By FRANCO PANIZO
BRADENTON, Fla. — Terrence Boyd should have been sent off on Thursday.
After delivering a clumsy and dangerous challenge on Zarek Valentin in the second half of the U.S. Under-23 men's national team's intrasquad scrimmage, Boyd was given a second yellow card. That would normally result in a sending off, but this was a glorified scrimmage after all, so on the field he remained.
What Boyd did to respond was something that's becoming somewhat of a constant with the U.S. U-23 team. He scored a goal.
As the scrappy game continued, the 20-year-old forward broke the deadlock when he shot a laser past Zac MacMath from 25 yards out. The goal stood as the winner, though Boyd's White Team defeated the Blue Team, 2-0.
"I got the ball outside of the box, just went past three defenders and just tried to give it a try," said Boyd of his third goal in four matches with the U.S. U-23 team. "I shot it with the toes like Ronaldo and it almost went to the angle, so it was a good one."
The goal wasn't the only good moment Boyd had in the match. He proved to be a headache for the Blue Team's defense with his combination of strength and skill, and he almost scored earlier in the game when a low shot caromed off the near post.
"I thought Terrence did very well. He's a gamer," said head coach Caleb Porter, who had Boyd as captain of the White Team. "You could see in that second half when the chips are down, he wanted the ball and he wanted to win and he wanted to score goals. We need that.
"He showed some of his spunk," Porter said. "He got carried away on one and I pulled him over and it was a teachable moment and I told him it was probably a red card. He agreed and went out and then scored a goal."
Boyd's performance in the match was the latest piece of evidence that the German-American is developing into one of the better forward prospects in the U.S. pipeline.
He is off to a strong start with the U-23 team at Borussia Dortmund, scoring 10 goals in 15 matches. That scoring run was enough to convince full team manager Jurgen Klopp to have Boyd dress for a league game earlier this season. The young striker did not see the field that day for the reigning Bundesliga champions, but it was still an unforgettable experience for him.
"That was fantastic because Borussia Dortmund has a lot of fans," Boyd said. "We had a home game against Cologne, we won 5-0 and there were 80,000 people. It's a dream to play there one day."
Boyd may be hoping to break into the full team more consistently during the second half of the season, but he admits it's up to his coaches to decide when it's time for him to do so. Until then, Boyd says he will continue to do his job with the reserve team.
Should he remain with Borussia Dortmund's second team, it seems likely that he will continue to receive call-ups by Porter for U.S. U-23 team camps, including the upcoming camps in January and February before Olympic qualifying takes place in March.
Boyd, however, can also represent Germany at the international level. Born in Bremen to an American serviceman and German mother, Boyd has not shut the door on Die Mannschaft, though he insists he enjoys playing for the United States.
"Right now I'm with the U.S. camp, so it says that I would love to play for the (United States)," said Boyd. "I mean I don't know, since I'm not playing for any (full) national team I don't have to think about it yet. It would be an honor for both teams, but I have to say for me, USA is the best country in the world."
Earlier in camp, Boyd had more kind words towards being able to represent the United States.
"If you're able to wear the uniform of the USA," said Boyd, "then you'll do anything for it."
Even if that means tackling teammates to earn a roster spot.