photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The U.S. U-20 national team ended its final camp before World Cup qualifying on Wednesday morning, and it did so in impressive fashion.
Playing against Miami FC, Gale Agbossoumonde, Kelyn Rowe and Omar Salgado scored in each of the game's three 20-minute periods to help the Americans to a 3-1 win. The United States had the majority of the chances and looked the better side for much of the match.
Miami's lone goal came near the death of the second period when goalkeeper Zac MacMath spilled a free kick shot, allowing an attacker to knock in the rebound.
That was one of few bad plays for the United States, which saw impressive performances from Rowe, Agbossoumonde, Joe Gyau, Perry Kitchen and Amobi Okugo.
"I thought it was a pretty solid ending (to the camp)," said Zarek Valentin, who played in the first two periods. "I think it's a little rough playing in two 20 (minute periods) because it's hard to get into a full rhythm, but I think overall you can see real good spurts of what our team has to offer. It's a really good group."
Agbossoumonde, who played stout defensively in his 60-minute performance, was the one to open the scoring, hitting a half-volley against his former team following a corner kick in the first period.
The Americans made it 2-0 in the second period when Moises Orozco split Miami's defense with a good through ball down the center that allowed Rowe to hit a powerful shot passed Brian Sylvestre, who played for the Miami team despite being on the U.S. U-20 roster.
"Our style is a little different than the long ball," said Agbossoumonde, who is leaving for a two-week trial with Swedish club Djurgarden on Jan. 15. "We really don't play long ball. We try to play through the middle, and I thought that we did a pretty good job of it. I thought Kelyn did a pretty good job."
Having surrendered a late goal in the second period, Miami responded with its third when Omar Salgado knocked in a rebound after a shot was deflected by a defender.
The 3-1 victory signaled the end of the first camp of 2011 and the last one before head coach Thomas Rongen has to decide on his roster for World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala in April.
"I've got some tough choices to make quite frankly," said Rongen. "This is maybe the deepest pool that I have had – this is now my fourth time around to try and qualify for the World Cup – in all positions, for that matter."
USA starters in first period (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Zarek Valentin, Gale Agbossoumonde, Perry Kitchen, Moises Hernandez; Moises Orozco, Amobi Okugo, Joe Gyau, Kelyn Rowe, Omar Salgado; Conor Doyle.
USA starters in second period (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Zarek Valentin, Gale Agbossoumonde, Perry Kitchen, Greg Garza; Moises Orozco, Amobi Okugo, Joe Gyau, Kelyn Rowe, Omar Salgado; Conor Doyle.
USA starters in third period (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Korey Veeder, Gale Agbossoumonde, Sebastien Ibeagha, Greg Garza; Dillon Powers, Perry Kitchen, Conor Doyle, Kelyn Rowe, Joe Gyau; Omar Salgado.
What do you think of the U.S. U-20 national team's 3-1 win against Miami FC? Who do you think should be on the World Cup qualifying team? How eager are you awaiting for April to come?
Share your thoughts below.