Under-20 World Cup: USA vs. Spain (SBI Live Match Commentary)



The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team open World Cup play today against powerhouse Spain in their opening group match in Istanbul, Turkey (2pm, ESPN2).

The Americans head into the tournament as underdogs in a group featuring Spain, France and Ghana, but a positive result today could set them up for a run at a place in the quarterfinals.

Jose Villarreal, Luis Gil and DeAndre Yedlin will lead the U.S. team against a dangerous Spanish side featuring plenty of La Liga-based firepower.

SBI will be providing live commentary on today’s action so please feel free to follow the action here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

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161 Responses to Under-20 World Cup: USA vs. Spain (SBI Live Match Commentary)

  1. Increase says:

    Urg, that long slow ball was just silly. Keeper should have come out and kicked away the initial pass. Not the cross, should have had the long ball.

  2. SanFran415 says:

    If we keep them from scoring 5 or 6 I’ll be happy.

  3. jones says:

    The loud Spanish coaching staff (or so I assume) is starting to annoy me. Maybe there’s a way for them to adjust the way the broadcast picks up sound.

  4. beto says:

    “Tab Ramos said Walker Zimmerman just hadn’t played much lately. Going to bet he’s played more meaningful minutes lately than Javan Torre.” — so true! NCAA players CANNOT play against international elites..

    while NCAA can produce good MLS prospects there is no way they can compete at this level especially when he has been out of season for months now..

    • TomG says:

      I love Tab. One of my all time fave players but not bringing Z is flat out stupid.

    • Lorenzo says:

      Yeah, like Dempsey.

      • Just sayin' says:

        Good point! Exactly like Dempsey. He went from Furman to New England for three years before moving to Fulham. He was not ready for international play right out of Furman and then grew tremendously at New England and Fulham.

    • Don't care says:

      Danny Garcia handled it fine. Its the fact that Torre couldn’t get on the field at UCLA that hurt him not that he plays college.

    • Joe Dirt says:

      Torre was like a parking cone out there. He could cash down a turtle, was out of position all day and couldn’t make up for it with his lack of speed. Seriously that forward of theirs was running the long way around him the whole day.

  5. petedx says:

    Horrible miss, should be 1-1 now.

  6. Benny says:

    5th minute? Is this Spain vs Haiti?

  7. Francois says:

    Hernandez should have scored there. Should be 1-1.

    • Mig says:

      It was a good attempt to shoot on the first touch. Keeper was coming hard so the choice to push it by him or to shoot immediately was a tough one. Underrated play by the keeper

    • Benny says:


  8. Adam says:

    Torre not looking good early…midfield hanging in well..

  9. beto says:

    thank you ref!

    why don’t the U20’s get to wear the USNT jerseys? thought we were done with the Waldo jerseys..

    • Brett says:

      The senior squad wears the centennial jersey because the federation was founded 100 years ago. The youth federation wasn’t founded until much later, so they still wear the official uniform.

  10. SanFran415 says:

    Yikes dodged a bullet there–pretty clear penalty. Nice to get a favorable decision–not shocking it comes outside of CONCACAF lol

  11. ericJ says:

    Well, they certainly know which side to attack down.

  12. Ben says:

    shoulda back heeled it to 19 coming in from behind and thats a goal

  13. Adam says:

    Deulofeu is causing all kinds of problems…

  14. jones says:

    Spain gets easily frustrated

  15. SanFran415 says:

    Can we get this guy to ref our senior team games? He’s hosing Spain lol

    We’re owed so many calls!

    • TomG says:

      Completely disagree. One debatable caLl, that’s it.

      • SanFran415 says:

        That was a stonecold penalty he blew. But he also blew the Yedlin shirt tug on Gerard D that could very well have been a straight red.

        • TomG says:

          A straight red for a shirt tug? Youd have 20 red cards per match.

          • SanFran415 says:

            Defeulou was alone in on goal and Yeldin pulled him back from behind. It’d be a red for a last man foul–not necessarily because it was a shirt pull.

            Funny enough the shirt pull resulted in a mistouch into his own hand and that was called instead.

  16. Adam says:

    Yikes….Cropper looked shaky on that shot…

  17. TomG says:

    Can we all stop clamoring for Yedlin to start for the senior squad now? He’s very talented, but just makes too many flat out boneheaded mistakes right now. How does he lose Jese on that goal? Also mishit an absurdly easy final ball on the counter.

  18. SanFran415 says:

    The omission of Zimmerman is looking like all sorts of stupid.

  19. beachbum says:

    our boys looking ok right now…need to better in the final 3rd, more decisive and precise on the service…some gaps back there for Spain.

  20. TomG says:

    Can we all stop clamoring for Yedlin to start for the senior squad now? He’s very talented, but just makes too many flat out boneheaded mistakes right now. How does he lose Jese on that goal? Also mis-hit an absurdly easy final ball on the counter.

  21. TomG says:

    Can we all stop clamoring for Yedlin to start for the senior squad now? He’s very talented, but just makes too many flat out boneheaded mistakes right now. How does he lose Jese on that goal? Also missed an absurdly easy final ball on the counter.

  22. SanFran415 says:

    Yedlin is being abused. Granted it’s by Gerard D and Jese but wow this kids positioning needs some real work before he steps anywhere near the senior team.

    • TomG says:

      Pinching way too far inside on help d, allowing wide open spaces behind him for easy runs.

  23. TomG says:

    Aw man Joya! Have to bury that! uSA looking good but missing yhe final touch.

    • Joe says:

      I get the feeling this team will outplay their opponents for long stretches in group play, but come away with only three points maximum. This bunch will not move on to the knockout rounds with their lack of ability in the final third.

      • TomG says:

        Possibly. They have some guys who are very good finishers potentially, but not clinical, not consistent. That’s the difference. Most other teams in this tourney have players with much more pro experience, much more repetitions.

  24. Adam says:

    Gil looks good going forward, very composed, some very nice passes.

  25. TomG says:

    Cropper with a couple really good stops.

  26. Pete says:

    I’ve been relatively impressed so far. I feel we’ve created as many chances as Spain and look pretty comfortable on the ball. Gil looks really, really good.

  27. TomG says:

    Joya really struggling.

  28. Benny says:

    Too bad the U.S. gave up that early goal. They are looking pretty good so far.

    • Joe says:

      What will happe when our kids begin to run out of steam and start giving Spain more time on the ball? As I type this… The USA looks tired and on their heels and Spain puts another in the back of the net.

      • Benny says:


      • beachbum says:

        looking that way here, good call. US hasn’t played poorly but no finish, Spain loves to finish their chances

        • beachbum says:

          Joe, how did you change your post like that? I was agreeing with what you said re. this US team will play well and look good at times but lose because they can’t score, or something like that about being ineffective in the final 3rd

          I didn’t know there was a way to edit a post on this site

  29. Jersey2Colorado says:

    I just figured it out…. Arlo White sounds like Lord Baelish from GoT

  30. Mig says:

    Man, nothing to say about that shot. Great goal

  31. beachbum says:

    there’s the difference in the 2 teams

  32. Riggity says:

    Well it’s over now

  33. Dc says:

    ah man, this is putting me in a bad mood, gotta shut if off now.

  34. SanFran415 says:

    Taylor Twellman–You think THIS is making Delefeou a star in the making? It wasn’t him getting first team call ups to Barcelona a month after his 17th birthday?

    Kids already a star.

  35. Adam says:

    well, damn, this has gotten bad fast….

  36. jones says:

    oh crap…

  37. TomG says:

    USA technique in closing out shooters and crossers is very poor. Needs lots of work. Just very dumb for Tab to leave off a pro CB like Z?.

  38. fifawitz1313 says:

    Our defense is swiss cheese.

    • jones says:

      yes, terrible. They need to make adjustments, though there might not be anything they can do considering their options.

      It’s just too bad because offensively, while we are still very raw, there are quite a few good things going on.

  39. Travis says:

    Not sure why everyone is saying Yedlin is getting abused, if you are going to call him out how about you call out the rest of the backline? Especially those CBs who are playing terrible. Hes been caught out a couple of times but hardly anything to write home about. Also anyone calling for Yedlin for seniors was overzealous to begin with, he has a ton of potential but still has his issues especially tracking back.

    • Travis says:

      Also it is fairly clear watching the game that Ramos wants his FBs pushed high so naturally there are going to some issues tracking back.

  40. Rimjob city says:

    USA is good at soccer… Not

    • asdlkfasdlfj says:

      lololololololol man you must be some kind of comedic genius. The only thing funnier than that joke is your name

  41. MLBDolie says:

    Holy cow, Javan Torre is terrible.

  42. Francois says:

    Really flattering score line for Spain, they have finished their chances, but the U.S. should have had 2 goals that half. Blown chances and overhit passes when you can put teammates in on goal can’t happen against a team like Spain.

  43. fifawitz1313 says:

    I don’t get the strategy of pushing everyone way high and letting a team as skilled as Spain have 3 v 3 breaks. Against our D, they get good chances nearly every time.

    • beachbum says:

      it’s risky, and seems odd given the line back there

    • TomG says:

      This is JKs attempt to create a unified US style across the whole developmental system. Would we have a better chance at stealing a point if we put 10 behind the ball? Of course, but what would the players learn from that? It’s not about winning. It’s about developing.

      • Don't care says:

        No not really. Reyna had the youth teams switch to a 4-3-3 before Bob was fired

        • beachbum says:

          this is true, and it’s been part of Klinsmann’s push too since he arrived. to his credit he’s adjusted to his personnel. Maybe Ramos needs to consider that too unless other players can step in and shore up that backline?

      • Joe Dirt says:


  44. QuakerOtis says:

    I’ve been encouraged by the attack at times. Ball movement is ok. I feel that we would have put one away if that early goal hadn’t shaken our confidence.

    But then there’s the defense. Res ipsa, and so forth. I know GKing requires some time and development, but on that 3rd goal… c’mon now.

    • Riggity says:

      …I can’t blame the keeper on the 3rd goal, he had time to settle the ball and slot it past the keeper for 10 yards out. Most quality players put those away 9 outta 10 times. Not to mention he bailed us out on another with that great save on the deflection. Someone else said it already, but Spain has been able to break on the counter wayyy too easily and has exposed our makeshift back line…really makes me wonder what John Anthony Brooks would have looked like out there.

      • Brett says:

        It was the lack of recovery after losing possession. One pass and our entire back line was 10 yards out of position and in full-chase.

        Spain absorbed our pressure, let us run in circles, and then simply let us fall over in fatigue so they could step on us.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        True, the shooter had waaay too much time. I just thought that 3rd goal was at such a low velocity that a better GK could have at least knocked it away.

  45. Marlon says:

    I actually like how the US has played. It’s unfortunate that their down three goals.

    • Riggity says:

      Ives said in his podcast he would rather see the US play attractive soccer and not make it out of the group stage. Offensively I would say they are playing attractive for a US team, especially considering the opponent, however, giving up 3 in the first 45 is a really wet blanket…

  46. Brett says:

    Good composure, good movement, bad technique in the box. They got really close 5 times where one touch was the difference between a goal and a turnover. Looks like the norm. Maybe we will get a goal if we can run the ball to the endline and scatter the defensive marking. Otherwise it looks like another disappointing half ahead.

    For a good 20 minutes we looked like the better side, but we failed to cash in. That’s how the game goes sometimes. We have shown, at least, that this Spain team can be contained and even beaten.

  47. SanFran415 says:

    This doesn’t need to be harped on, but is the decision to not bring in Walker Zimmerman going to cost us any chance at a single result in this tournament?

  48. Benny says:

    The defense the last 5 minutes was horrid for the U.S. Some good attackers on this U.S young side but the defense is the Achilles heel of this young side. It’s a head scratcher why Zimmerman is not here.

    • beachbum says:

      US gambled and pushed forward looking to score before the half seemed to me. it didn’t work out

  49. Bean says:

    This is the difference between developing players at a young age. Spain is doing everything right in youth development. We are like Tahiti in the first half, just trying to get at least a shot on target.

    • Riggity says:

      You obviously didn’t watch the Tahiti v Spain game then, the scoreboard is not indicative of the way that half went.

      • Bean says:

        There are remarkable similarities.

        • Adam says:

          I guess you could argue the score, but that is pretty much it…the US had more possession in the first 25 min than Tahiti had the entire game, and created better chances as well.

          • Bean says:

            The US is doing well with possession, but lacking in the final third. The stats say that they have had one shot on goal in 64′ so far. The US team may not be beat as badly in a 10-0 match, but the goal differential will be humiliating.

        • Travis says:

          Not really no, was Tahiti putting pressure on Spain? Were they keeping possession against them?

  50. Chris says:

    I wouldn’t be overly worried by this. With a healthy Packwood, Zimmerman, and Brooks if he had elected to play, this is a very different game. Torre is absurdly poor and Stanko is playing out of position. The fact we’re pressing Spain with some success and keeping the ball as well as them bodes very well for the future. Gil is a stud. Not sure why Garcia is starting over Cuevas though.

    • Marlon says:

      I think after the second half Cuevas had you have your answer. Garcia played really well.

    • Dont Care says:

      Garcia has played better than Cuevas and Rodriguez. Just because he turned pro later doesnt mean he’s a worse player. Especially when Cuevas is still stuck on Santos Laguna youth teams and Rodriguez isnt even playing for his team

  51. Eurosnob says:

    Great points about the selection of Javan Torre. No one should be surprised that a kid who started 5 college games and was subject to NCAA training restrictions would struggle against the top notch talent that professionally trains year round in the top clubs that are known for developing elite talent. But this is not just Ramos’ fault – it’s a scathing indictment to the USSF/Development Academies/College/pay-to-play system in term of how they develop youth soccer talent.

    • Don't care says:

      So you think Ramos not calling in better CB’s that actually play in college is somehow not his fault? Are you sure about that? What’s your excuse for how bad Ocegueda and Cropper look? You going to blame mexican and english youth development

      • Eurosnob says:

        I was talking about the entire system, not just about whether to call up one college kid vs the other. What are the chances that picking another college kid would have shut downt a player who appeared in games with Barcelona’s first team? Pretty slim. Colleges do not develop world class soccer talent – restrictions on the number of hours the players can practice, lack of coaching talent, most teams play long ball – kick and run style, etc. Youth pay-to-play clubs are generally producing players for college game and colleges generally produce MLS level players, MLS is different from pretty much every league in the world (no promotion/relegation, plus salary cap = there is little insentive to raise the level of the game since merit is not rewarded). Cropper is not really a product of English youth development system (which, by the way, also sucks). He played for Maple Grove High School in Minesotta until 2010, was at Brandenton, and with Minnesota Thunder Academy. Ocegueda, Joya, Cuevas played both in California and in Mexico – and they are stronger techically than college players. But thier experience in a professional set up is less extensive and at a lower level than let’s say Deulofeu’s experience, who has been training within Barcelona’s professional system since the age of 9. It was a mismatch to start with even with our best players who play for professional clubs, but putting college kids on the field against Spain did not help.

        • Dont Care says:

          umm calling in a natural CB who actually started games in college would have been much better than Torre. It doesnt take world class players to stop world class players. The US senior team shutout spain with 4 college alumni in defense. Ramos could have called up Jalen Robinson who DC United has been trying to sign for 2 years. One year in college doesnt make an elite pro prospect suddenly garbage. Look at Yedlin, he played two years of college and is still better than any pro options we have. Your damn right world class players arent produced in college they are produced years earlier. College is a place where players can get 1st team minutes at an age when they need them against an always improving opposition. With your description of college soccer i can tell you dont watch and your analysis of it is so off base its not even worth arguing.

          Its funny you blame college soccer for a players lack of developement while with Cropper and Ocegueda you say its earlier. The double standard is hilarious. The fact remains Cropper has spent his last three years in england, same with Ocegueda in mexico, and both didnt look good. You can try to blame college soccer all you want but the problem is years before. I would say Yedlin is stronger technically than any of those you mentioned

          • Eurosnob says:

            I wouldn’t read too much into one win that US had against Spain. A broken clock can show correct time twice a day, if everything falls just right. What was the score the next time the US played against Spain after their famous win? And who won the world cup next year? To be clear, I am not trying to single out college, it’s just a small part of the problem – you can shut down all college soccer programs – and the US won’t start producing world class players. The players who go to college have had years of really lousy coaching before going there. College merely contributes to the existing problems with development. Restrictions on the hours of training, which makes it very difficult to teach players to play intelligently – Porter was one of the exceptions. I think that there is place for college soccer, but it is not for the best players and the fact that we have to call up college players shows the lack of depth in our player pool.

  52. Ben says:

    I didnt know if you are one of the best 3rd placed teams that you go through. this could be a HUGE half for saving goal differential and getting through as a 3rd place team

    • AcidBurn says:

      This. The US can lose to Spain and still make it out of the group with a win/tie or just a win as a 3rd placed team, but it will be significantly tougher if they have to run uphill against a bad goal differential. Talk about potentially blowing the tournament in one half.

      • Ben says:

        Yeah, even cutting GD to -2 whether it be 4-2 or 3-1 could end up being big.

        • AcidBurn says:

          GD at -4 now and counting. Yeeeeeeeesh.

          They better hope this doesn’t come back to dump them out of the tournament.

          Who am I kidding? They will get dumped if they can’t fix that D.

          • Ben says:

            I looked at 2009 u-20 and 3 pts with a -3 got costa rica through, so we may not be finished yet.

  53. SanFran415 says:

    We have a kid who started 5 college games in one season guarding the best U-20 player in the world? Blahhhhhh.

  54. Don't care says:

    Not bringing in Zimmerman is such a dumb move. Torre shouldn’t even be on the team let alone starting. I could name 5 college CB’s better than him that could be on this team.

  55. Riggity says:

    Roger Goddell would fine that kid 50 k for a hit like that in our country

  56. beachbum says:

    that’s a red card. hope someone gets that guy Puerto for it

  57. Rimjob city says:

    Does this team speak entirely in Spanish?

  58. SanFran415 says:

    lol villareal so lucky he wasn’t carded for that

    learning the dark arts already

  59. Riggity says:

    Now you can put that one on Cropper, shoulda stayed home

  60. SanFran415 says:

    what in the *(&D(FD is Cody Cropper doing?!?!

  61. Thomas says:

    Cropper? WTF

  62. Rimjob city says:

    Could be the worst u-20 showing in awhile

  63. zztoppppp says:

    I hope in the next game we see Cuevas instead of Garcia and Lopez instead of Trapp. Thankfully O’Neill will be back as well.

  64. Riggity says:


  65. Larry says:

    Centerbacks are dodgy, but the midfield is leaving the defense exposed. They push forward, force a high line and leave the centerbacks totally exposed.

  66. Adam says:

    man Cropper moves slowly…

  67. Mig says:

    Senor Gil. Well done, young man.

  68. Slowreno says:

    Gil!!! Nice composure to bury that!!

  69. Adam says:

    Gil is quality

    • M says:

      Pelosi and Brooks, too. It shows we are starting to get some quality players but are still years away from having quality in large numbers.

  70. SanFran415 says:

    Glad Spain relaxed enough for us to steal one–definitely going to need that for GD.

    • Bean says:

      Spain stopped attacking, and the US midfield woke up.

      • SanFran415 says:

        Yup. Spain was playing passback with their keeper for pretty much the entire second half. Their coach clearly told them to conserve energy. Whenever they decided to cross midfield they torched us.

      • SanFran415 says:

        Yup. Spain was playing p@ssback with their keeper for pretty much the entire second half. Their coach clearly told them to conserve energy. Whenever they decided to cross midfield they torched us.

  71. TomG says:

    Gil is able to compete because he is a seasoned pro already, just like his Spanish counterparts. Until our lower leagues, academies and reserve systems get cranked up and properly integrated, it will be tough for us to compete in these tourneys

  72. Adam says:

    Yedlin has been a ton better in the second half…pretty much everything they have got going forward has been down the right on his side.

  73. Kevin says:

    And this is why we needed to win the final vs Mexico

  74. QuakerOtis says:


    1. We’re still not Spain, but we have Luis Gil.
    2. Cropper has a lot of, um, developing left to do.
    3. Tab Ramos is successfully implementing a nice attacking style, but we lack the defensive personnel (at this level) to make that work well.
    4. We had a nice spell of possession in the first half… just before we crashed back down to earth.

    In all, nothing new from this match. I would have loved at least one goal, but we looked decent — even pretty good — before the wheels came off at the back, but oh well.

    At least the goal gives us a (long) shot at hanging around the tournament.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Lol, typed part of that up before we scored.

    • Travis says:

      Tab definitely should have called in Zimmerman. Would have been a better game. Its to bad JAB didn’t play with us, would have been a big help.

    • Larry says:

      It’s not just the defensive personnel. There was lack of a holding/defensive midfielder, and the attacking players have a lot sharper at transitioning from attack to defense – reacting quicker at pressing the ball when losing possession.

      In any case, playing a high line against Spain at any level is asking for trouble, unless the team can press cohesively and quickly. I don’t think any of the US attacking players are well drilled in that at the club level.

      The funny thing was that the US dealt with Spain’s pressure rather well – perhaps because the defensive/holding midfielder was playing centerback.

  75. zztoppppp says:

    I hate to sound like another American hyping up a prospect way too early, but does anyone foresee Yedlin or Gil impressing enough to attract some European suitors? I would prefer to see them stay in MLS for the time being to be groomed, but they both have loads of potential.

    • kev says:

      Gil already had suitors (Arsenal), which he spurned to stay in MLS.

    • SanFran415 says:

      Arsenal offered Gil a contract but he wanted to develop at home before going abroad.

      • zztoppppp says:

        Oh wow, I was unaware of that. It may be old news, but it is refreshing to hear because I think out of this group he has the most star potential, followed by Yedlin, Hernandez and Villareal.

    • M says:

      Gil has handled his career pretty well so far, from Bradenton to RSL. Also a lot of credit to Jason Kriess sp? And his staff for Gil’s development

  76. the original jb says:

    I caught the 2nd half and was actually fairly impressed with our attacking players. I assume Spains u-20 is the best or at least a favorite to win the tourney, and it appeared that skill and possession wise we were fairly even with them. The spine of our defense looked physically overmatched and tactically overwhelmed. So if plugging in 2 or 3 solid defenders allows us to compete with the best, it could bode well for the US.

  77. Scott e Dio93 says:

    After 2007, we really start suck in youth national teams.

  78. Ricardo says:

    Someone check out what the US mens teams(( u17, U 20 and U23) have done under Gulati’s watch.
    I blame him for bringing in inept coaches