The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team followed up Thursday’s 7-1 win over Puerto Rico in the Concacaf Championship opener with a 13-0 win over the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday. Tab Ramos’ side saw plenty of changes on Saturday with just David Ochoa, Matt Real, and Ayo Akinola being the constants in the starting lineup.
It didn’t take long for Tab Ramos’ side to take the lead as Griffin Dorsey found himself alone at the far post sliding home a cross from Ulysses Llanez. The latter’s day was just starting though, as he followed that up with an assist to Ayo Akinola in the 19th minute. After that, Llanez scored three goals in 17 minutes before grabbing an assist on Anthony Fontana’s goal in the 41st minute.
After an Ayo Akinola strike doubled the U-20 #USMNT lead, Ulysses Llanez curls in a beauty to make it three!
🇺🇸 3-0 🇻🇮 | #CU20 pic.twitter.com/lvUOwdRhpK
— U.S. Soccer YNT (@USYNT) November 3, 2018
The U.S. U-20 MNT went into the halftime break with a 6-0 lead, and Ulysses Llanez had a direct role in each of the goals.
Justin Rennicks kept the goals coming in the second half as he bagged a brace in five minutes with the first of the pair coming in the 61st minute. Sandwiched in between Rennicks’ goals was a goal from Philadelphia Union defender, Mark McKenzie.
Paxton Pomykal scored the 10th goal sliding the ball into the back of the net after some nifty footwork outside the penalty area in the 67th minute. Alex Mendez cooly slotted home a penalty in the 79th minute after Griffin Dorsey was tackled in the penalty area to give the hosts an 11-0 lead.
McKenzie doubled his goal tally on the day in the 81st minute. Alex Mendez’s corner kick was curled in, the U.S. Virgin Islands failed to clear the ball and McKenzie found the back of the net from close range. Manny Perez grabbed his first goal of the tournament and the U.S. U-20 MNT’s 13th of the day with a wonderful individual effort in the 92nd minute. The NC State defender picked the ball up in the midfield and split three defenders before blasting a shot into the back of the goal.
The U.S. U-20 MNT return to action on Monday against Trinidad & Tobago. Tab Ramos’ side currently sits atop the Group A standings with a record of 2-0-0 and a goal difference of +19.
The more I learn, the more I believe that the importance of the youth team games in the current era cannot be understated. There is meaningful value in having our best prospects play competitive games together as many times as possible.
We will never have the luxury of being Germany or Spain, who basically had “National/Club teams” that formed the basis of their WC-winning sides. There will be no “Barca & Friends” like Spain had in 2008-2012, nor the “Bayern & Friends” sides that succeeded them for Germany.
But few countries have that luxury. Fact is, we can learn more from a country like Belgium, who fought their way from obscurity to being the #1 ranked team in the world without using their domestic league at all beyond the Anderlecht academy. England has recently started using the same model (easily the best youth team results over the last 2 years). The game has changed.
Youth team results are a much better predictor of national team success than they were 15 years ago, when countries like Nigeria would win everything and most players would fade into obscurity thereafter. Nice to see we are “getting this”, and entering our youngsters in as many tournaments as possible. Even better, we are looking better and better in these competitions.
The biggest indicator of how the talent level has grown at this level is recognizing how many players weren’t released from their professional teams. The squad that is competing in this round of the tournament is a B team.
Probably not much tougher than a scrimmage. It seems rather pointless to play against teams like this. The minnows should play and then just have the top few of those teams play in groups–one per group with other larger teams.
Disagree respectfully. At this age, reps are reps. Like you said, it’s basically a scrimmage. But I’d rather have them play a scrimmage than sit at home.
I think Gary is criticizing Concacaf for bringing these teams in. In a good year USVI and PR would get crushed, considering the devestation to both by hurricanes last fall they have no chance. Let them play a play in series and cut down the tournament from 30 to 20-24.
Sure that’s fine…. but I’d rather our team is together and playing against *somebody* (even if it’s a bunch of stiffs) than sitting at home waiting. All reps are good reps as far as I’m concerned….
Johnny gets my point. The US should be starting out at least at the level of a team like Guatemala, or El Salvador or maybe Haiti. At least they field national teams that occasionally have some credible results.
Mendez has left LAG for Freiburg, Llanez has left with the destination still to be determined, Efrain Alvarez is drawing interest all over. The only team who doesn’t seem interested is Galaxy who has lost the first two and appear near losing the third. Julian Araujo could be gone by next Summer. LAG doesn’t need to bring back Bruce as has been rumored this week, they need to actually use the kids they’ve been developing. If rumors are true that MLS is going to remove homegrown territories there are going to be a lot of kids from SoCal relocating to Kansas City, Salt Lake, Dallas, New York, and Atlanta.
So what do you think of Llanez? I admit I know very little about him other than the last two sets of video highlights…. but he definitely catches the eye. Thoughts?
I saw him with LAG II earlier this year and thought he looked promising. The team was fun to watch but played no defense. I feel like I’ve seen rumors of clubs that are interested but I couldn’t find anything on that.
Another nice beatdown for “USA Corporate” against another offshore subsidiary. Still good stuff…. team has looked sharp.