Categorized | U-20

Germany make Leberwurst out of U.S. at U-20 World Cup

Posted on 26 September 2009 by arozsa

All the conversation about the 2009 United States U-20 World Cup squad has focused squarely on what the squad is seemingly lacking: star power. There is no Michael Bradley, no Freddy Adu, no Jozy Altidore this time to trouble the opposition and make the key play at the key moment. Youth tournaments, however, are notorious for revelations. The 2005 squad, which featured a younger Adu as its talisman, was more notable for the emergence of Benny Feilhaber and Marvell Wynne as impact players with senior team futures.

Expectations are muted for the squad this time around. On top of missing the still eligible Adu and Altidore, the US will be without Anthony Wallace, stalwart left back of the 2007 team, who will miss the tournament with an injury. However, as we all know from following the senior team, there is no more dangerous US team than an unfancied one.

Fancied or no, the talent has to be there. The Germans will provide the test.

1st Half

The Germans dominated the first 15 minutes. They crushed every US possession and the immediately threw numbers forward. When not attacking in numbers, they went over the top to their physically impressive lead striker. They could not convert on a number of chances however.

The US began to claw back into around 20 minutes in, as they began to close down Germany more aggresively and move into the attack quickly through Brek Shea and Tony Taylor particularly.

30th minute – The US go down 1-0 after a somewhat clumsy tackle by Ownby, followed by the German attacker letting himself fall. The Japanese ref buys it, and books Ownby in the process, who for some reason is having to defend more than he would like.

33rd minute – The Americans are rattled, and the Germans stream foward and get their second, as a cleared corner gets rocketed back towards Perk. When you get two hands on the ball, you’ve got to keep it out.

34th minute – Things go from bad to worse, as Kyle Davies cannot continue, and Flores will replace him. Not a good five minutes.

Halftime
The game has settled down, as the Germans are content to reduce the pace due to their lead and, presumably, the heat. The US backline didn’t play badly, despite finishing the half with three of their four projected starters gone (Wallace, Williams, Davies). The midfield, however, is physically overmatched. Germany is aggressively winning the ball and using that platform to launch their most effective attacks. When the attacking players are finding space, they are desperately lacking the final ball, overhitting Tony Taylor on run after run.

If the US are to compete, they need to free up Mix Diskerud, who alone seems capable of making the final pass, to feed Taylor and Brek Shea who have the physical properties to menace Germany. A wide presence might help the US spread Germany out and keep them from surging forward from their compact shape.

Arguez on at halftime for Powers. Bundesliga for NCAA. Let’s see if the US can solve the midfield.

2nd Half
First 15 in half two, the Germans seem to content to sit on this lead, which I don’t quite understand. They looked the most convincing when pressuring in midfield…perhaps the heat has convinced them otherwise. If the US can get a goal before the 75th, they’ll be in the reckoning for a point.

67th – The US starting to win the challenges in midfield as Mix and Arguez begin to gel with Flores and Mayen providing support out wide. Jeffry hits the crossbar after a nice layoff by Shea. Great chance…won’t get too many more like that. Germany look to be contemplating some changes as they are starting to lose their grip on this.

69 – Taylor is dropping very deep, getting the ball and unsettling the Germans by running straight at them. Arguez has really settled things down from his deep midfield role. Final passes and crosses are still quite awful from the US.

72 – US caught on a counter, 3-0. Rather flattering to Germany, as the US carried the play for 20 minutes or so. The goalscorer looked offside as well.

78 – US is thoroughly defeated. The midfield naively giving the ball away in bad spots, and the backline repeated launching long balls to no one in particular.

Final
Bottom line: This team cannot score. Tony Taylor looked sharp from a withdrawn position, but that was it. The defense, despite a wealth of injuries, didn’t look bad. Germany scored on a soft penalty, a goalkeeper error and a counter attack against the run of play…game over. If the US wins a game at this tournament, it’ll be a 1-0 result. They’ve got to be error free. We’ll see if they are up to it.

U.S. U-20 YNT Ratings

GK – Perk – 5 – Didn’t really make any big saves. Got two hands on the second goal, but let it by regardless. That one is on him.

CB – Agbossoumonde – 6 – Soild in the air, but looked shaky on the ball.

CB – Opara – 7 – Very strong in the tackle, albeit with poor timing at the start. A promising player.

RB – Mayen – 5 – Soild enough on defense, but poor going forward, giving the ball away in bad spots.

LB – Davies (c) – 5 – Didn’t look right from the start, and came off for an unclear reason. Perhaps he was ill?

CM – Diskerrud – 6 – The US looked best when he was on the ball, but the runs off the ball for him to pick got more haphazard as the US pushed more men forward.

CM – Powers – 4 – Looked out of his depth. These aren’t college players.

CM – Jeffery – 5 – Improved as the game went on. Looked better when closer to the area.

LF – Shea – 5 – Physically imposing but lacking in technical skill and speed of thought.

RF – Ownby – 4 –
Quick and willing, but sorely needs to learn to time his runs. Gave up the penalty on a innocuous but clumsy tackle.

S – Taylor – 7 –
MOTM for the US. Dropped back to midfield to get the ball in the 2nd half and unsettled the Germans. Looks a terrific prospect.

Subs

LB – Flores – 5 – Pressed into duty. Offered nice support going forward, but simply cannot cross the ball with his only good foot.

CM – Arguez – 6 – Imposed his will early after coming on and settled things down, but faded despite only playing one half.

CM – Duka – 6 – Game was settled by the time he came on, but looked a decent player.

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