The US U-23 Men’s National Team capped off their final training camp before Olympic qualifying with a 2-0 win against Mexico’s U-23 squad Wednesday night at FC Dallas Stadium. With goals from Juan Agudelo and Mix Diskerud the Olympic hopefuls put together a complete 90-minute performance to claim supremacy over their well established CONCACAF rival.
US coach Caleb Porter selected a squad consistent with the lineup he has used in previous friendlies with the core of the team remaining in tact. Opara, Sarkodie, Kitchen and Valentin made up the back four while Adu, Diskerud, Joe Corona, Juan Agudelo, Joe Gyau and Alfredo Morales rounded out the starting eleven.
A 4-3-3 formation was deployed by the US, which troubled the young Mexicans who looked a step slow throughout the match. The Yanks dominated possession and play, especially in the first half where the US scored two goals 1 minute apart. There were strong performances throughout the park from the US U-23s, as Wednesday was a night were the players seemed to enjoy the beautiful game and could do no wrong.
Impressive showings from Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud in the middle of the pitch helped set things up for the dynamic front-man Juan Agudelo and wingers Freddy Adu and Joe Gyau. Adu and Agudelo both played with distinction and used a combination of youth and experience to impose their force on the match. Recent experiences playing for the senior side has helped both these players grow tremendously.
On the opposite end of the pitch the US back four continue to look strong no matter who’s playing in goal. However, this is not an indication of the Americans weakness in goal, as the goalie position is probably the Yanks strongest spot on the pitch. Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson continue to give Caleb Porter a selection headache. Both young guns played a near perfect half of football Wednesday night to add to Porter's upcoming nightmare selection of who to start in qualifying. Their play during these qualifying matches should give Porter a final idea on who the US number one will be if the squad makes it to London.
Overall, the play by the U-23s was a performance of a well oiled machine. The young yanks were able to perform at this high level in an atmosphere that will be eerily similar to a CONCACAF qualifying match, which will pay enormous dividends in a couple of weeks. The real matches will begin on March 22nd when the US plays Cuba at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee to embark down the long road to the Olympic games.
A possession based philosophy has clearly turned this squad of players into a group which looks able to match their athleticism with the right amount of skill and technique. You can visibly see a careful selection of passes and a methodical approach to dominating their opponents.
What this means for the future is that this crop of players will be more comfortable playing with each other as well as playing within a very specific system and style of play. Many of these players from this system will eventually make-up the player pool of the US Men’s Senior National Team, which is when you will truly see why the success the US had on this day was so important.
Get more great soccer stuff over at US Futblog.