Jeremy Ebobisse (left) and Brooks Lennon (right) each scored a goal in the USA's win over New Zealand in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Round of 16 on June 1, 2017, in Incheon, Korea Republic. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
JEONJU, Korea – With players like Josh Sargent and Brooks Lennon in the ranks, United States under-20 national team head coach Tab Ramos knows that his roster is a physically talented one.
He might be more impressed, however, with the mental strength of the CONCACAF champion, which will face Venezuela in the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Sunday.
"The way they fight, not just for themselves, but for each other as well, there's a good winning mentality here," said Ramos, who played for the U.S. in the 1983 edition of the competition. “That's why they came here as champions and hopefully leave here as champions as well."
The Americans, who won Group F, will be up against a Venezuelan side that has tallied a tournament-best 11 goals and hasn't conceded yet.
"Venezuela is a real good team," Ramos commented. "They did well in South America. They beat Argentina there 3-0. They knocked out Brazil. They have done well in this World Cup. Definitely a very difficult challenge for us, but also I think we are a challenge for them."
Forward Jeremy Ebobisse, who scored in the 6-0 win over New Zealand in the Round of 16, was just as optimistic.
"They have some dynamic wingers and forwards, but our defense has been shutting down the [opposition] last couple of games," he said. "I have full confidence in them doing the same. It doesn't matter who they're up against.
"We're going to win. I'm confident."
The U.S. looking for its first semifinal berth in the competition since 1989.