U.S. Youth National Teams

Saad, McInerney lead U.S. Under-20s past Canada


photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com


BOCA RATON, Fla. – Soony Saad scored in the first half and Jack McInerney added a goal early in the second to give the United States U-20 national team a 2-0 victory over Canada in a friendly at Lynn University on Thursday.

The goals were two of the highlights in a rather uneventful game that mostly consisted of physical play, hard fouls and ugly set pieces.

No matter how hard the match may have been to watch at times, the United States, missing several of its top players, will gladly accept the win as it was the first in its last seven matches.

"These games are always good exercises for us," said U.S. coach Thomas Rongen. "We can look at some new players, we continue to build a team for qualifying and getting a positive result against Canada is always pleasing. At the end of the day, at our level, winning is important and it's part of the learning process as well, so I was quite pleased with that."

Canada started the match well, putting pressure on the American backline for the first 20 minutes, but never really threatened, even with Jaineil Hoilett's runs down the left flank.

The Americans overcame their slow start, partially due to the strong play of centerback Sebastien Ibeagha, and were able to find the back of the net in the 33rd minute.

Receiving a pass from the left wing, Saad turned his defender before rifling home a shot that sailed over Canadian goalkeeper Roberto Stillo and into the sidenetting at the far post to make the game 1-0.

The United States doubled its lead just four minutes after halftime when Ibeagha knocked a long ball down the field that sent McInerney through on goal. With Stillo charging towards him, McInerney cleverly hit a floated chip shot over the Canadian.

The Americans almost added a late third, but substitute Omar Salgado had his penalty kick saved. Salgado struck the ball poorly on the shot in the 90th minute, attempting to place it left but leaving it to close to center for Stillo to swat away.

"There was not really any outstanding performances," said Rongen. "It was a well-managed game, let's put it that way. I thought physically and emotionally, just from the mentally standpoint, we were very good during the game. Areas where we need to improve is can we play a little bit better, can we play faster, can we create more chances, and tactically within the system too, I think we can do a better job actually, and that will come over time."

The United States U-20 national team will close out 2010 with another friendly against Canada on Dec. 18 at Lynn University. Expect Rongen to field a different-looking U.S. team for that one, with players like defender Gale Agbossoumonde and midfielders Amobi Okugo and Joseph Gyau likely to start.

"Come Saturday, we'll get some different players a look," said Rongen. "Basically, we have two teams here. So one team played today and a whole new starting eleven will play on Saturday."

USA Starting XI:

Kevin Piedrahita; Ben Sweat, Sebastien Ibeagha, Eric Schoenle (Perry Kitchen, 68'), Kory Veeder; Steven Evans (Joshua Gatt, 78'), Conor Shanosky (Amobi Okugo, 78'), Dylan Mares (Alex Molano, 64'); Jack McInerney, Adrian Ruelas (Omar Salgado, 75'), Soony Saad (Joe Gyau, 78').

Canada Starting XI:

Roberto Stillo; Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry (Chris Suta, 89'), Darrick Bassi, Sean Hart, Roger Thompson (Jonathan Osorio, 61'); Jaineil Hoilett, Kevin Cobby (Matt Stinson, 68'), Ethan Gage; Niall Cousens (Jerome Baker, 75'), Nicholas Lindsay.


What do you think of the U.S. U-20 team winning 2-0 over Canada? Expecting the Americans to win again on Saturday? Think McInerney and Saad should start up top again? Who else do you hope starts on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.

  • bob

    great problem for the US to have.

    OF the guys that get picked only 2-3 will make the MNT as starters later of the others who don’t make it there will be 2-3 starters in that group as well.


  • wilyboy

    It’s great that there are a number of talents right now, so there is less temptation to tout the best one with unfair expectations.

    Especially exciting is the surge of promising forwards, not sure the program has ever enjoyed this many prospects.


  • MicahK

    WTH, I go to Lynn and no one said anything about the US-U-20 playing at our school. And they play one day after I leave to go home for break noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Wrongen

    meanwhile, Rongen reject (and now Serbian international) Neven Subotic scored for Dortmund yesterday in the Europa League.


  • Anne

    As a Michigan grad student and huge fan of the Michigan soccer team, I am incredibly proud of Soony Saad for scoring on his U-20 debut!! I really hope he catches the eye of Thomas Rongen because he really is a gem. Watching him play from 20 feet away was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time! He’s got a great future ahead of him.

    As for the game, I can’t say I’m shocked it was a rather messy affair – that’s only to be expected when you throw a bunch of young guys together who have never played together before. The victory is great though, congratulations to them!


  • Anne

    Wow, I didn’t know Neven Subotic was a potential for the US U-20s. He’s been marvelous for Dortmund, that’s a real shame that we let him go.


  • jonk

    He left on his own accord. People love to pin it on Rongen, but not making the U20 World Cup team is not why he chose to represent Serbia.


  • kackac

    Randomness but it is cool to see someone I grew up playing against, Sebastien Ibeagha, playing at such a level. Really talented kid


  • R Duggs

    Keep track of “both” team Rongen mentioned and see if it means anything come invite time to the final January camp.


  • Thor

    Glad to see Jack growing his hair long again. The CB from Duke looks like a good player and I’m excited by our forward pool. Jack and Sonny nice combination. Looking forward to seeing Joe Gyau put on a strong performance.


  • Robert Daniels

    God, they’re all a bunch of college kids and just out of high schoolers with the exception of a couple. This is why we lag behind the great footballing countries. Where are all the pros? I know we brought our B team but I don’t recognize half these guys.


  • otergod

    Perhaps you’ve missed the past year and a half of this cycle?? This has been the first majority college roster. In fact, the VAST majority of players that have been consistently called in are pros… and you’ll not that there will be only a couple college kids in Quals and YWC (most of which will be signing with MLS).


  • otergod

    also, 8 of the players above are pros… seriously, go back through the last couple camps (just to keep the searching short)… you’ll note most are in fact pros.


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