BRENT LATHAM - Saturday, September 26, 2009
United States vs Germany
Under-20 World Cup - Saturday September 26, 2009
The American team opened play in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and were a thoroughly dismantled at the hands of Germany.
The European champions completely outclassed the Yanks in Suez, despite having clearly brought a reserves team after most Bundesliga clubs refused to release their star players for the FIFA event.
The Americans were on their heels from the opening whistle against the Germans, who came forward in waves versus an inexperienced US team. Coach Thomas Rongen sent out some unusual choices among his starting eleven, including relative newcomers Dillon Powers and Brian Ownby in the midfield, and Gerson Mayen at right back.
The Germans had almost all of the possession in the first half hour, coming forward on the flank and through the center of the American defense, and testing the limits of the corps led by captain Kyle Davies.
Though Congolese-German forward Richard Sukuta-Paso had the best of the chances, the Americans nearly took the lead in the twentieth minute when midfielder Mikkel Diskerud filtered a carefully weighted ball into the box for Tony Taylor.
The former Jacksonville University man centered for a streaking Ownby, who couldn't make the contact needed to push the ball into an empty net.
The Americans had had their chance, and the Germans pushed forward with more purpose. The attack paid dividends at the half hour mark when Ownby tackled a German attacker in the box, resulting in an easy penalty call for the Japanese referee. Semih Aydalek dispatched the shot into Brian Perk's net, and the Germans had the lead.
Just two minutes later, the Europeans doubled their advantage when their captain, Florian Jungwirth, playing after a last minute FIFA reprieve of a suspension for having been sent off in the final of European qualifying, settled a corner kick in the box and fired off Perk's hands into the corner of the goal.
To add injury to insult, Davies then went down with an apparent head injury, and had to be replaced on the left side of defense by Jorge Flores.
Rongen began the second half by replacing the ineffective Powers with Arguez, and the move immediately paid dividends in settling the midfield. Arguez nearly helped the Americans cut into the lead in the 60th minute, when he fed Diskerud, but the Norwegian dual national's shot was blocked by the German goalkeeper.
Six minutes later Jared Jeffrey came even close when he rattled a 25-yarder off the crossbar. But the Germans put the game away with a third goal on a counterattack in the 72nd minute.
"This clearly wasn't a good day for us," Rongen said. "Give Germany credit, they're Euro champs. It was a long and hard match, we were prepared for that. Maybe we gave Germany too much respect."
On the unorthodox starting lineup, the coach said his hand was forced by the lack of playing time of many of his squad.
"We went with eleven that we felt were the sharpest, the best at this particular junction of their season, plus our scouting report against Germany, and the players that had performed best in our exhibition games," he said.
The Americans next face Cameroon, in Suez on Tuesday, and will hope to take something away from their improved second half performance.
"We have to take the second half and translate it into the next few games, and that's going to be our attitude," keeper Brian Perk said. "I'd say they were probably the better side on the night, but it was not a 3-0 game."
Cameroon defeated South Korea in the night's second match, 2-0, and lead the group along with Germany.