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USA 4-1 Cameroon: The Triumph of Florida Youth Soccer

We knew coming into this U-20 World Cup that the US had a deep, talented squad filled with professional players. My hunch was that the US could perhaps contend to win the title under the right circumstances thanks to the numerous withdrawals of European club based players from other teams.

But the opening match was not promising, with the US side outclassed in every way imaginable by the Germans. Keep in mind the US has advanced out of the Group stage in the last six U-20 World Cups. In each of the last three tournaments the US has knocked off a big name national side. Perhaps that fact led me and others to heighten expectations for the opening match versus the Germans.

Today’s win was made in Florida, as this Floridian will pride fully point out. Brian Arguez, whose youth career in my area of south Florida is near legendary among recent players scored the initial US goal after a nice pass from Miami FC’s Tony Taylor of Jacksonville who led JU into the NCAA Tournament last year. Taylor, who trained with Miami FC for weeks before signing a professional contract last week, scored the second US goal.

But the highlight of night was from Rutgers Dilly Duka, who Red Bull has had an eye on for a while. Duka playing on the left side of midfield delivered a cheeky chip of the keeper from distance, the type of goal that gets numerous you tube downloads and makes a player legendary.

Thomas Rongen made several substantial changes to the midfield and they paid off in a famous American victory. Once again, the U-20s provide American soccer fans with much hope, and this performance answered the critics (including myself) who questioned the desire of this side.

A point on tactics: Thomas Rongen played a 4-3-3 again, today and it worked well. The formation may compliment the US talent level of fast wide players better than the 4-4-2 or perhaps even the 3-5-2. This is a formation Bob Bradley bizarrely tried at Saprissa and perhaps needs to give another look to.

Back to the point about Florida: Some MLS Talk posters find it offensive that I refer to Florida as a hotbed for Football/Soccer. I am not talking specifically about the number of people who fill a stadium for American club football, but about other factors.

These include the ability of lower level national sides to draw a nice crowd for friendly matches that would not draw well in the rest of the country, and more specifically about our youth soccer setup. In recent years, we’ve seen the likes of Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore, and Cory Gibbs, among other emerge from our youth soccer programs, more ready to contribute to the US Youth setup than some kids from other parts of the country.

Much of this, like New Jersey and California has to do with the ethnic makeup of Florida, and how serious football is taken in the communities. This isn’t simply suburban American white kids competing, but serious football from families that value the sport more than just for recreation.

Today we saw Bryan Arguez and Tony Taylor, both developed in Florida (Taylor still plays in Florida for Miami FC) show a touch of class, and Jersey boy Dilly Duka scoring among the most memorable goals recently for any US National Team.

A great win tonight for the United States.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. kyle

    October 1, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Currently as in 2 years?

  2. Ian

    September 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

    EJ also won the Golden Ball at the FIFA U-20s, the only American to only win a scoring title at a FIFA tournament. So that says alot, he isn’t a failure, just struggling currently.

  3. kyle

    September 30, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Hey I hear you Joey on the local pride. I nearly creamed my pants when I saw that Danny Cruz from my state of Arizona was out on the field.

  4. Joey Clams

    September 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Why not, Kyle? Where I’m from we commonly boast about guys who made it to minor league baseball or junior hockey or 1-AA football. EJ is on ther roster at an EPL club. He has been a let down but he can still be the source of some local pride.

  5. kyle

    September 30, 2009 at 2:54 am

    I am not so sure boasting about how Florida produced Eddie Johnson is a good thing.

  6. Tony

    September 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    A great win, but I agree with Osgood on the midfield. Going forward it would be good to see more possesion and creativity in the midfield.

    Good job by Miami FC- saw a nice piece on Clavijo’s plans to sign US youth internationals and develop them in Traffic’s Academies.

  7. LDR

    September 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Great performance for our boys! Good write up also, Kartik. Nice to see Youth Soccer working well in SoFla.

  8. Robert Jonas

    September 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Peter has some great observations from this game. I concur that Cameroon played without discipline and cohesion, and fared poorly due to the lack of a finishing touch. Good on the US to play through the African’s disappointing performance.

    As for the US, I still found their touch to be lacking, especially on possession in the midfield. Too many times I saw passes that were under-weighted intercepted by Cameroon. Same for much of the passes from our central defenders. The wing play was much more promising, and did well to stretch the field of play. They’ll need that skill against the speedy Koreans.

    The US seemed a much more comfortable side today, versus their deer-in-the-headlights look against the Germans. This bodes well for the remainder of the tournament.

  9. peter osgood

    September 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Fortunate 4 1 win if there is such a thing.

    But to be fair that penalty was nonsense, never ever a penalty and FIFA again awards a US match with a referee with a nasty CV. No doubt they want the best African team through.

    The Cameroonians, excellent athletes, were absolutely embarrasing, flopping and diving like 1O Steven Gerrards. One would have thought multiple gun shots had gone off inside the ground.

    If they had any capacity to finish this would have been a 4 4 without the bogus penalty.

    But even if they had scored 4 they would still have given up 4 as they were shambolic at the back, arrogant, undisiplined and ethically challenged.

    Great skill exhibited on all US goals. But why is it, that almost every US manager gives up the midfield? Never a recipe for consistent success. I can’t yet tell if the assmebled midfielders dont have the skill and understanding of how to control it if given the right formation to do so.

    One can always get a couple of results by playing disciplined at the back and hitting teams on the counter, the one recipe US sides have for success. But to get four or five results in a tournament it takes the ability to control the midfield and dictate play for long stretches.

    Fingers crossed, I’d love to see this team reach the final. Would certainly build momentum for the program on African soil. We enjoy a decent amount of African defectors into our system, would not hurt to welcome some more.

  10. soccer goals

    September 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Great Game! Florida boasts promising talent now and for the future.

  11. A-RET

    September 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Isn’t Rongen a Floridan too having played for Fort Lauderdale and coached Tampa Bay and Lynn University?

    You should add that as well to your post.

    Good win today for sure!

  12. Gitecmo

    September 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Yeah Florida . . . where we hate suburban American white kids who play soccer!

    Hurray for us!

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