The United States drew, 1-1, with France in their FIFA Under-20 World Cup match on Monday.
Tab Ramos was looking for a response from his team after it was thrashed, 4-1, by Spain. In the first half against France, the United States were much better defensively. They didn't allow France to get a lot of great chances on goal.
The biggest problems were up in the attack.
The United States had chances to counter, but Alonso Hernandez was very poor. He took too many touches in the box, allowing the defenders to get back and organize before the US could take any sort of advantage.
ESPN's Jeff Carlisle was less than happy with Hernandez's performance.
'30 US 0-0 France; US defending much better, but conceding too many set pieces for my taste. Hernandez brutal so far tho up top. #usynt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) June 24, 2013
The first half ended 0-0, which was probably the most fair result. Neither team could get much going, nor could either dominate for long stretches.
All of the Americans' hard work was undone less than a minute into the second half.
Javan Torre brought down Dimitri Foulquier near the 18-yard box, causing the referee to whistle for a penalty. Replays showed that the foul looked to have happened a yard or so outside the box, so the United States were a bit hard done.
EPL Talk's Kartik Krishnaiyer didn't feel it was a penalty.
Horrible call going against the US...never a PK.— Kartik Krishnaiyer (@kkfla737) June 24, 2013
Yaya Sanogo stepped up to take the penalty. He didn't hit it very well. Cody Cropper guessed right, getting a hand to it, but the shot still made it in to put France up 1-0. Cropper probably should have done much better to keep it out considering Sanogo made it rather easy for him.
The goal was exactly what the United States didn't need. France has the talent advantage, and with a one-goal cushion, they could sit on the ball for the rest of the game. Ramos doesn't have the quality of players who can chase a game under those kind of circumstances.
The United States did get a bit of a gift in the 64th minute. Mario Lemina was given a foul for a challenge on Mario Rodriguez. The referee pointed to the spot in what was another dodgy penalty call.
Unfortunately for the United States, Luis Gil's poor penalty was saved by Alphonse Areola.
American soccer expert Jason Davis felt Gil gave Areola an easy job with his run-up to the kick.
Telegraphed. Body open the whole way.— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) June 24, 2013
As the match went on, France was not able to distance themselves from the US. They dominated much of the possession but couldn't create any great chances in the final third. It was a problem that would haunt them down the line.
In the 85th minute, the United States had a free kick in a dangerous position. Gil laid it off to a teammate, France couldn't clear it and the ball fell to Daniel Cuevas. He flicked it into the left side, leaving Areola with no chance to save the shot, making it 1-1.
Ives Galarcep of Soccer By Ives felt the US had earned the equalizer, even if they needed a bit of luck on the free kick.
GOAL USA!! Daniel CUEVAS!!! Off the Gil free kick, bounces around, and Cuevas finishes. 1-1. Totally deserved. 85th minute— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) June 24, 2013
Davis thought the goal evened out considering how close the France wall was. It was supposed to be 10 yards back.
That was an admittedly ugly set piece, but there's no way that wall as 10 yards away.— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) June 24, 2013
France created some chances late. A draw was the fair result in the end, though. You couldn't separate these teams by very much on the pitch.
It's one point gained for the United States and two points lost for France.
Things don't get any easier for France. They face off with tournament favorites Spain in their next match. The French will need a much better effort to get anything from that game.
The United States get Ghana, which will probably be their easiest match of the group. If the US can get three points, they've got a great chance of advancing to the knockout stage considering some third-place finishers make it past the group stage.