The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has reached its final stretch of international friendlies before the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Head coach Tab Ramos and his U-20 side is less than a month away from kicking off the qualifying tournament in Jamaica.
The USA originally was set to hold its final international camp in Jamaica. But with both countries in the same qualifying group, Ramos said it made most sense to find a different locale. Honduras fit the bill for the U-20 MNT’s preparation purposes.
“When we drew Jamaica in our group, we didn’t want to be playing Jamaica right before the qualifiers and then play them at qualifiers, as well,” Ramos said. “That’s not good for either team. So we decided to pull out of that match. … I think going to Honduras, we’re taking the players to a very difficult environment in San Pedro Sula, which we all know from World Cup Qualifying with our senior team. I think this is a good place for us to prepare our team and make them mentally ready to confront the qualifying in January.”
The December camp will feature two games against Honduras and will be the U-20 MNT’s final international games of 2014. The USA last played international competition in Marbella, Spain, where the team earned two victories in three games. The U-20s defeated Russia’s U-21 national team 4-3 on Nov. 12, followed by a 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland on Nov. 15 and a 1-0 loss against Canada on Nov. 18.
“Spain was a great camp for us,” Ramos said. “We had a chance to compete against some very good teams from around the world. The Russian team was very good, very offensive-attacking players who were good on the ball and created a lot of opportunities. Ireland was a very tough team that worked hard for every ball. That’s something that we need to be doing, as well. The Canadian team has a lot of talent this year. So we played three very tough games, and I think it gives us good experience going into qualifying.”