a long line of failures in which supposedly strong US youth teams have failed to qualify, failed to move out of their group, or failed to win a single elimination match.

    This has been touched upon again and again that the youth coaching at the elite level is in need of a massive overhaul.

    One of the big bones of contention between the USSF and Jurgen Klinsmann and his failure to be hired as USMNT coach, was his desire to have control of the youth programs 17 and up. He identified a while ago that there was a big “bottleneck” at this level that needed to be fixed.

    Unfortunately, the powers that be are very territorial and would not allow an intrusion into their “fiefdoms” that would have been a part of the Klinsmann plan.

    This latest embarrassment is a result of that oversight.

  169. Dominghosa says:

    Well, that was a huge choke job.
    True, it’s not the end of the world but these kids need the exposure of the World Cup as well as the experience. Yes, most of these kids are now pros but the experience and the exposure they get at a U-20 World Cup is certainly valuable.
    Also, now what happens with guys like Huerzler, Zahavi, Molano, A. Ruelas, Nungary, and Packwood? The U-20 WC was supposed to be the chance to ingrain these players into the US Soccer system (Huerzler, Zahavi and Ruelas mostly).
    Plus, I’m sure many USMNT fans really wanted to see more of this team and more of these players. I know I did.
    Very disappointing.
    Rongen should stay in the USSF system but not as a coach. He should be head of scouting. He can find players, no doubt.

  170. Jason says:

    I think there’s a combination of specifics and generals that lead to the conclusion of poor coaching.

    There was some of shifting throughout the tournament; Kitchen from the back, to the midfield, to the back; Garza from side back to winger. This can be seen as evidence of a manager who knows who his best players are, but doesn’t know how to put them together to get the most out of them or didn’t bring the right players.

    This led to what was what I think was the bigger issue of players not knowing or being comfortable in the roles that they were playing. There were numerous times yesterday in particular where you had the three forwards and the two attacking mids all together on one line.

    From my perspective, there was too much square-peg-in-round-hole on this team. Rongen likes the 4-3-3, but that formation only makes good sense if you have quality and depth at winger. When either Wood or Gyau couldn’t play, that lack of depth was exposed. Depth at this position is only made more important because its a position that a manager is likely to sub for. Putting ill-fitting pieces in at winger pushes more attacking responsibility to Doyle and the midfield. As evidenced that the wingers accounted for no goals and no assists in the 2 and a quarter matches when Wood and Gyau weren’t both in.

    Finally, Rongen brought three field players who never played. Given the lack of natural depth at winger on the squad and the excess of players just sitting on the bench. In my eyes the coaching flaws were some combination (some flaws are mutually exclusive) of the following: playing a formation that is winger dependent; not having enough wingers in the pool to play that system or not calling up enough wingers; not clearly defining midfield roles; not taking advantage of the US’ physical advantage.

  171. Jason says:

    Are you referencing the same Bruce Arena that won the supporters shield last year? If so, then that’s some dust I won’t mind being left in.

  172. Juan from L.A. says:

    I’m half Guatemalan so this was my worst nightmare and reality was that one of my two national teams was going to be out. Bittersweet moment. Rongen needs to go, but not completely. He sucks at coaching period. I believe THERE SHOULD BE accountability in part of the USSF that this is a huge setback for a Federation that wants to do the right thing and continue growing. If they don’t fire him as coach than the complacency and status quo will continue. He has gotten more than his chance to transform the youth levels and his results are not good. His recruiting and vision is phenomenal and at some capacity he should continue being with the USSF or an MLS academy but not coaching our youth teams.

  173. Clover362 says:

    Rongen has to lose his job over this, the team looked like they had no skill what so ever. they looked like great athletes but where was the midfield? where were sharp smart runs inside the box? Seriously if the US has grown up as a soccer country lets hold him accountable and get someone new in there

  174. Rageman says:

    Rongen is the Mo Johnston of US soccer.

  175. MSNats says:

    Good question, mate

  176. tommyc says:

    As a gringo living in Manizales, Colombia (one of this summer’s host sites), its difficult to convey my disappointment. From a completely selfish point-of-view, it has completely changed my summer plans. While still excited about the idea of seeing the world’s best prospects and future stars, I am now leaning towards coming home for a few weeks in the middle of the tourney after recovering a bit from hip surgery. But really, its that I wont see the talent available to Rongen that could have been here this summer that brings me down. The situation is as old as sports; the favorite gets dropped by the minnow host with huge implications. And so it is. We’ll all get over it, but the taste in my mouth will be sour for a little bit…