When the coach Tab Ramos saw the group his U-20 side was drawn in, he knew the United States had an uphill battle.
With France and Ghana still to come, the U.S. were dismantled by Spain 4-1 in their opening match.
Many criticized Ramos’s attacking tactics which left the back line vulnerable, but he never abandoned them despite the scoreline. Following the match, the coach said he was pleased with not only his approach but his squad’s execution.
“It was a big gamble, to come out and play Spain on their side of the field,” Ramos said postmatch. “But with the way I see football, it’s a gamble I wanted to take. I did not want to play on our side of the field and still lose the game. I wanted to take a chance on winning the game and unfortunately it did not work out.”
The forward style didn’t see the U.S. leave the match entirely empty-handed, as Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil eliminated Spain’s clean sheet with a fantastic 25-yard blast 13 minutes from the end.
“Obviously, today we played an excellent team,” said Ramos. “At the same time, we were able to do some of the things we wanted to do. We were able to take the ball from Spain, which hasn’t been easy. Even though the score doesn’t indicate it, for us, there were some very positive things.”
Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu impressed the most of anyone on the pitch, scoring a brace for Spain and running rampant through the U.S. back line. Ramos mentioned him by name following the match, saying “sometimes, great players will win the game no matter what you do.”
The U.S. will play France on Monday at 11 am ET in attempt to grab points and make it out of their incredibly difficult group.