Last Monday night's U-20 opener for the U.S. national team against Haiti was without a doubt hard to watch, for fans and for coach Tab Ramos. Friday night's win over Costa Rica was more palatable, although it still left plenty to be desired.
On Tuesday comes the all-important quarterfinal round. The 2011 U-20 flameout in Guatemala still smarts for U.S. Soccer, and this team can make it right with a victory. But with an unpredictable Canada side on deck, the Yanks will need to step up their game another notch to make the 2013 U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. has yet to click on all cylinders under Ramos, much less in Puebla. The performances the Americans have put in against Haiti and Costa Rica wouldn't be good enough to challenge a team such as Mexico for the tournament title -- and might not be good enough to get the U.S. past the quarterfinal matchup with a Canada side that already has beaten it once this cycle (a 2-1 win in a tournament last summer in Marbella, Spain).