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Morris scores as U.S. U-23s fall to France in opening game of Toulon Tournament

USMNT U-23s starting eleven


The U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team’s first taste of the 2015 Toulon Tournament turned out to be a bitter one.

Undone by a trio of goals in 11 minutes, the U.S. was thoroughly defeated by France, 3-1, in the first game of the Toulon Tournament group stage. Stanford forward Jordan Morris scored the lone goal for the U.S. in the second half.

The lone bright spot for the U.S. was Morris’ second-half finish, who darted past the France defense in the 66th minute before tapping a shot to the backpost to push the scoreline to 3-1.

France’s dominance was apparent from the opening whistle, culminating in back-to-back goals from Fares Bahlouli and Enzo Crivelli just one minute apart.

Bahlouli’s opener saw France take full advantage of a string of sloppy play from the U.S., kickstarted by a Dan Metzger turnover in the midfield. On the attack, U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper was forced into a save, but the defense’s inability to clear their lines saw Bahlouli place a shot just past the fingertips of Cropper, giving France a 1-0 lead.

The lead was doubled just a minute later through Crivelli, who pounced on another rebound with a close range header to double the lead.

Just 10 minutes later, France struck again through Stéphane Sparagna. On a France free kick, the Marseille defender provided a flicked-on finish from close range for France’s third goal of the afternoon.

Morris’ finish highlighted what turned out to be a sloppy afternoon for the U.S., who was repeatedly overrun in the midfield and defense.

The U.S. did have their chances come via set-piece, though, but failed to take full advantage due to a series of poor deliveries from both Julian Green and Benji Joya.

Following the tournament-opening loss, the U.S. will look to rebound on Friday in a matchup against the Netherlands, who topped Costa Rica, 3-2, earlier today.


  1. better second half but that first half, my goodness. against a U-20 French squad no less. not a big deal but they need to step it up. not sure the 4-3-3 is going to work. revert to the 4-1-3-2 (diamond) and get that perfected.

  2. Soccer in America just like Baseball in America has the wrong technical approach at the grassroots level. Think about the only other sport we compete at an global level: Basketball. How is our grassroots approach different in basketball? In Basketball talent always usurps sponsorship, while talent/ability to pay are on level playing fields, but I do know this, if soccer can become #3 in our country and I’m speaking solely #3, just like the other two sports, we will dominate. So, soccer lacks promotion at the grassroots level, and is by far the easiest sport to play at the grassroots level, because all you need is a ball. Think about how we do basketball, our major stars/shoe companies have clinics/teams in which they’re invested in and hire coaches they trust. Look up the Nike Eybl, if we ever established something like that in soccer, I guarantee you within 8 years we’d be a world power.

  3. “… U-23s fall to France in opening game of Toulon Tournament”

    FALL!!!?, What an understatement. The French took their foot off the gas after 20 minutes, and this was a 40 minute per half game.

    We have a tendency in this country to laud “OUR overseas talent”, I can’t for the life of me see why.
    There was no build up play in attack, just route 1, till late in the 2nd half.
    The defense was particularly poor in the first 20 minutes.
    If what I saw was the near future, we are in deep trouble as a footballing nation … i’m just saying … DEEP TROUBLE !!!!

    • @AP be careful what you say in these forums where folks are blinded and refuse to be critical. They will always find a spin, an excuse or something to say. Instead of being honest.

  4. France paraded an U20 team (men) and schooled an American U23 team (boys). Long way to go. Not as if they did anything in recent youth tournaments so what’s the fuss.

  5. Pack wood was atrocious! He had poor weak clears, bad passing, ball watched, …. Pretty much owned on defense. He had a hand in giving up both early goals. The French played dirty (especially with a straight elbow to Shane oneills face. Seems the refs were always going to ensure that the French won. Also a double hand ball in the box and no penalty.

    • US played better in the 2nd half.. however, one of the US subs (hernandez?) missed a clear chance to score late in the game (75′)… he should be dropped from the team…

      final score shouldve been 2-3 France.

  6. Most of the French Players are starters on their Teams. The US fielded a Team of mostly bench warmers. This is a squad that was hastily thrown together. Most of these guys have never played together and have had limited practice time. I think they’re going to play better as they gel as a Team. Yes, they lost but I expect them to play more cohesive as a Team.

  7. Even with the growth of MLS and soccer in general out players are still not very good technically. Still playing run as fast as you can kick as hard as you can and being overly physical. Most of the premier clubs still play this way as does the MLS academies. When they stop worrying about winning meaningless tournaments to attract the wallets of soccer parents who don’t understand soccer and focus instead on precision passing and footwork we might get somewhere

    • Pay to Play and American coaching has stifled any realistic opportunity of player development on an elite level.

      We’ll always have a strong team that fights hard, plays hard and plays together but in terms of technical ability, and flair – it’ll be generations, if then, before we see the fruition from the amount of kids that play the game here.

    • Calling b.s. on both of you. Don’t put this solely on the coaches. This is a near century difference between a nation that has played a game seriously for 30 years and continues to have the best athletes play other sports and a colonial empire that spanned across continents that has one game they play seriously. Cut throat systems that demand excellence from the youngest of children versus a hobby that our best eventually take seriously. You both write as if you know better. Get out and make that difference instead of pecking away on a keyboard and criticizing “those people.”

    • Martha C.

      I’m not sure where you link the Under 23 team with your topic.

      This Under 23 team is the most “thrown together” of all the national teams and it seems to me you are reading way too much into this one game.

  8. Sounds like a pretty dismal performance but I just can’t get myself to care about Olympic soccer. Much more interested in what the U-20s do in NZ.

  9. So our U-23 C squad get worked by France’s U-23 C team? Not that surprising. Let’s keep this in perspective, and in Gil, Brooks, Yedlin and some others and it would be much better.

      • France was missing the following 1994 or younger players:

        Anthony Martial of AS Monaco
        Neal Maupay of Nice
        Hadi Sacko of Bordeaux
        Yassine Benzia of Lyon

        Morgan Sanson of Montpellier
        Nabil Bentaleb of Tottenham
        Corentin Tolisso of Lyon
        Kingsley Coman of Juventus
        Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain

        Kurt Zouma of Chelsea
        Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao
        Jordan Amavi of Nice
        Benjamin Mendy of Olympique Marseille
        Baptiste Aloé of Olympique Marseille
        Alphousseyni Sane of Olympique Marseille

        Mouez Hassen of Nice
        Paul Nardi of Nancy
        Brice Samba of Olympique Marseille
        Julien Fabri of Olympique Marseille
        Quentin Beunardeau of Le Mans

      • You are correct, my apologies. He played for France in U-19s before switching to Algeria for his senior international career.

    • Denial Denial Denial! Hey what ever works for you. And since when did this our A B C team crap begin. The U.S. doesn’t even have enough depth to have A B C squads at youth level like other countries. We might of been missing a few players that could of contributed more but that’s it. This team played terrible as a whole with these hand picked guys by Jk and players abroad that played like crap. You could tell they looked lost. No one expected them to win but to play solid cohesive football with some possession.

  10. Didn’t see this, but judging from these comments, the result was poor. Not even very bad. Poor.That’s worse than vy. bad. My note to Andi Herzog: Please provide us with a reason for the poor quality of soccer played here. What didn’t they get? Our under-23s were supposed to be even better than the under-20s. Julian Green: listed last year as 20th in Germany’s top-20 young potential stars. Nothing?

    Humiliation. All of it.

    Let’s hear it, Mr. Herzog.


    • Cool your jets. A bunch of guys on the U23s have not exactly been getting much playing time for their clubs lately, and they were playing France, a country that produces far more quality players than we do.

      • Sounds like excuse making to me. Of course France is better but your supposed to get better results than that against them. This was supposed to be the best sub-23 team ever on paper and they simply got out-classed, out-played, out-matched. 2nd half was better but by that time France had cooled their jets and made changes. Get ready for more pain against Nederlands. Green sucks and verdict is still out on Morris in my opinion. Can he perform against high level teams in the middle of it still remains to be seen. Scoring when France already has you 3-0 and is now not really focused is different. Had he scored that goal in the First half i’d think differently. Kid does have speed though.

      • “your supposed to get better results than that against them.”

        That’s the problem, though. No, we’re not supposed to get better results than that. We are capable of it, but to expect it is unrealistic. The French players are, in fact, that much better than we are. We still have a long way to go to produce players that are as good as the French, Dutch, etc… France and the Netherlands have two of the best youth development systems in the world. We are trying to catch up, but it’ll take at least another decade.

      • Don’t know where you heard that this was supposed to be our best U-23 team. Many of the guys that would be starting in the squad didn’t make the trip. Gil, Trapp, Brooks, Yedlin. Those guys aren’t in this squad.

        Also, the consensus is that this year’s U-20 team is the most talented U-20 team we’ve ever fielded, but our U-23 team is a bit disappointing.

      • Our U-20’s are better than our U-23’s. Our U-17s are better than our U-20s. Our U-15s are better than our U-17s. I wouldn’t hold too high of expectations for this group

      • I wouldn’t go that far. In the world of soccer, 17 is still a little early to determine the validity of prospects, so the hype train hasn’t lauded our U-17 team that greatly.

        There has however, been a lot written recently about the disappointment in this crop of U-23s. A lot of them have failed to live up to their own hype. And to further matters, many of these disappointing prospects are absent from this tournament.

      • The U20 class is probably the best we have ever seen. If things go according to plan I would guess 3 of them or so will be fast tracked to the U23 team. Players like CCV, Zelalem, Allen, Rubin <– already getting senior looks.

      • Shouldn’t your signature be DOOF instead?
        WTF we have been making these excuses for 20 years
        JK was brought in to show us how to develop players in his role as DT.
        He hasn’t to Jack sh*t in that capacity

      • So your expectation is that in the 4 years since JK was hired, the U.S. development system should have been transformed (essentially overnight), and should now suddenly be producing world class players left and right? Now that is funny.

      • The most important developmental years for a player are around the ages of 13-16. If you’re going to judge JK’s developmental ability you’ll have to wait a cycle or two.

        But even still, there are so many other factors that go into player development. Do you credit JK for a player like Christian Pulisic? He’s a U-17 standout and his developmental years have been under the umbrella of the JK era, but he moved to Dortmund at 16. Does Dortmund then ultimately get credit? Maybe, but what if JK’s development system identified Pulisic and put him on Dortmund’s radar? Hard to say.

        Ultimately the final decision of credit tends to lean the direction of the bias of the assessor.

      • Did you see the game? They made so many basic mistakes, a college team would have been embarrassed with that performance. I think that I have seen high school teams do a better job of passing. And the dead ball deliveries were pathetic. I can’t think of one that was halfway decent. Here are just a couple of examples. The US left back has the ball, no one is pressuring him, he takes 5 to 10 seconds to look out over the field and then passes the ball directly to a French player about 30 yards from the US goal, with no US player close by. A free kick for the US about 35 yards from the French goal sails over the end line, about 10 yards beyond the nearest US player and 10 yards wide of the goal. This is not the French being better, but the US being atrocious.

    • Easy does it. First game in an exhibition tournament. Your plea would be valid if we are seeing this kind of result in the fall during qualifying.

      Plus, I think our u20’s have more expectations than this group.

      it is all about individual performances that should be the spotlight from this tourney.
      Morris is a gamer and i have no doubts. Green and Rubin are two that should standout in games based on their experience. This is Green’s time to prove his worth.

    • Not sure where you got the U-23 being a better team than the U20. In my opinion, this is the best U20 team ever.

      • The sooner you and others stop menstruating each time you get an opportunity to talk about JK, the sooner you can stop worrying about feelings.

        You guys have a nasty case of jilted lovers complex.

      • hah. Old School you can’t complain about JK bashers because you are exactly like them, just arguing the contrary. It never seizes to amaze me how anytime someone writes something negative about JK, you are immediately there to post something to defend him. It is uncanny. Do you have a bat-signal or something like it that alerts you?

      • Cute concept except for the fact that I’m not defending anyone. In fact, my only statement was a simple: Give it a rest, Buck to a post, and story that has nothing to do with JK.

        …and this is on me? Get real.

      • My comment is “real” and true. You love arguing with people about JK on this site, always in his defense. You are one of his biggest supporters on this site. That’s fine of course. My comment was in reference to the irony of you telling someone to “give it a rest”.

      • The Menstruation Squad in full effect – you must have a bat-signal.

        The only truth to your usual diatribe is the usual derailment of articles that have nothing to do with JK and attacking others that call you and your merry band of men out on it. I didn’t bring him up or engage in any type of argument. It was a civil and non-aggressive request.

        Irony is you starting an argument with me about starting arguments.

      • Gotta take OldSchool’s side here. Hating on JK for a U-23 exhibition result is a bit of a reach. And OldSchool pointing out that reach is not the same as defending JK.

        But when one has a belief, any opinion differing from said belief is often taken as an attack on that belief.

      • CroCajun, nah.

        “Hating on JK for a U-23 exhibition result is a bit of a reach. And OldSchool pointing out that reach is not the same as defending JK”

        While you are correct in regards to this specific post, I am correct in general. I am clearly talking about on-going behavior from the past and present. The people that post on this site do so frequently, and therefore develop reputations in regards to how they feel about certain things. So this comment thread, and almost all comments on this site, have to be viewed in that context. Get what I mean?

      • +1 to CroCajun

        +1 to Old School

        “Irony is you starting an argument with me about starting arguments.”


      • UCLABruinGreat,

        “While you are correct in regards to this specific post, I am correct in general.”

        This should be on a bumper sticker.

      • Menstruation, really? Using gender as an insult is not a good look…especially when you want the moral high ground in a debate!

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