The US U-23 Men’s National Team scrimmaged new NASL side, the San Antonio Scorpions FC, Friday night in Frisco, TX and won the competition 3-0. Goals from Brek Shea, Dilly Duka, and Jack McInerny led the US youth internationals to victory.
The play from the 2nd tier side was spirited and organized, which allowed the Scorpions to stay level with the US U-23s through the first 45 minutes. Although the match was dominated much in part by the midfield and the defense of the US team, the Scorpions managed a few decent attacks in the first half.
Despite the US’ dominance, it wasn’t until the second half that the constant pressure from the young Olympic hopefuls equated to a goal, as Brek Shea found the net in the 53rd minute. Shea, who’s goal was his second in two games during this camp, easily finished a cross delivered by Juan Agudelo.
The second goal came from an inventive piece of individual skill from Dilly Duka on the left hand side of the box 9 minutes later. Then, in the final third of the match Jack McInerny headed home from point blank range after the goalie failed to punch out a Tony Taylor cross.
Next up for the U-23s is their heated rivals, Mexico. The young yanks will face their CONCACAF “friends” on Wednesday at FC Dallas Stadium, which will provide the Americans with an important test run ahead of qualifying matches in March.
“There’s never a friendly game against Mexico. We’re all excited, for most of the guys it’s the first time they get a chance to play against Mexico on such a stage and every time you get a chance to play against your arch-rivals in a televised match, it’s exciting,” said US midfielder Freddy Adu.
When analyzing the 2012 Olympic team, one could easily draw comparisons to the 2008 side which competed in Beijing due to the talented attackers featured on both rosters. Freddy Adu actually may get a chance to play for both the 2008 and 2012 US Olympic teams should the Americans qualify for the London games.
“Both squads were pretty stacked. I think a lot of people are excited about this group because a lot of guys are involved in the (senior) National Team and this team has a lot of very good players,” Adu went on to say when asked about the 2008 Olympic Team, which featured the likes of Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Robbie Rogers just to name a few.
“I hope to use that experience that I had with the last group and bring that to this group and help us qualify and compete in the Olympics,” Adu added.
When looking at the style of play displayed by the ‘08 team vs. the ‘12 team, it is clear that Jurgen Klinsmann’s attacking, yet possession oriented 4-3-3 has had a trickle down affect on the U-23’s.
“It’s two different styles of play, this squad likes to play soccer. We play a more 4-3-3 and we like to keep possession and the ball moving, almost like ‘Toca y Toca’ and I love that. That’s my style of play, and it suits me a lot better,” said Adu.
One thing is certain no matter what comparisons or differences you look at, the 2012 team is hoping to not only qualify but also to move past the group stage of the Olympic tournament, which is something the star-studded ‘08 team failed to do. In order to accomplish this seemingly lofty goal, you do not have to look any further than Freddy Adu and his ability to pull all the strings in the midfield. It will be Adu’s show, now it’s time to see if he can get a standing ovation.
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