Ramos knew US U-20s could beat France with passing, not bunkering

The US U-20 men's national team don't view their 3-2 win over France at the World Cup as much of an upset. 

Lining up against experienced professionals who play for Borussia Dortmund, PSG and some of the world's best clubs, the US weren't intent to simply bunker deep, defend like crazy and hope to squeeze a goal on a counterattack or set piece. They stepped onto the field at Stadion GOSiR in Gdynia, Poland ready to eliminate one of the heavy favorites at the tournament with good soccer.

"I didn't feel, at any moment, that we could beat France by playing long balls and clearing the ball," head coach Tab Ramos said after the match. "I felt that if we were going to beat France, it was about making them chase us at some point."

The US went into halftime 1-1 but fell behind by the 55th minute as France took the lead and looked to finish the game off. Ramos' side didn't budge, then made a key double substitution -- bringing on Justin Rennicks and Uly Llanez -- which ultimately led to a game-tying goal, allowing Rennicks to score the game-winner in the 83rd minute.

"We have the drive, we have the players," Rennicks said. "We're a team that if you underestimate us, we'll punish you."

Real Salt Lake academy product and current Hannover striker Sebastian Soto scored the team's first two goals, bringing his tournament total to four. If not for Erling Haland scoring nine goals in Norway's 12-0 rout of Honduras, he'd be tied for the tournament's lead in goals.

"Sebastian is growing as the tournament is going on," Ramos said. "He's in a good place right now, he feels confident in front of goal. You know how that works: When your No. 9 gets some confidence it transmits to the rest of the team. If you create a couple opportunities, he's going to put them away. I'm happy with where he is."

Soto thinks there's much more to come.

"I wouldn't say I had the best game, I kind of felt that," Soto said. "I wanted to go back to my roots, try to score and change the direction of the match. I realized if I'm going to make an impact, I have to score." 

Now, the US turn their sights on a quarterfinal match against the reigning South American champions Ecuador on Saturday (11:30 am ET | FS2). 

"We played Ecuador at the last World Cup, a 3-3 match and it was a very good soccer game," Ramos said. "This Ecuador team is better and now they're South American champions, it's something we have to deal with. It's an athletic team with speed on the wings — they're a complete team. They are where they are because they play good soccer."

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