Archive for the ‘Thomas Rongen’ Category

U.S. CLINCHES BERTH IN UNDER-20 WORLD CUP WITH 2-0 VICTORY OVER EL SALVADOR

March 11, 2009

BACOLET, Tobago (March 10, 2009) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team secured a place at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 2-0 win against El Salvador on Tuesday evening in their final Group A match of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Bacolet, Tobago. The 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup will be held from Sept. 24-Oct.16 in Egypt. The trip to Egypt marks the CONCACAF-record 12th appearance for the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the seventh straight.

First-half goals from Brek Shea and Tony Taylor combined with Brian Perk’s third shutout in as many games provided the U.S. with a 2-0-1 record in group play and the top spot in Group A. The U.S. advances to the semifinals where they will face the second-place finisher from Group B, which rounds out play on Wednesday night in Trinidad.

The kickoff time for the semifinal will be determined after the conclusion of the Group B matches. Honduras, who defeated Jamaica 4-0 in the other Group A game of the night, clinched second place in the group and also advanced to the World Cup. The other two CONCACAF berths will come from the top two finishers in Group B.

The U.S. finished the game with only nine players after Shea received his second yellow card in the 60th minute. Shea’s first yellow came in the 26th minute after a foul on Diego Jose Chavarria. In the 60th minute he was shown a second yellow when the referee judged him to have tripped up a Salvadorian player on a 50-50 ball. With only nine players against El Salvador’s full squad, the U.S. was able to hold on for the shutout victory. Jorge Flores was sent off in the 84th minute on a straight red card for a foul that occurred away from the ball.

It was the first time that the U.S. defeated El Salvador in the U-20 qualifying tournament outside of the United States. The U.S. evened their record against the Central American side all-time in qualifying at 3-3-1.

“Even though we only needed a tie tonight, we wanted to be aggressive,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “We did a very good job in the first half of playing together and scoring the two goals. We played three tough games and put ourselves in a position to get to Egypt, which we did. We were able to determine our own fate in this game and I couldn’t be happier with this team as they showed a lot of character through some adversity tonight.”

The game started out at a high pace, with the teams exchanging possession in the early stages. El Salvador got the first good chance of the night in the 12th minute when Fabricio Alfaro unleashed a well-struck shot from long range that looked destined for goal, but Perk responded in time to make the lunging save.

From that point on, the U.S. took control of the game, forcing several corner kicks and winning dangerous free kicks in El Salvador’s final third, but it was a nice build-up in the run of play in the 30th minute that gave them the lead. Brian Ownby, who provided tireless effort down the right wing all night, received a lofted pass from Dilly Duka, cut around his defender and struck a driven cross into the penalty area. Jared Jeffrey dummied the ball to force El Salvador goalkeeper Diego Cuelller to over-commit and leave his net wide open for Shea to easily place the pass inside the far post. Taylor entered the game in the 20th minute, marking his first international appearance, and immediately created one of the numerous dangerous chances he would have on the night, flicking a header just off target.

Five minutes before halftime, Taylor had another opportunity and this time he didn’t disappoint to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. Peri Marosevic slipped a through ball behind El Salvador’s back line and into the box, providing the speedy Taylor time to take a touch and look up before slotting the ball inside the far post. Ownby, who was named ussoccer.com Man of the Match, continued his spectacular play into the second half, creating two opportunities early on. In the 47th minute, Ownby pounced on a deflected ball and ripped a first-time shot that went just high of Cuellar’s net, and three minutes later smacked a hard shot that deflected off a defender and nearly snuck into the goal.

The two teams combined for 44 fouls during the game, but after the U.S. went down to 10 men in the 60th minute they were content to possess the ball and maintain the lead. With rough play continuing, the U.S. went down to nine men in the 84th minute and therefore played with four defenders, four midfielders and no forwards to close out the game. With 12 FIFA U-20 World Cup appearances, the U.S. has qualified more than any other CONCACAF nation, but has never won the regional crown. In 2005 and 2007, when CONCACAF qualifying was held as two groups at two separate venues, the U.S. has won their group. In the previous three editions in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the U.S. qualified for the World Cup as the second-place finisher in their respective group.

U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F USA 2 0 2 SLV 0 0 0 USA – Brek Shea (Brian Ownby) 30th minute USA – Tony Taylor (Peri Marosevic) 40

Lineups:
USA: 24-Brian Perk; 4-Sheanon Williams, 22-Gale Agbossoumonde, 2-Kyle Davies (capt.),11-Jorge Flores; 15-Brian Ownby, 8-Jared Jeffrey, 10-Dilly Duka (5-Aaron Maund, 82), 23-Brek Shea; 9-Peri Marosevic (7-Danny Cruz, 69), 14-Sam Garza (13-Tony Taylor, 21) Subs not used: 1-Sean Johnson, 6-Amobi Okugo, 18-Josh Lambo, 12-Bryan Arguez, Subs not available: 3-Anthony Wallace, 16-Billy Schuler Head coach: Thomas Rongen

SLV: 1-Diego Andres Cuellar, 2-Cesar Antonio Lopez, 2-Andres Eduardo Menendez (14-Herbert Arnoldo Sosa, 77), 4-Moises Xavier Garcia (capt.), 6-Juan Carlos Alas, 8-Diego Jose Chavarria, 9-Andres Alexander Flores, 11-Ricardo Jose Orellana (13-Irza Romel Santos, 66), 12-Mark Lester Blanco, 15-Fabricio Alfaro (17-Gilberto Arnulfo Baires, 70), 20-Jaime Enrique Alas Subs not used: 5-Alexander Enrique Mendoza, 10-William Antonio Maldonado, 18-Oscar Daniel Arroyo, 19-Jorge Luis Moran Subs not available: 7-Irving Arnulfo Flores, 16-Nelson Ismael Rivera, Head Coach: Jose Norberto Huezo

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U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM DRAWS HONDURAS 0-0 TO STAY ON TOP OF GROUP A AT CONCACAF U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP

March 9, 2009

BACOLET, Tobago (March 8, 2009) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team played to a scoreless draw against Honduras in Group A action on Sunday night at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.

The draw keeps the U.S. atop of the group with four points. Jamaica, after a 2-1 win against El Salvador, has three points, Honduras has two points and El Salvador has one. All four teams are still in the running to advance to both the semifinals of the tournament and the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

The U.S. controls its own fate and can secure advancement as one of the top two teams in the group with a win or tie against El Salvador on Tuesday, March 10. Kickoff for the USA’s final group match is 7 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET). Before the U.S. kicks off, Jamaica and Honduras will play their final group game and the match could have major implications for the Americans. If those two teams tie, the U.S. would also be able to advance with a loss to El Salvador.

“As we had anticipated, the game against Honduras was very tough,” said U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen. “We are happy that we were able to put ourselves in a good position to determine our own fate heading into our last game against El Salvador.”Honduras kept the U.S. under pressure throughout the game and in just the fifth minute, Roger Rojas nearly gave the Central Americans the lead. Mario Martinez, who was dangerous on the left wing throughout the game, hit a low driven ball across the goal mouth. Rojas got a foot to it but ussoccer.com Man of the Match Brian Perk made a great reaction save, the first of many for him on the night, to keep the game scoreless.

The U.S. was able to regroup during a break in play in the 35th minute when the stadium lights went out, leaving the venue completely dark. Following the 10-minute delay, the U.S. came out firing, creating some of their best opportunities of the night. Sheanon Williams created three dangerous opportunities with his long throw-ins, but Honduras did well to defend in their own goal area to clear them away. Brek Shea earned a U.S. free kick in the 36th minute, setting Dilly Duka up from about 25 yards, but Duka’s shot missed the target.

Continuing the pressure, Peri Marosevic set up Jared Jeffrey by holding the ball up and laying it off to the midfielder about 20 yards from goal. Jeffrey smacked a one-timer that went high over the net, leaving the game scoreless heading into the half. Similar to the start of the game, Honduras came out of the locker room firing. This time it was Erick Salvador Andino who ripped a shot from long range that forced Perk into a one handed save as he was able to tip the ball over the crossbar. Honduras would finish the game with 11 corner kicks. In the 60th minute, midfielder Billy Schuler, who had entered the game just minutes earlier, was issued a straight red card for a tackle against Jose Israel Fonseca, forcing the U.S. to play a man down for the remainder of the game.

Despite being down a man, second-half substitute Brian Ownby was able to spark the U.S. attack with his speed down the right wing. In the 70th minute, he dribbled through a pair of Honduras defenders and played the ball across the goal looking for Shea, but it was just out of reach. Honduras had an opportunity to take a late lead when Jose Francisco Valladares surprised the U.S. defense by hitting a shot from long range that just missed the far post. In stoppage time, a pair of corner kicks were cleared out by the U.S. defense just seconds before the final whistle ended the game scoreless.

The match was the eighth meeting at the U-20 level between the USA and Honduras in CONCACAF qualifying. Honduras has won half of the encounters, while the United States has been victorious just once.The U.S. will be looking to secure a berth in a record seventh-straight FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The 2009 edition of that tournament will be held from Sept. 24-Oct.16 in Egypt.

The U.S. has also clinched the top place in Group A and will advance to the semifinals on March 13 at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad, against a Group B opponent to be determined. Group B consists of Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago. The third-place game and final will be held on Sunday, March 15. With 11 FIFA U-20 World Cup appearances, the U.S. has qualified more than any other CONCACAF nation, but has never won the regional crown. In 2005 and 2007, when CONCACAF qualifying was held as two groups at two separate venues, the U.S. has won their group. In the previous three editions in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the U.S. qualified for the World Cup as the second-place finisher in their respective group.

Lineups:

USA: 24-Brian Perk; 4-Sheanon Williams, 22-Gale Agbossoumonde, 2-Kyle Davies (capt.), 3-Anthony Wallace; 8-Jared Jeffrey, 10-Dilly Duka, 12-Bryan Arguez (16-Billy Schuler, 53); 7-Danny Cruz (15-Brian Ownby, 58), 9-Peri Marosevic, 23-Brek Shea Subs not used: 5-Aaron Maund, 6-Amobi Okugo, 11-Jorge Flores, 13-Tony Taylor, 18-Josh Lambo Subs not available: 1-Sean Johnson, 14-Sam Garza Head coach: Thomas Rongen

HON: 1-Francisco Javier Reyes; 3-Angel Gabriel Castro, 4-Wilmer Crisanto Casildo, 5-Jose Israel Fonseca, 7-Mario Roberto Martinez, 8-Reinieri Joel Mayorquin (capt.), 10-Erick Salvador Andino, 11-Roger Fabricio Rojas (19-Jose Francisco Valladares, 83), 13-Ronald Edgardo Martinez (6-Esdras Isai Padilla, 54), 16-Johnny Harold Leveron, 20-Alfredo Antonio Mejia Subs not used: 2-Porfirio Andres Boquin, 12-Jose Alberto Mendoza, 14-Cristhian Josue Altamirano, 17-Erick Ernesto Zepeda, 18-Julio de Jesus Ocampo, Subs not available: 9-Julio Ernesto Canales, 15-Antony Ruben Lozano Head Coach: Eugenio Emilio Umanzor

Bernardo Stays At Napoli But European Interest Remains

February 7, 2009

It looks like American forward Vincenzo Bernardo will be staying with SSC Napoli this spring after turning down several offers from throughout Europe. Bernardo had drawn interest from Spain, England, Romania, Belgium, Greece, and among several Italian Serie B and C teams. The strongest offer came from Serie B side Brescia which offered to buy joint ownership (50-50) of the young player – an offer Napoli refused.

So, Bernardo will stay with the club this spring, training 70-80% of the time with the first team but will be loaned out short term to the New York Stars to play in the prestigious Torneo Viareggio. While he remains available for the US U-20 team, some interesting whispers are coming out of the Castel Volturno clubhouse; that the Italian national team has asked the club for information on Bernardo.

If true, this comes as no surprise since not 48 hours after this article appeared on Soccer Times, a televised report appeared on Sky24 (Italian national news channel) claiming that the US was “calling up young Italian players” in a tone which indicated the Stars and Stripes were poaching foreign youth players. They seem to conveniently forget that the next great hope of the Azzuri, Giuseppe Rossi, was born in the same US state as Bernardo, New Jersey.

It only makes sense that someone from the Italian youth program would want to know more about Bernardo and possibly Nazzani since both are up and coming players within their Serie A teams’ reserve systems. So, I wouldn’t read to much into it…yet.

Arguez, Three Others Sent Home From US U-20 Camp

January 3, 2009

Steven Goff and others are reporting that Hertha Berlin’s Bryan Arguez and three other unidentified players were sent home from the recent US U-20 camp, reportedly for disciplinary reasons. For Arguez in particular, it confirms a pattern of disciplinary problems which began early in his tenure at Hertha; missing practice and showing up late for practice – unpardonable sins when you are being paid to play. The press in Berlin is already lambasting Arguez for being tossed out of the US camp and wondering aloud when his club will do the same.

Last summer, Arguez had been whispered as a strong possibility to seee significant playing time for the high flying Hertha this year before disciplinary issues put the rangy midfielder into coach Lucien Favre’s doghouse. Since then, he’s made only one appearance with little hope of seeing the field in anything but a reserve team match. Still, he is young (20 years-old), loaded with talent, and has a chance to redeem himself if he can cease this pattern of standing out for all the wrong reasons.

Its not clear yet who the other three players are but according to Goff, they’ll all be eligible to return to the next U-20 camp. I hesitate to speculate on who they may be but the truth will come out eventually.

One thing these young players will learn quickly is that while clubs enjoy the honor of their players being called up for national team duty, they are not amused when those same players are sent home under such circumstances. There will be some awkward moments for each of them as they return to their club team’s training camps over the next few weeks.

While many players are ready to play at the next level, not all are ready for the level of scrutiny and professional standards which are expected by coaches and team management. I’m glad that U-20 coach Thomas Rongen is putting the hammer down now, six months before the world championships, rather than trying to correct disciplinary problems in the coming months.

Its Official: Subotic To Play For Serbia

December 24, 2008

Well, its official now that Neven Subotic has decided to play for Serbia and has informed both the US Soccer Federation and the European press. Its a shame that this rising defensive star won’t suit up for the Stars and Stripes but I’m not really that bothered by it given the wave of talent we have coming forward. Our central defense is still very healthy with Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra playing some of the best soccer of their careers right now.

When I look at the quality of the US U-23 and U-20 players coming up these days, it is obvious that enough talent will be available to make up for the loss of players such as Subotic. Our Olympic team had enough quality last summer to have won the gold medal – something we couldn’t always say in the past. Instead of European clubs hiring our proven vets, they are scooping up our young talent – can anyone say Altidore, Adu, Bradley, Zizzo, Szetela, Bernardo, and soon Kljestan, Wynne, and others?

I know some of you will want to blame Thomas Rongen, who reportedly rubbed Subotic the wrong way – please don’t. Rongen is a respected coach because he knows the game well, trains his players hard, and calls them like he sees them. Besides, he is Dutch – a people known for their blunt honesty and disdain for doublespeak (yet another reason to love them). Does anyone really think if Rongen had given Subotic the “Barney” treatment he would be suiting up for the USA? Please!

So my fellow US soccer fans, let’s wish Neven the best of luck playing for his father’s homeland and not get too whiny over this development. There are still lots of hungry young players busting their tail every day for a chance to one day pull on that US jersey (and bring home some silver for a change). Let’s focus on supporting them.