The former U.S. national team midfielder will lead out the Baby Yanks against El Tri on SundayThe U.S. U-20 team qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a quarterfinal win over Canada, and then defeated Cuba to set up a final meeting with Mexico.
Head coach Tab Ramos sees the achievement as an important indicator of the progress the U.S. is making.
"I learned today that for more than 30 years, the U.S. didn’t win four games in a row in a CONCACAF competition," Ramos told Goal.com in Spanish over the phone. "So doing so is important because we can show that we have good players. Being at the final is getting at the place that we have to be."
He was also realistic about the fact that his squad would be deprived of some of its most important players for the final. Real Salt Lake's Luis Gil, along with Germany-based Caleb Stanko and Jerome Kiesewetter have returned to their clubs.
"The teams only gave us those players until the match on the 26th, So If we lost, we would have had to go back home together, but since we won as we did, those players had to go back to their teams. I have to accept that, because that is the way things works, we have no option.
"Look at Mexico, they have their full squad, we would love to have all the players available for us but it couldn’t happen."
He insisted that the pressure to win the tournament was not on the United States, with its weakened squad, but on its Mexican opponent, defending its crown on home soil.
"The U.S. has never won this tournament so I think yes, it should be (Mexico’s) obligation"
Despite the weakening of the squad, Ramos declared himself pleased with the progress his group has made as a team.
"The team has been getting better in all aspects, in ball possession, defense and attacking. I think that is normal when you have the complete squad for some time. For the first game some players had been with us just a couple of days.
"When all the players can work together and get to know each other better on the field, the major advances come."
John Rojas contributed reporting to this article
Click here to read Goal.com's full interview with Ramos in Spanish