View Full Version : USA at the FIFA U-20 World Cup

08-02-2009, 08:28 PM
The FIFA U-20 World Cup is just about a month away and a group of players just completed a training camp and small international tour to prepare. Thomas Rongen's group will be lacking the big names of last year's team like Altidore, Adu, and Bradley, but ESPN's Brent Latham seems to think that the squad will be stronger overall. (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=650907&sec=us&root=us&cc=5901)

Rongen took 17 with him to the Copa de Ciudad Rosario where they faced Australia and Uuguay. The US opened with Uruguay and won on penalties 5-4. Keeper Brian Perk made the save on Uruguay's final shot. Jorge Flores scored both as the US U-20s took the Copa with a 2-0 win over Australia.

Here's the roster that went to Rosario:
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (unattached; Syracuse, N.Y.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest University; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (unattached; Boston, Mass.), Cesar Zamora (Chivas USA; Sylmar, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Dilly Duka (Rutgers University; Montville, N.J.), Gerson Mayen (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), Brian Ownby (University of Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Dillon Powers (Andromeda; Plano, Texas), Michael Stephens (UCLA; Naperville, Ill.)
FORWARDS (4): Sam Garza (University of Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Fuad Ibrahim (Toronto FC; Richfield, Minn.), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville University; Jacksonville, Fla.)

To break down their club involvement, you have 7 from MLS, 7 from college, 2 unattached and one from high school. And I'm not sure why Flores is listed in defense as he is an attacking midfielder.

There will be more players involved and these 17 may not all make the final roster. Among the candidates to go to Egypt are Brek Shea, Jarred Jeffries, Peri Marosevic, Bryan Arguez, Kyle Davies, Mikkel Diskerud, Anthony Wallace and Guillermo Torres. Shea plays for FC Dallas and has experience at forward, left midfield, and left back. Jeffries is a defensive midfielder, currently with Club Brugge in Belgium. Marosevic is at his best behind the strikers and plays for FC Dallas. Arguez is entering his second season with Hertha Berlin. Davies recently left Southampton to join...FC Dallas. Diskerud is flip-flopping between the US citizenship of his mother and Norway, where he was born and currently plays (though he has claimed he will only play for the US going forward). Wallace played in the 07 U-20 World Cup and has 11 appearances for, you guessed it, FC Dallas. And, lastly, Torres is the brother of US National Team midfielder, Jose Francisco Torres.

I'll keep updating until the Cup run ends for the US.

Big Frame
08-03-2009, 07:17 PM
I havent heard of any of these players, and the US cant play Futbol.

Signed, You know who :)

Really, these kids just needs to work together and grow as a team.

08-03-2009, 08:53 PM
I agree to a point. I'd like to see the U-20 continue respectable showings, as we have won our group the last three World Cups and went to the quarterfinals twice, but I think its more important for a player or two to establish themselves as a future star. None of those players have been mentioned as serious competitors for a national team spot and I hope to see one or two of them use the tournament as a major spring board for their careers.

I'm hoping Brek Shea is the one who does it. He is 6-3 and plays left back and left midfield, but was trained as a forward in the lower youth ranks. Despite DeMerit's strong play at the Confederations Cup, and Bocanegra's experience on the left, I still think Boca and Gooch should be in central defense and that left back spot is still wide open. Jonathan Bornstein has put a claim on it, and Heath Pearce is back in the picture, but I think there's still room for more people to join in. I'm hoping Shea plays strong and takes this chance.

08-03-2009, 09:42 PM
How they qualified

The US qualified for the U-20 World Cup by finishing second in the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament held in Trinidad and Tobago, March 6-15. They started with a 3-0 win over Jamaica, with goals from Peri Marosevic, Dilly Duka, and Billy Schuler. They followed that with a 0-0 draw against Honduras, and then defeated El Salvador 2-0, with goals from Brek Shea and Tony Taylor. They finished a top Group 1, with Honduras finishing second.

The semi-final saw them defeat the hosts 4-3 in penalties. Costa Rica then defeated the US 3-0 in the final.

The roster for the US:
Keepers - Sean Johnson (U of Central Florida), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas), Brian Perk (UCLA)
Defenders - Kyle Davies (Southampton at the time, FC Dallas now), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas), Sheanon Williams (unattached), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame), Amobi Okugo (San Juan Lightning Crew)
Midfielders - Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge), Dilly Duka (Rutgers), Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA), Brian Ownby (U of Virginia), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Forwards - Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville University), Sam Garza (U of Denver), Billy Schuler (U of North Carolina)

08-29-2009, 10:48 PM
And here's the roster (http://www.ussoccer.com/News/U-20-MNT/2009/08/Rongen-Announces-21-Players-to-Represent-the-US-at-the-FIFA-U-20-World-Cup-in-Egypt.aspx) that the US will be taking to Egypt:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Central Florida; Lilburn, Ga.), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (Miami FC; Syracuse, N.Y.), Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (Unattached; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabak; Oslo, Norway), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Michael Stephens (UCLA; Naperville, Ill.)
FORWARDS (4): Sam Garza (Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville; Jacksonville, Fla.)

Not too much difference from the group they took to qualify for the tournament. It lacks the star power of the last U-20 which had Adu, Altidore, and Bradley. However, it should be a very strong group with Perk in goal and then Davies and Wallace in goal. Duka and Jeffrey are solid defensive midfield prospects, while Diskerud brings the experience Champions League and UEFA Cup play with Stabaek.

The 21 man roster features 2 European based players, 10 college players, 7 MLS players, 1 USL player, and 1 unattached. If the US plays well and the 10 college guys get a chance, I wouldn't be surprised to see 5 or 6 of them end up with European contracts before graduation.

09-12-2009, 04:48 PM
A couple updates to the roster. Bryan Arguez (Hertha BSC) replaces Sam Garza and Gerson Mayen (Chivas USA) replaces Anthony Wallace.

09-25-2009, 12:58 PM
ESPN SoccerNet's Brent Latham (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=679325&sec=us&root=us&cc=5901) with a preview of the US opener with Germany.

From what I have been reading, the starless US team isn't going to be too poorly off. It appears that this tournament will be more significant for who is not playing in it rather than who is. Of course, the US will be without Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu who are eligible, but have nothing at all to prove at this level and are better off with their new clubs.

The article above makes some interesting comparisons in the diversity of these two teams. Germany is led upfront by a forward born to Congolese immigrants (Richard Sukuta-Pasu) and also features a couple of German-born Turks and a Yugoslavian-born player in the midfield. However, the engine seems to be run by twin central midfielders Lars and Sven Bender. The Benders moved from 1860 Munich to Leverkusen (Lars) and Dortmund (Sven) this offseason. Germany also features Manchester United prospect, Ron-Robert Zeiler, in goal. This team won the U-19 UEFA Championship, which was the qualifying tournament for Europe. Toni Kroos and Marko Marin both qualify for the team, but neither will be in attendance after being pulled back by their clubs.

The US feature their own rock in goal in Brian Perk. Perk, who is shorter and has a lot more hair than your typical US keeper, had four clean sheets in qualifying and replaced Chris Seitz in one match in the 07 U-20 World Cup. The strength in the team will have to come from the defense where captain Kyle Davies has become a regular for FC Dallas, since returning to the States from Southampton. Wake Forest's Ike Opara and 17-year-old Gale Agbossoumonde are competing for the slot next to Davies. Sheanon Williams is likely to start on the right, while Jorge Flores, usually a forward or attacking midfielder, may appear on the left. In midfield, Bryan Arguez, Jarred Jeffery, and Dilly Duka are likely to compete for defensive/holding roles, while Mikkel Diskerud, Gerson Mayen, and Danny Cruz are in attacking roles. At forward, the US have their own Yugoslavian born player in Peri Marosevic who is likely to start, possibly along side teammate, Brek Shea. Tony Taylor is likely to be the forward on the bench.

The US face Germany tomorrow at 10 am. I'll hopefully wake up in time to be on here and giving updates.

09-29-2009, 12:47 PM
I'm at work, so no regular updates, but the US is up 1-0 at the half against Cameroon. By most unbiased accounts (SBI, Yanks Abroad's twitter) it wasn't pretty.

Bryan Arguez scored on the breakdown after a free kick. Not sure who took the kick, but the rebound went to Danny Cruz who laid it back for Arguez in the 44th.

From the looks of the SBI running commentary (http://www.soccerbyives.net/soccer_by_ives/2009/09/under20-world-cup-usa-vs-cameroon-matchday-commentary.html), Arguez has done well, Sheanon Williams has been solid at right back, and Brek Shea has been active and that's been about it.

US started with another 4-3-3:






And Cameroon has a player named Banana Yaya.

09-29-2009, 01:54 PM
USA wins 4-1. Goals from Arguez, Taylor, Duka, and Ownby. Yes, that same Ownby who had one of the worst games I had ever seen. Banana Yaya had the goal for Cameroon on a penalty (and he later got a yellow card). Opara gave up the foul for the penalty, which according

Again, I didn't see the match, but it sounds like Shea stayed active, but ineffective. Aside from the goal, Ownby was relative disappointing. Arguez was dominant in midfield. And the Duka goal was so good that Kanye West interrupted Ownby's goal to say it was one of the greatest of all time.

I'll be watching the match tonight and, hopefully, providing more thorough reports.

USA moves into second as South Korea tied Germany 1-1 earlier today.

09-29-2009, 03:06 PM
Had a moment between work and class to catch the Duka goal. It was disgusting. He sent a curving chip in from just inside the touch line and the keeper didn't have a chance as it landed in the side of the net. At first glance, it looked like a poorly hit cross to a streaking Tony Taylor, but the replay shows Duka looking at the keeper before he hit the ball and then looking at the keeper as the ball sailed off his foot. Amazing stuff, easily goal of the tournament.

09-29-2009, 07:30 PM
Here are the goals. Duka's is around 55 seconds.


10-01-2009, 10:47 PM
Watching a replay of the US v. Cameroon match on ESPN360. Here are my thoughts as the match goes on:

About 7 minutes in now and what I liked from the previous match, I like about this match. Opara and Gale are both comfortable on the ball in central defense. Both look to hold possession and find a useful pass, rather than booting it up the pitch as soon as possible. In the Germany match, I liked seeing Brek Shea taking it at people on the left wing and Danny Cruz, who replaced Ownby in the starting XI, has done the same. Cruz is clearly taking some notes from Dynamo teammate, Stuart Holden.

At 15 minutes now and the commentator said the following of Brian Perk. "He's from Los Angeles...and originally from California."

Twenty minutes in now. Tony Taylor has the speed of Charlie Davies, but lacks the strength and service thus far. I know he scores later on and sets up another, so I'll have a better assessment when he actually gets the ball.

In the 33rd and the US had their first real chance. Tony Taylor got the ball on a breakdown after a corner by Duka and sent it over the goal. I've also noticed that the commentator loves saying Banana Yaya...as he should.

41st minute now and the commentator has a bit of a sense of humor...for a guy who is sitting in a box infront of a television doing play by play by himself for every match of the U20 World Cup. Sheanon Williams (http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/unc/sports/m-soccer/auto_headshot/2232215.jpeg) went down and the guy said he was Welsh.

At the start of stoppage time, we have Bryan Arguez scoring from just outside the six after a setup from Tony Taylor. Most importantly, it was all set up by a useful free kick by Dilly Duka. Opara won it, sent it wide, Taylor caught up, and pulled it back for a rushing Arguez. Seeing Duka take these free kicks and corners and be threatening with them makes me wonder what Altidore, Bradley, Onyewu, and Bocanegra could do with better service than they get from Donovan.

So apparently the feed went from halftime to the 48th minute, so I missed Tony Taylor's goal, which was in the 47th. Thus far, there's a lot of what I read about. The US is playing which much more confidence and a much better attack They're really going for goal now.

In the 54th, Banana Yaya and Dilly Duka had quite the clash of heads. This of course was hilarious to the commentator who loves saying both names. I should also note that the confidence the US is showing in attack is simply not present in the defense.

A very nervy moment in the 60th. A long attacking throw reached the six yard box. A few players from both sides missed headers and the ball ended up hitting an unprepared Gale in the face. Luckily, the ball went wide of goal off his face.

A shocking moment in the 64th. Brek Shea got the ball on the left and sent in a perfect low cross that hit Dilly Duka in stride. I say shocking because Shea has been in the MLS since high school and, therefore, should have never learned to cross so well. Duka was also shocked as he tripped over the ball.

Just saw Duka's goal in the 66th. Its still incredible. All that needs to be said there.

USA had another chance in the 68th as Shea had a break away off of Perk's distribution and sent the ball across the field just inside the center stripe. It went through to Taylor on the right, who took off running at the goal. A short pass inside to Danny Cruz would have set up a goal, but Taylor took one extra touch and ended up committing a foul trying to get it back. 4-0 would have been something.

In the 70th the commentator described a U-17 match he witnessed where Portugal were up 5 in the 75th and ended up with a 5-5 draw against Cameroon. Had I been watching live, I would have passed out.

Taylor replaced by Ownby in the 73rd. Taylor went down with a leg cramp. I was hoping to never see Brian Ownby again, but it happens I guess.

Opara gets a yellow and gives up a penalty in the 74th. Weak call and a pretty sad dive, but this is Larrionda as the ref who apparently gave 5 penalties in one match. I'm just surprised there wasn't a red associated with it as Larrionda tends to give reds at random to American players. In this case, the Cameroon striker was looking for the call before he even hit the ground. He realized his touch went too far and was looking for an excuse to fall. Unfortunately, Opara gave it to him.

A feisty moment in the 78th as Ownby follows through on a tackle on a Cameroonian defender. I get the impression that Gale thought there was some faking on the injury as he sent it out to touch fairly hard and directly at the Cameroon bench. On a positive note, Ownby received a yellow and will be unavailable for the next match with South Korea.

Crazy stat in the 86th. Cameroon has 18 shots, 6 on goal, USA has 15 shots and 7 on goal. Tons of attacking in this one.

There's been a great deal of punt and run at the end trying to seek out Ownby all alone up top. Finally breaks through successfully in the start of stoppage time. It was a terrific finish for Ownby who ran all the way from inside of midfield to just outside of the six before slotting a shot into the far corner of the goal. Nearly another goal at 90+2 as Ownby breaks free again. Lots of work done by him to hold it up and get space for a shot that ultimately went wide.

Overall a strong effort by the US. Dilly Duka was the clear man of the match as he was clearly better than everyone

10-02-2009, 01:57 PM
I got my hopes up after the Cameroon match, but it was for no apparent reason. Korea is up 3-0 in the 79th. USA is a man down and the Koreans are still taking it to us. Worse yet, the team's discipline is completely falling apart. The US has received six yellows in the match (two for Opara) and three of them have been in the last five minutes.

The US are technically still alive. Assuming this score holds, we'll have three points and a -3 goals against, which puts us third in the group. The top four second place teams also go through, so we need some teams to lose and lose big. Making things worse, Italy and Nigeria are both ahead of us.

Here's what's left for the third place battles:

- Uzbekistan (3rd, 0 pts, -4 GD) plays England (4th, 0 pts, -5 GD).
- Best case scenario here is a draw, followed by a 1-0 victory by either side or a 2-0 victory by the English. All four of those results keep the US ahead. The other match is irrelevant to the US as both Ghana and Uruguay are in.
- Worst case scenario is that Uzbekistan win by 2 or England win by 3, then US would be out.

- Costa Rica (3rd, 3 pts, -2 GD) plays Czech Republic (2nd, 4 pts, +1 GD)
- Australia (4th, 0 pts, -4 GD) plays Brazil (1st, 4 pts, +5 GD)
- Best case scenario here is that Costa Rica loses and Australia doesn't win. If Costa Rica loses, need to do so by 2 for the US to move ahead.
- Worst case scenario is that Costa Rica wins, giving them four points and moving them ahead of the US.

- Hungary (3rd, 3 pts, +1 GD) plays UAE (1st, 4 pts, +1 GD)
- South Africa (4th, 1 pts, -4 GD) plays Honduras (2nd, 3 pts, +2 GD).
- Best case scenario is UAE defeats Hungary by 4 or more and Honduras wins or draws.
- Worst case scenario is South Africa wins and Hungary wins, draws, or loses by 3 or less.

Basically, the US are done for unless a lot goes right for them over the next few days.

I'll be sure to update as I think I'm the only person talking about this event at all.

10-02-2009, 04:30 PM

That is Alex Nimely Tchuimeni and he is a big reason why the US is still alive in this tournament. Uzbekistan went up 1-0 over England in the 77th and it was the Liberian born Nimely who drew England level in the 88th. This was England's first goal in a U-20 World Cup match in 12 years.

Now with Nigeria and Italy through as third place teams, the US sits next in line among those who have completed their group stage matches. Czech Republic beating Costa Rica is our best bet to go through as it seems unlikely that Hungary will move low on goal differential.

Its still not likely, but it got a bit more possible.

10-04-2009, 08:07 PM
Despite Costa Rica's best efforts to crash out of the tournament, the US has been eliminated and will be leaving Egypt with just one win the group stage. Costa Rica was up 2-1 in the 63rd and seemed well on their way to victory, which would have moved them into second place in their group and eliminated the US without any questions asked. Then the Czech Republic scored in the 77th and 86th to win and put Costa Rica at 3 points and -3 GD, just like the US. However, Costa Rica wins in goal differential and moves on to face Group F winners, Hungary.

So now that the US is done, who are the names to remember for the future?

- Dilly Duka was the play of the tournament for the US. The Rutgers University player was very calm on the ball and read the game well. Duka's goal against Cameroon will have to be mentioned as one of the goals of the tournament. The rumors of a deal with Anderlecht in Belgium seem justified and it is likely only a matter of time before Duka moves over seas.

- Ike Opara and Gale Agbossoumonde were both solid in defense. Opara was strong and consistent throughout the tournament until his meltdown against South Korea where he was sent off. Gale had a few shaky moments against Germany but did well and remained solid against Cameroon and in the bits of the Korea match I saw. Opara could stand to add some muscle, but when he does, he will have the size and the skills needed to play at the next level. Agbossoumonde has all the physical abilities, despite being just 17 years old, and will likely be a leader when the team returns for the 2011 U-20 tournament in Colombia.

- Brek Shea was active in the attack, though frequently unproductive. It appears that he has been playing at left back for a reason with FC Dallas. Shea was very comfortable tracking back and regularly had to as Jorge Flores is more of an attacking player. Shea wasn't shy about going at the opposition and had his share of strong moments with several dangerous crosses sent into the box. With no one looking to make the left back spot theirs, Shea could get another look leading up to the 2010 World Cup. If not, he will certainly be in the mix after South Africa.

- Bryan Arguez wasn't on the original roster, but ended up being the most effective player in central midfield. Once inserted into the Germany match, Arguez's presence slowed the German attack and provided much needed structure for the US. Arguez is one of the three players already in Europe and he looks like someone who will be staying and playing there for a while. He hasn't had a chance to break in with Hertha Berlin, but could attract a loan move with this performance. As a central midfielder, he has a great way to go before he can break in with the National Team, but he is likely a name to remember for the future.

- Brian Perk was respectable, but at 5-11 and with a full head of hair, he is unlikely to see any time with the US National Team. He could become a very strong MLS keeper with a chance at Europe after a number of years.

Overall, this was a disappointing tournament, but this is kind of a lull in the growth of the US at the youth level. The previous U-20 groups were strong with several future national teamers. Next year's group is likely to feature Gyau, Renken, Lletget, McInerney, Gil, Jerome, and Edwards Last tournament's group featured clear stars like Altidore, Bradley, Adu, and Rogers. Two players who had already been capped for the seniors and five who had been since.

This group just didn't have it. I'm looking forward to seeing what the US U-17 team can do in Nigeria in October.

01-07-2010, 09:40 AM
Gale Agbossoumonde (http://www.soccerbyives.net/soccer_by_ives/2010/01/report-agbossoumonde-to-portugal-on-loan.html) had been on trial with Braga and is now joining them on a six month loan from Miami FC (USL/NASL).

Ike Opara, Sean Johnson, Brian Perk and Dilly Duka are both signed with MLS and will be in the upcomming draft. Perk is likely to be a second round pick as he's a 5-11 keeper, while Duka has a shot at the top 10. Perk's stock rose with Nick Rimando (a 5-11 keeper from UCLA) winning the MLS Cup this year. Johnson was Perk's back-up with the team and is also a late pick. At 6-4, 220, size is not an issue for him. Opara could have been the first overall pick last year, had he come out and is likely to go top three this year.

Jared Jeffery has left Club Brugge for a German side. I think Mainz, but I can't find in the info at the moment.

01-07-2010, 08:55 PM
And Jeffery is with Mainz until 2013 (http://soccer365.com/americans_abroad/story_301209185456.php).

01-21-2010, 10:27 PM
Tony Taylor (http://www.yanks-abroad.com/get.php?mode=blog&entry=58) and Bryan Arguez are with Estoril in Portugal's second division.

As for the MLS folks, Opara went third to San Jose and Duka eighth to Columbus, while Perk (Philadelphia) and Johnson (Chicago) went in the fourth round.

This leaves Aaron Maund, Brian Ownby, and Dillon Powers as the remaining amateur players. Sheanon Williams is somewhere...not sure where. A random blog that I have never seen before and don't think has any real connections has him on trial with Wolfsburg II, but I wouldn't buy it.