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Agudelo, Gatt draw injury concerns as friendlies near for senior, U-23 teams

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. — It appears that injury bug has hit the U.S. January camp, and that may render two key players for the senior team and Under-23 side doubtful for upcoming friendlies. 

U-23 right winger Josh Gatt was unavailable for training on Monday after suffering an apparent ankle injury on Sunday evening. The injury came without contact when the winger from Norwegian club Molde seemingly popped his ankle after attempting to turn for the ball. Gatt initially attempted to return to the field but chose to leave training just moments later.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, who is currently with the senior team, once again missed practice due to a sprained right ankle, which he hurt during last Friday's scrimmage against the U-23s. The severity of Agudelo's injury was not yet disclosed.

Following Tuesday's scrimmage against the senior squad, the U-23s will promptly head to Costa Rica for matches against the Deportivo Saprissa reserves on Jan. 21 and Alajuelense on Jan. 24. The senior team will remain at the Home Depot Center for a couple of days to train before departing for Phoenix for a friendly against Venezuela on Jan. 21, followed by a trip to Central America to face Panama on Jan. 25.

More news and observations from January camp are after the jump: 

Both teams trained simultaneously on Monday on adjacent fields on the Home Depot Center complex. In addition to training alongside one another, both teams ran similar drills and also maintained the same 4-3-3 formation during intra-squad scrimmages.

One particular drill caught the attention of many observers. The drill involved two teams of nine shooting at a full-sized goal as well as a smaller goal off to the corner. With two goals to defend, the defense was forced to maintain its shape in order to defend against attackers eager to loop in dangerous crosses. 

"We were trying to move and shift as a unit, the reason that we put in small goals was that we don't just condense the middle, but when the ball is on one side of the field, we condense that side so essentially the opponent can't make an easy cross," said defender Heath Pearce. "So what we did was get numbers over and shift so that everyone was on the same page.

"It's a good transition game, it makes you have to think and although It makes the field big, but it makes you move as a unit which at the international level is something that you have to depend on," Pearce added. "Because when you play on the big stadiums where it is loud, then you can't always hear everything so you need to be on the same page even without talking."

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Joe Corona foreshadowed potential positional changes for the Under-23 squad in Tuesday's scrimmage against the senior national team. Corona would not divulge where he would be playing, but he admitted that he is heading into the match with "little experience" at that position. 

Stuart Holden took in training on Monday evening, the Bolton midfielder is currently in Southern California as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury. Holden — who appeared at MLS Cup on crutches — was walking on his own without any assistance. 

Comments

  1. * I attended 5 of the U23 training sessions these past 2 weeks.
    * Saw the scrimmage vs the senior side live.
    * Have been played this game, coached this game, studied this game at an obsessive level for over 20 years.

    And that only scratches the surface of what drives my opinion on Gatt.

    Plus, for the way Poter wants his team to play (possession oriented, attacking, attractive soccer), Gatt does not have the brains or technical quality required to play on the wing. All he has is speed. That’s it! So outside back is his only chance of contributing.

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  2. “Gatt isnt a RB”

    Looks like you and Gatt don’t agree.

    From Josh Gatt interview USSF website:

    “Despite switching positions for Molde, Gatt still showcased how strong of a threat he can be on the offensive end of the pitch. His first goal with Molde – a play where he nutmegged a player on the dribble, then nutmegged another on the strike – serves as proper evidence. ”

    “Either of those two positions feels natural to me now,” Gatt said. “Any position on the right side of the field, I feel very comfortable stepping out and playing that. Obviously wherever the coach asks me to play, I’ll definitely jump in and play it.”

    Reply
  3. Flaccid,

    How do you know he isn’t a right back?

    He’s played there for Molde before and looked good attacking from that spot. A 4-3-3- needs attacking fullbacks.

    Sohe looked uncomfortable? Big fricking deal.

    This was a scrimmage, a practice session with guys who Gatt has not played with much before. This is when you are supposed to work out ideas. It wasn’t a FOX soccer full game broadcast.

    Reply
  4. Thank you

    Wasn’t trying to be a d***. Well maybe that last statement wasn’t the nicest but I was wondering where that statement came from, on a player who a lot of people more educated than I have a rather high opinion of

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  5. lol…Im not so sure Alex is an internet Bully however, folks should put a little bit of thought into their posts. If you make a statement it would behoove you to make a case for your position. That being said, you can make any statement you want however, the educated fan will call you on it

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  6. I haven’t followed Gatt, but it appears injuries have handicapped his USA trials before. As for Shea beating up on him as a RB, some say two goals, I disagree from the video I saw. On the first, although Shea got in the cross, the LB left Wondo unmarked. On the second the LB was beaten by Shea to the endline. If anyone allowed 2 goals it was the LB.

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  7. That was what really made me question any criticism. He’s playing out of position trying to defend the best player on the other team. I’ve been impressed by Gatt before but you can’t be surprised he played poorly.

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  8. Gatt isnt a RB. Did you read that once he moved up to RW in the scrimmage he became more dangerous…

    Oh yeah, and he was guarding Brek

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  9. That may be true. I was at the training session at Foxboro before the Spain game and thought “Wow, Freddy Adu looks awful.” A friend confirmed my suspicions. We both thought there was no way he would dress a single game. Then he played quite well against Panama and Mexico.

    Just saying to give the kid deserves some more time before tossing him out.

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  10. And how do you know that he doesn’t have what it takes? Do you watch Molde games? Did you watch the scrimmage live? And did you know that he really isn’t a RB? Thanks for your words of wisdom though.

    Reply
  11. Merely “doubtful” is actually nice to see, the way Gatt’s ankle injury was described elsewhere I was worried it might be serious.

    Reply

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