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U.S. Under-23s overcome slow start to roll past Mexico


Photo by Kirby Lee/ USA Today Sports


Jordan Morris is developing quite the reputation for his recent performances against Mexico.

Just one week after scoring against the Mexican senior team, the Stanford forward repeated the feat Wednesday night on the Under-23 level, leading the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team to a 3-0 victory.

Morris’ finish came in the 69th minute and was the third of the U.S.’s tallies. The Stanford product provided a finish on the volley, smashing home a cross from defender Shane O’Neill to cap off a second half that saw the U.S. dominate despite sleepwalking through the opening half.

Following a first half that saw Mexico dominate while the U.S. was reduced to counters and physical play, it was forward Mario Rodriguez who set the tone just three minutes into the second half.

Played in by an inch-perfect ball from Luis Gil, Rodriguez slid in between a pair of Mexican defenders, poking the ball into the back of the net from close range to open the U.S. lead.

That lead was doubled in the 58th minute via Christian Dean, whose finish also came off a spectacular display of U.S. service.

Dean’s goal came via a header, as the Whitecaps product soared through the box untouched to smash home a well-place free kick from the Rapids’ Dillon Serna.

With Dos a Cero appearing to be a prevailing theme, Morris’ finish in the 69th ensured the Tres a Cero victory for a U.S. team that looked much better than the squad that struggled through much of the first half.

While dominant, the U.S. did give up its share of chances, but the clean sheet was repeatedly preserved by goalkeeper Cody Cropper. The Southampton goalkeeper provided the U.S. with five saves on the evening, the best of which came in the 65th minute via a diving effort.

The victory marks the second in three games for the U.S. in 2015 after previously defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5-2, before falling 1-0 to Denmark in a pair of March friendlies.

The U.S. Under-23 team will take part on CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in October. The qualifying tournament will take place in the United States, though the location has yet to be announced.


  1. My German girlfriend, based on her years of observation of Klinsman, predicted well in advance that he would leave somebody off the squad that was unexpected. She was right.

    My question for you all is: who it will be for 2018?

    • Ed,

      Wow, a manager leaves a playoff off of of their World Cup squad that was unexpected.

      That never happens. I guess that depends on who was expecting what.

    • Teams, and U23 /youth sides in particular constantly cycle/refresh. The upside glory for that Mexican team is they can forever claim and bask in Olympic Golden Glory as the preeminent side at THOSE Olympics.

      The other side of the competitive coin is the relentless nature of it… the “what have you done for me lately” factor… the truth that each year, season, competition, the reset button is pushed…. an individual or team has to repeatedly continue to prove themselves in order to lay claim to being the best.

      In other words- I think you are kidding only yourself if you believe that.

  2. Anyone know why Mexico didn’t release more than their main U-23 players? By my knowledge they were still missing Richard Sanchez, Raul Gudino, Salcedo, Pizarro, Briseno, Van Rankin, Pocho “Rey” Arturo Gonzalez, Trevino, Garcia, Julio Gomez, Martin Zuniga, Diaz and if you want, Jurgen Damm.. Glad for US though for brining in more players for higher confidence in games against Mexico.

    • Was kind of amused at the amount of time the Spanish Language announcers spent gushing over Morris, repeatedly comparing him to/calling him the next Landon Donovan. He certainly shows flashes of what Herzog and JK see, speed is always eye-catching/mesmerizing, he has done what he’s supposed to, put ball in net, but………….. hopefully he can keep his head on straight, keep working/developing as that kind of attention is way premature. Thankfully, he seeeeeems a levelheaded due.

      • I think the hype around Morris (and Agudelo’s goal as well) will light some fires under the current crop of forwards. It would be nice if their was enough talent in the pool that nobody felt safe.

        It’s not unusual for a young player to explode onto the scene and become a star. Maybe he even gets some European interest and doesn’t go to the Sounders (says the hopeful LAG fan in me)

      • The advantage for Morris going to Europe, if that is an option, is that he is less likely to have to deal with the “next LD ” tag.

        In theory, he could just focus on learning and getting better.

    • what exactly is your problem with this game?!?

      best game I have seen Luis Gil play in; really promising player. Morris, Cropper, other all looked great.

      the backline was shaky at times but effective. if you didn’t know who we were playing you could have guessed some smaller Concacaf team… very comfortable vs. Mexcio – thats a big step forward – even if its just a friendly vs Mexico.

      looking forward to Qualifying in October!

    • I’m not sure it was bad coaching, but I did not think we played a good game. Don’t let the scoreline fool you, we were not impressive. We could barely hold possession and string passes around. All of our goals came from small moments of skill that were not indicative of the larger overall game. The U.S. was on its heels for most of that game but had some good counter-attacking moments and per usual good set pieces. Two of the goals came off set pieces and one from the run of play. Our mid-field did not play a good game despite some good moments from Gil. The whole time I was thinking to myself that this team is in trouble for the Olympics. I did think that Rodriguez, Gil, and Cropper were the standouts as head and shoulders above the rest. Morris played a terrible game and pretty much lost the ball every time he had it. If Mexico could have finished the chances our D gave them, the scoreline would be much different.

      • Fifawitz1313,

        “If Mexico could have finished the chances our D gave them, the scoreline would be much different.”

        You know, I never thought of that. I guess, it all depends on what you want.

        Score one more goal than the other guy and you win. End of story.

        This is not Olympic figure skating, no points for style.

        The bottom line is Mexico did NOT finish their chances, and they can go home and sit next to all those other underachievers who do not PRODUCE when called upon.

        The US PRODUCED so they won. It’s a simple game.

      • If the US wins the Olympics in soccer but then Mexico goes farther in the 2018 World Cup than the USMNT does, what then?

        Is the US still better?

  3. Almost all the USA fans were Mexican-American! Love seeing the tide switch and seeing Mexican-Americans support their counry (and the only team that actually has Mexican-Americans on it…the USA of course.

    • They were probably Central-Americans. By my knowledge the Mexican-Americans are faithful to Mexico while the Central-Americans are the ones who follow the US.

      • Nope was in the AO section and I’d say 1/3 were Mexican Americans and they were joking about with the El Tri fans across the isle.

      • Jeremy is partially correct… in the northeast, central americans will dress and support the US especially when it’s against mexico.

      • Yup Yup. However this was LA not the N.E….. many wearing Star Spangled Mexican Sombreros…. which… pretty sure…. not too many Ticos, Nicos, Catrachos, Guanacos or Chapin would wear be wearing.

  4. I went to the game on a whim and was glad I went. Cropper looks legit, but everything depends on his next career move.
    There was a Jose Villareal sighting as he subbed in, looked eager, played up top for a few minutes, then was subbed out (which I didn’t understand).
    Morris is definitely poacher hungry with his runs. Not sure he’s got the mad ball skills to create something out of nothing on his own, but he helps a team.
    Everyone worked very hard, but sometimes failed to find solutions to keep possession, especially in the first half. There were no obvious standouts in midfield, which was a little disappointing. Where are the quarterbacks?

    • I was disappointed with Shane O’Neill who made two terrible mistakes in the first half. You would think he would be one of our best defenders given how much he has played for Colorado, but he practically gifted them a goal with a foolish missed tackle and then gave up an unnecessary foul just outside of the box straight on. At least he didn’t screw up noticeably in the second half, but he couldn’t have done much worse than he did in the first. I thought Gil looked pretty good, and he was excellent on the first goal, getting free of the defender on the left and then making a great cross to set up the goal. I suppose I shouldn’t complain after that score line, but I thought the US could have done much better with possession. I think what set the US apart was their quickness and their fight. They were constantly around the Mexican players like a swarm of annoying gnats. And obviously their finishing was better. And, finally, Cropper came up huge when he needed to .

      • Pretty much agree with your assessment. I was pretty discouraged with Oniel’s first half. He looked tentative and a bit overwhelmed at times. That said- he seemed to regain his legs/composure and responded well… was MUCH more solid for the second which says a lot.

        The article states Mexico dominated the first. I’d give them the edge in chances, but all in all, it was a nervy, sloppy, back and forth 45 for both sides that I am certain neither was proud of. Just as I liked Oniel’s response- I was happy to see the US come out determined, pestering Mexico with high pressure and resolve. I kept waiting for them to slow down, but…. they just kept coming. I think if these guys can build some needed cohesion and flow to go along with that- they could be very good.

        Yeah- Cropper was impressive-seemed in charge of the defense and positioning distribution was tight.

      • O’Neill doesn’t play much anymore for Colorado (2 games this season). No one except for Gil and Alashe plays much 1st team soccer (I don’t think, right?), that’s why they were chosen, probably. It basically means that our guys who aren’t good enough to get regular 1st team minutes are better than their guys who aren’t good enough to get regular 1st team minutes

    • Most important thing to come out of this match was Cropper’s apparent receding hairline. We’ve got another world class bald keeper in the making!

    • Man I hate to be that guy lol. But Cropper had some super shaky moments. That first shot in the 2nd minute of the game was super shaky, and he had some bad distribution. He did some good things and made some great saves as well, but I’m only commenting because I don’t think he is man of the match worthy.

      Side note: I was at the game and man were we outnumbered by the Mexican fans. It was a hostile environment even though there were only a few thousand


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