PUEBLA, Mexico – It's mission accomplished for US Under-20 national team coach Tab Ramos, who completed the mission of guiding his team to this summer's U-20 World Cup in Turkey, but he is adamant that there is plenty more to come from his team.
“The important thing here was the result,” he said in the postgame press conference. “To be honest with you, I thought we would play a lot better.”
He added: “We still have a lot to improve on and to keep working on the fact possession also has to have penetration.”
Though Ramos admitted he was looking for more from his side tactically, he was perfectly happy with the team's mental resolve as they responded to going behind early in the first half.
“I have to give the players so much credit for that,” he said. “Not only are they playing a very difficult game that has a lot of pressure, now they find themselves behind.”
Ramos also suggested that despite the accomplishments of his illustrious playing career, which included a trip to the U-20 World Cup back in 1983, guiding his own players to the World Cup was a special experience.
“Seeing the satisfaction on the players’ faces when they accomplished something big,” he said. “That’s more satisfaction that doing it yourself.”
READ: U-20s: US qualify for U-20 World Cup with emphatic win over Canada
And though the coach is happy to let the players soak in the moment and rest up for the time being, he stressed that the idea is now to move on and win the whole tournament.
“We want to win all the games we play,” said Ramos, in Spanish. “Now we are here to win the tournament.”
That objective is made a good deal more difficult though, considering that Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil, Southampton’s Cody Cropper, Stuttgart’s Jerome Kiesewetter and captain Caleb Stanko of Freiburg are now set to leave the camp and rejoin their clubs.
Right back Eric Miller is also set to miss the rest of the tournament through injury, leaving Ramos with just 15 players as his disposal for Friday's semifinal against Cuba (6 pm ET, Fox Soccer).