ISTANBUL – Fresh off a 4-1 defeat to Spain in their FIFA Under-20 World Cup Group A opener on Friday, US national team boss Tab Ramos declared that their aggressive game plan was a risky venture worth taking.
The US went toe to toe with the European power, pressing high and throwing men into attack. However, the Spaniards were able to use the counter to great effect in building a three-goal halftime lead that would stand as the final margin.
"It was a big gamble, to come out and play Spain on their side of the field," Ramos told reporters after the match. "But with the way I see football, it's a gamble I wanted to take.
"I did not want to play on our side of the field and still lose the game. I wanted to take a chance on winning the game and unfortunately it did not work out."
In his postgame remarks, Spain coach Julen Lopetegui admitted that the US gave them a lot more trouble than the lopsided scoreline will indicate to morning newspaper readers. Still, his charges prospered on the break, with a pair of goals each from shifty attackers Gerard Deulofeu and Jese.
"Obviously, today we played an excellent team," said Ramos. "At the same time, we were able to do some of the things we wanted to do. We were able to take the ball from Spain, which hasn't been easy. Even though the score doesn't indicate it, for us, there were some very positive things.
"It's very difficult to press Spain for 90 minutes, yet we did a pretty good job at that. But every once in a while, when the press gets broken, you're vulnerable in the back. When you have players like [Spain's goalscorers] Jesé and Deulofeu, the timing of their runs is excellent. Sometimes, great players will win the game no matter what you do."