Rongen, Perk Satisfied With "Tough" Draw Against Honduras

The U-20 USA squad drew 0-0 with Honduras in U-20 World Cup qualifying, but coach Thomas Rongen and 'keeper Brian Perk were satisfied with the performance and optimistic position in which it leaves their qualifying chances.
After crushing Jamaica 3-0 in the opening game of the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifying, the U.S. side slipped to a 0-0 draw against Honduras. Despite failing to score, head coach Thomas Rongen declared himself happy with the position the U.S. team finds itself in.

"As we had anticipated, the game against Honduras was very tough," Rongen said after the match. "We are happy that we were able to put ourselves in a good position to determine our own fate heading into our last game against El Salvador."

One of the big reasons the team kept a clean sheet for the second game running and managed to win a crucial point was's Man of the Match and goalkeeper Brian Perk.

"I'm proud of the way we fought under the circumstances," Perk told "It was a tough game against a tough opponent. I feel like we didn't play our best game but we hung in there and got an important point to keep us in the driver seat in our group.

"Honduras took it to us, and I had to come up with a couple important saves. Thomas told me he was very happy with my performance."

Heading into Tuesday's match against El Salvador, the U.S. side knows that a win will see it through to the 2009 Under-20 World Cup which will take place in Egypt.

"I feel like it is a great opportunity for us as a team," continued Perk. "We control our own destiny and that is all you can ask for in a tournament like this. I feel confident in our team that we can pull off a good result."

One of the key turning points in the game came after an hour when Billy Schuler was sent off by the match referee for a tackle in Jose Fonseca. Perk disagreed with the referee's assessment of the situation, but was proud of how the team stuck to the task a man down.

"Yeah, I had a good look at it, and I never like to question any ref's decision, but maybe he saw something I didn't," he said. "It was an important decision in the match and it is just a testament to our guys to pull through that."

Zac Lee Rigg,