Boyd, Lletget score in final U.S. U-23 scrimmage of training camp

U.S. Crest

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

BRADENTON, Fla. — The U.S. Under-23 men's national team wrapped up its December camp with a second intra-squad scrimmage on Thursday afternoon, and the competition for roster spots set the tone for a physical and fiery match.

Split up into white and blue teams, the 29 players in camp (Bill Hamid left camp earlier in the week due to family reasons) took part in a windy match at IMG Soccer Academy that saw its share of physical play and rough challenges. The White Team was victorious in the chippy 2-0 affair courtesy of second-half goals from Terrence Boyd and Sebastian Lletget.

"At the end of the day, these guys are a team but they're also fighting for spots You could see that," said head coach Caleb Porter. "They're pros, they're competitors and when the game is on the line, they're going to want to win. That's good. At times, they got a little carried away but I'd rather it that way than to have a bunch of guys that don't care.

"Clearly, they care."

The match marked the end to Porter's first camp with the team. Porter will hold his next camp in January in Los Angeles, and the U.S. U-23 team will play two friendlies in Costa Rica towards the end of it.

"We're going to play Saprissa and Alajuelense, which will be good," said Porter. "We need to get games. You can try to fabricate a game, and we got a lot of questions answered.

"Training is one thing, which is to see guys in elevens, so that was good," Porter said. "But we need to also see them in a real game against another opponent in hostile environments, see how they respond, so that's the thought behind those two games." 

Here are some observations from Thursday's match:

INTRA-SQUAD GAME LINEUPS

*White Team (4-3-3): Sean Johnson (David Bingham, 45'); Sheanon Williams, Royal-Dominique Fennell, Sebastien Ibeagha, Kofi Sarkodie; Michael Stephens, Bryan Arguez (Jared Jeffrey, 45'), Sebastian Lletget (Mikkel Diskerud, 45'); Will Bruin (Andrew Wooten, 45'), Terrence Boyd, Jann George.

*Blue Team (4-3-3): Zac MacMath; Zarek Valentin, Andrew Wenger, Gale Agbossoumonde, Jorge Villafana; Amobi Okugo, Joe Corona (Kelyn Rowe, 45'), Dilly Duka (Danny Cruz, 45'); Jack McInerney (Joe Gyau, 45'), Teal Bunbury, Freddy Adu.

*Some of players substituted at halftime returned to the game during the second half.

GAME OBSERVATIONS

Terrence Boyd scored a beautiful goal from 20-25 yards with a toe-poke blast near the midway point of the second half. That was just part of the impressive game Boyd, the White Team's captain, put together. He was active throughout and not afraid to get into challenges, though he should have been sent off prior to scoring his goal when he got a second yellow for a rough challenge on Zarek Valentin.

Amobi Okugo delivered a strong performance as captain of the Blue Team. He covered a lot of ground, broke up several attacks with timely tackles and linked up well with the attack. He got Boyd to receive a yellow card when the German-American forward wrestled him down from behind in an attempt to get the ball.

Sebastian Lletget scored on a well-placed shot just inside the penalty area, and looked good atop the White Team's midfield triangle. He was active in the first half, and kicked it up a notch in the second when he had Jared Jeffrey and Mikkel Diskerud playing behind him.

Dilly Duka looked good in the first half, constantly in the thick of things as the Blue Team enjoyed a better first half than the White Team. Duka did well atop the midfield triangle, creating several chances for his side.

Mikkel Diskerud came off the bench at halftime and helped turn around the White Team's fortunes after a first half largely dominated by the Blue Team. He was tidy in possession save for one terrible back-pass that went to an opposing player in the final third, and he had one bending free kick that was just high.

Freddy Adu failed to make much of an impact. He had a couple of nice plays but was sloppy with some passes that should have been routine for him. He also didn't create much for himself or his teammates. Porter talked after the game about Adu, saying that he showed his quality over the week-long camp, but that he needs to pick up his fitness.

Teal Bunbury was a real threat in the first half with his size and speed, but he was never able to break free on goal. Bunbury went down several times just when he looked ready to beat his defender, but the referee did not whistle anything in his favor.

Sebastien Ibeagha struggled after having a strong showing in the earlier intra-squad match. He had his hands full with Bunbury, and also had a couple of bad passes out of the back.

Gale Agbossoumonde had a mixed showing. He looked good in the first half, passing well out of the back, making runs forward with the ball and coming up with well-timed tackles. The second half was a different story, as he distributed the ball poorly on a few occasions.

None of the goalkeepers had much work to do in the scrappy game, though the save of the match came from Zac MacMath in the second half when he denied an opportunity with a quick reaction.

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44 Responses to Boyd, Lletget score in final U.S. U-23 scrimmage of training camp

  1. SD says:

    one again, thank you for the update.

  2. CO says:

    I really like this type of coverage. Keep up the good work!

  3. jon says:

    where was gyau?

  4. kimo says:

    Another GREAT report. Thanks Ives. Once again, the Adu “needs to work on his fitness” specter pops up. When is he going to get it? If he hasn’t learned it by now, I’m afraid he never will.

  5. Eric says:

    True, but keep in mind that he hasn’t been playing like many of the others lately. Boyd, Diskerud, and the others have been playing in either reserve matches or with the GenAdidas team in Europe. Adu hasn’t had the same opportunities to keep his fitness at the same level as theirs.

    That being said, he could have tried to arrange a training stint abroad like so many other MLS players have been doing lately to keep in shape.

  6. PH says:

    Ives – have you considered including a field diagram, like something at this11.com for game reports like this?

  7. Lorenzo says:

    he went from Euro season to Gold Cup to MLS, so maybe he just wanted to take a break.

    Just a thought, not a garuntee.

  8. Louis Z says:

    looks like the cream is raising to the top. Not many surprises, the good players are showing what they got, the less one are giving their best and just landing a bit short.

  9. marco says:

    It sounds like Adu may be dropped for ‘unfit’.

  10. Missoula says:

    I love that the players are taking this serious and mixing it up a bit. It’s great when players show some fire and realize when it’s time for them to step up.

  11. Taylor says:

    his biggest problem for the entirety of his career has been his fitness, so there are no exterior circumstances here, he just has never been fit enough to play at levels that his skill implies he should, and that is nobody’s fault but his own

  12. amusiccale says:

    ugh, not surprised about Adu’s fitness but glad that Okugo’s really had a chance to get things going after struggling to get a starting spot most of this past season

  13. Khan says:

    Not surprised by Adu’s lack of fitness considering he barely played near the end of the season.

  14. k0rny says:

    Sounds like Diskerud has some promise.

  15. wilyboy says:

    Willing to bet that central defense will receive an upgrade from the overage players. Cameron, John, Cameron, someones going to get a call.

    Maybe a DMid would be good too, just for experience.

    Hamid

    Chandler/Williams, Gale Agbossoumonde, Gonzalez/Cameron, Sheanon Williams

    Okugo, Diskerud, Lletget

    Gatt, Jozy, Shea

    Bench: Johnson, Valentin, Jeffrey, Gyau, Agudelo, Boyd

    It sucks that the roster is 18.

  16. Alex says:

    It really does, some very, very good, promising players are going to get cut. But as Porter’s said, it’s a good problem to have.

  17. wilyboy says:

    Meant Gonzalez for the first cameron.

  18. Peter says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if most of these players are on the field for US in 2014 World Cup.

  19. wilyboy says:

    Gatt, Diskerud, and Boyd I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  20. The Imperative Voice says:

    Ibeagha has been snubbing Dynamo attempts to sign him as homegrown for a year or two, to go back to Duke, and you wonder whether the strategy of holding out for some sort of post-U20 or U23 miracle (like some European team signs him right out of Duke based on a US tournament) while playing college soccer hasn’t backfired. Ironically, he might have a better chance at U23 if he played professionally, but then he’d have to commit his pro future somewhere.

  21. Retro says:

    So, let me get this straight. Bunbury, who is on the senior team and has a two-year connection with Porter is going to be let off the the team? Brilliant!

  22. wilyboy says:

    Unless that central forward spot is given three spots on an 18 man roster, yes. Jozy will make it if available, and Boyd is better than Bunbury right now.

    23 man roster, he makes it every time. He’s not playing especially well at these camps, and that’s enough to let a Very talented player steal his spot.

  23. Retro says:

    That’s faulty logic. Bunbury plays regularly as a 1st teamer and lead his team to the playoffs. He gets a great opportunity to start in the upcoming friendlies. yet, after getting reports from one source-btw thanks for the reports Ives-Boyd (playing in a reserve league) is better than Bunbury.

  24. wilyboy says:

    I don’t really feel the need to continue this, but will state that, being something of a US Soccer addict, I’ve read multiple sources on the developments and on Boyd’s progress. Bunbury is a good talent, he hasn’t hit his stride, and maybe he will this season, consistently scoring in MLS. Boyd is playing in a reserve league, and scoring like a maniac. He’ll be playing for the first team soon in the Bundesliga, and has it all going for him.

    A Bunbury fan? Fine. This is my opinion. Honestly, I don’t see what the problem is here.

  25. kimo says:

    Taylor…that was my point. Thanks.

  26. Finally says:

    I wouldn’t say Bunbury “lead” SKC to the playoffs, he really ran hot and cold this year. He has a big upside, but like nearly all of the players in Porter’s camp, he just isn’t that consistent yet. imho, Bunbury will not be on the USMNT team by 2014, there are simply too many other forwards with his skill set. (not to say that the USMNT is chock full of forwards, he just doesn’t stand out and I don’t see him being one of the top 4/5 forwards by 2014.

  27. Finally says:

    he also did not play “regularly” this season either. correct me if I’m wrong, but i don’t think he played in more than about 20 of the games last season

  28. Cylo says:

    Liked I said before the Adu fans attacked me. Adu will not be starting on the U-23 team.

  29. Andrew says:

    Still don’t like the 4-3-3 for America right now. Our midfielders simply aren’t going to be good enough to possess and Jozy plays much better with a strike partner. I’d like to see Boyd and Jozy work up top (maybe with the senior team too), with shea, okugo, lletget, and gatt as the midfielders. Backline of Williams, center backs in best form, and chandler.

  30. Music says:

    He did, he was set to go to Spain but it fell through at the last moment.

  31. john says:

    It is a shame about Adu. He seems to lack desire to compete.

  32. Scott e Dio says:

    Hopefully, we get to see majority these players get a call to Senior USNT this coming year.

  33. Retro says:

    That’s your opinion, but he is the only CF going to the Senior camp. Again, my post is related to Boyd-who by all account is a good player-being penciled ahead Bunbury on the U-23 squad.

  34. Coat Hanger says:

    Ahh, thank you for being honest Ives instead of overhyping players

  35. fischy says:

    On the blue team.

  36. Goalscorer24 says:

    I think Adu still needs to figure out that if he wants to make it he will need to fight for it. It will not happen automatically based on his talent like it did when he was younger. Either he will figure that out at some point and rise up, or he won’t.

  37. abc says:

    “Freddy Adu failed to make much of an impact.”

    This is the sort of thing the Adu fans will gloss right over… BUT HE DID SO WELL FOR 20 MINUTES IN THE GOLD CUP!!1!

  38. abc says:

    Based on performance, Bunbury ABSOLUTELY should be left off the team. What did he do for KC this year? He was ineffective for large parts of the season, and found himself on the bench behind CJ Sapong. And what has he EVER done with the national team? In a B-C team game, he scored a goal that led to a bunch of hype. Except it was a penalty kick. Earned by Agudelo. But congrats on doing a dance and having the tv commentator sing a song about you.

    At forward I’d take Altidore, Boyd, Wooten and Agudelo. Bunbury, Jann George and guys like WOod and Doyle are just not there.

  39. Retro says:

    You got this twisted! Based on performance, Bunbury has 12 goals in all competition, which includes 2 playoff goal. In contrast, Agudelo is a bench player and Wooten and Boyd play in in the reserve league. Yes, he found himself on the bench behind Sapong, but regained his form and position down the stretch. I am amazed at the negativety toward the kid. Is he still growing as a player? Hell yeah!! I chalenge you and others to go back to the past 4 years of any GA players career and compare it to what Bunbury has accomplished. I think it’s useless to compare his to Boyd’s and Wooten’s unless you feel that the u-23 league is better than the mls.

  40. abc says:

    Agudelo is a bench player because he’s got Henry and Rodgers on his team at his position.
    Bunbury was benched on a team with three starting forwards. Did you actually watch him play this year? Aside from 2-3 good games (against bad defenses like Vancouver), his shots, positioning and worst of all his first touch, were all terrible.
    Agudelo has two goals for the national team, and drew a penalty kick as well. For a kid who is like three years younger than Bunbury and his PK celebration dance.

    All Boyd does is score goals by the bundle, the dude is with Borussia Dortmund, that alone means something. On top of that, he practically scores a goal a game for the U23s. And in U23 camp he does pretty much the same, he had goals in BOTH games in Germany, and again today. What has Bunbury done??

  41. blaise213 says:

    Another US article not seen on USsoccer.com Ives sight is actually better than the source!

  42. Zak1FCK says:

    There is no reserve league in Germany. The reserve teams play in the soccer pyramid. Both Boyd and Wooten are in the Regionaliga (4th level).