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U.S. U-23s fall in friendly vs. England

USAU23 vs England 09022015



Just one month ahead of Olympic qualifying, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team was saddled with a loss in the first of two tune-up friendlies.

Facing an England U-21 team that saw nine of 11 starters feature in the Premier League this past weekend, the U.S. U-23s were forced to settle for a 1-0 loss Thursday at Deepdale Stadium in Preston, England.

Having held England scoreless through the opening 70 minutes, the U.S. finally cracked by giving up a goal on a quick free kick.

Manchester United’s James Wilson proved to be England’s hero, scoring just 10 minutes after entering the game. Taking the set piece immediately, Wilson found himself on the end of Duncan Watmore’s cross, besting substitute goalkeeper Zach Steffen to seal the win for England.

Prior to Wilson’s finish, England remained the more dominant side in terms of possession, as the U.S. repeatedly looked to counter with the midfield duo of Emerson Hyndman and Wil Trapp leading the charge.

The forward pairing of Mario Rodriguez and Alonso Hernandez also proved menacing, twice nicking the ball off English defenders but failing to yield a true chance.

On the other end, it was starting goalkeeper Cody Cropper who was called into action several times, including a 25th-minute stop of Fulham’s Cauley Woodrow. Just seconds before the halftime whistle, Cropper stepped up again, keeping a curling free kick out to keep the scoreline level heading into the break.

From there, Steffen entered and provided steady hands as well, largely faultless on Wilson’s game-winner.

Following the loss, the U.S. returns to action next Tuesday against Qatar ahead of October’s Olympic qualifying campaign.


  1. I watched the game. Here are my observations:

    1. We didn’t string more than 3 passes together in the offensive half (let alone offensive 3rd) even once all day.
    2. While England’s players linked up and moved the ball smoothly down the field, we panicked and just hoofed it up field. Players never challenged themselves to find an outlet pass or dribble out of trouble. Always just booted it out of our half, giving the forwards little chance to do anything.
    3. I agree with the above poster that the outside back were absolutely terrible, especially Miller. Gave the ball away numerous times. His defending was okay (tough task against Ibe), but he had no idea what to do with the ball once he won it.
    4. Hernandez was a turnover machine. He literally turned the ball over every time he had it. This included some opportunities where the U.S. had numbers and were breaking. He couldn’t get the ball off his feet. His thinking was way too slow and it allowed England to strip the ball from him. His passing was also really poor.
    5. I was disappointed in Will Trapp. Everyone has been praising him, but he may have been most guilty of all U.S. players of just punting the ball down field instead of finding an outlet pass. Totally failed at linking up the back to the midfield and forwards. Looked totally outmatched. He did have one or two nice moments though.
    6. Can’t really comment on the forwards bc they never really saw the ball.
    7. O’Neil played amazing as a defender but like the rest of his back line, had no idea what to do with the ball once he won it and just resorted to punting it.
    8. Miazga looked pretty decent out there. Had a few bad passes. Didn’t really stand out positively or negatively.
    9. A positive! Hyndman looked like he belonged and was definitely our best player on the field. Not exactly sure why he was subbed off. He controlled the ball calmly and moved it around well. His passing in the offensive half left a little to be desired. Still, only U.S. player on the field wo looked like he could have made the England squad we were up against.
    10. We are still so far behind England (and presumably other great soccer nations) at developing talent. Our players played like boys, while theirs played like seasoned vets. We still have a long way to go.

  2. Starting to work in the U20 guys, might take alittle time and be a transition. Hyndman and Trapp had never played together or Miazga and O’neil. All and all not such a terrible result.

  3. I was streaming it on my phone while working. I was listening more than watching (for most of it – I couldn’t watch all of it). The announcer stated something like the England U21 has one something like 25 straight games at home. I am not surprised. However, some of their players are way more advanced than ours in that they are starters or regular in the EPL – and not don’t argue that a couple of our start in MLS. Not the same level of play (not close).

  4. And no one get excited about the U-21, Uefa already held qualifying for the Olympics, which is based on U-21 teams, so England (top seeded, but crashed out) is preparing for qualifying matches for the 2017 UEFA U-21 Tournament which is actually played by players that are U-21 at the time qualifying begins which is now. So the players on the pitch today were at most 1 year younger, but actually looking at the roster most were older than the Americans. End public service of announcement.

  5. We did beat this same England team at the Toulon Tournament this Summer so I wouldn’t call them another lost generatio based on one game on foreign soil.


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