PUEBLA, Mexico – Tab Ramos is in no mood to fan the flames of the Canada-United States soccer rivalry.
The US Under-20 national team coach is focused only on preparing his team for Tuesday’s vital match against the Canucks (6 pm ET, Fox Soccer) and securing a place for his side at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey. With a victory in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship here against their neighbors to the north, the Americans will secure a berth in this summer's big show.
“To me, Canada is another opponent,” Ramos told reporters after Sunday's training. “At this point, we’re just preparing for our next opponent and that’s it.”
Ramos added that he has no special memories of playing for the full national team against Canada, but was complimentary about his counterpart, Canadian U-20 coach and former Toronto FC caretaker Nick Dasovic.
“I know him a little bit,” said Ramos. “I know he’s a very nice guy, he’s prepared his team very well and he’s done a good job with his group.”
The US coach wouldn’t be drawn on whether he would be changing his team up for the Canada showdown or the specific threats they pose, only stating that he is expecting a good matchup on Tuesday.
“Canada is a very good team,” he said. “It’s going to be a very tough game. They have skillful players, they’ve had the team together for a long time and they are a well-prepared, well-oiled machine.”
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.