Head coach Tab Ramos (pictured) will lead the USA against Panama in a CONCACAF Under-20 Championship match on January 11 2015, in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Conceding a late equalizer in any match, never mind one in a World Cup qualifier, could understandably weigh heavily over a team’s next outing.
United States under-20 head coach Tab Ramos, though, believes that won’t be the case when his squad faces Panama on Sunday.
The Americans fell victim to spectacular strike by Andy Ruiz in the 90th minute of a 1-1 draw against Guatemala on Friday in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship opener for each.
"We knew it was going to be a very difficult match,” said Ramos afterwards. “Having said that, I'm a little disappointed. We obviously came out for the three points and, unfortunately, we couldn't get it.
"Obviously there was barely any time left. We tried to bring everybody back into the box. The ball got cleared out. There was no one with the man, and the Guatemalan player hit a great shot. You have to give him credit - that was an incredible goal."
Despite not maintaining a lead acquired in the 58th through a Cameron Vickers-Carter header, Ramos is looking for a positive response from his players in the encounter against the Group A table toppers at the National Stadium.
"I don't think it will be one (a letdown), mentally, because if anything it will make us come out on Sunday a little bit stronger for the next game,” Ramos expressed. “It's definitely a learning experience. At the end of the day, we have young players, but they're learning with every international match. And I think this is certainly a good learning experience for us."
In their last meeting at a CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, the U.S. defeated Panama 2-0 on April 2, 2011. Kelyn Rowe, who currently plays for the New England Revolution scored both goals.