CARSON, California – The results were jarringly different from the U14 Boys National Team’s two scrimmages on Wednesday, but the coaching staff walked away pleased because the style of play hit a similar chord throughout all of the players.
The U.S. U14 BNT started the evening with a crushing 5-1 loss to Chivas USA U15 squad, but ended the night with a 5-2 victory over LA Galaxy U15.
The opening game featured many players who were getting their first look with the national team and some of the younger, smaller players in this age group. Going up against players two years older (Chivas USA U15 consisted of players born in 1997 or later, the U14 age group is for players born in 1999) offered a stark contrast in physicality and speed.
Chivas USA’s Ivan Gutierrez, who is a ’98 and continues to make a pretty solid claim that he deserves a long look with the U15 BNT, was the star of the show. The speedy winger ended the game with three goals, as he made life miserable for the U.S. defense with his relentless runs forward.
Gutierrez and his Chivas USA cohorts punished the mistakes that the younger side made while trying to hold possession in the defensive third. U14 BNT Head coach Hugo Perez had no problem with the errors turning into goals though.
“Out of the [five] goals they scored against us, we gave away the ball in the back four times, which is fine,” Perez told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We tell them that we want to see them in those situations. I am thinking [not about now] but four years in the future when they get in those situations. They’ll be good because they have been there before.
“The only way to test it is to do it here. I could easily tell them not to do it here, because they’re too small or not as fast as the other guys but we don’t want to do that. Evaluating the game – we made the mistakes, but the ideas are there. We will get there.”
The U.S. BNT actually held the lead in the game, as Jeanpaul Marin (Downtown United SC/Rego Park, N.Y.) buried a shot past the Chivas USA keeper and into the bottom corner of the net for the opening tally in the third minute.
The youth national team held possession and moved the ball well through the first 15 minutes of the game, but dealing with the high-pressure ultimately ran the U14 side out of gas and led to the errors that Chivas USA capitalized on.
Arturo Garcia had the other two goals for Chivas USA in the victory. Garcia’s second of the night was a beautiful strike from distance that left the U.S. goalkeeper cemented in his tracks as the ball rifled into the upper corner of the net.
U.S. U14 BNT Starting XI:
U.S. U14 BNT 5-2 LA Galaxy U15
Lucas Del Rosario made a pretty loud statement on Wednesday about his spot as the star of this age group. The CASL forward was sublime in a three-goal performance against LA Galaxy on Wednesday night.
Del Rosario benefitted from some very good play by the midfielders in the game, but the forward showed a wide arsenal of skills or power on his way to the hat trick.
“Lucas [Del Rosario] keeps getting better,” Perez said. “The last two camps he has been excellent. Today, I don’t think they could have stopped him. He has so many good qualities, but he is still young. We are going to take him step-by-step.”
Del Rosario’s first goal came as the equalizer in the 27th minute. Nicholas Tatigue (FC Richmond Magic; Midlothian, Virginia) stole the ball from a Galaxy defender just inside the 18-yard box. Tatigue picked out Del Rosario about eight yards from goal and the North Carolina striker pushed it home.
Tatigue would then take over the first half. The U.S.’s No. 10 was pressuring the Galaxy defense into giveaways and then capitalizing on the amount of time and space he had on the ball.
Two minutes after dishing the assist, Tatigue and Del Rosario linked up again, but this time it was Tatigue with the final finish. The Virginia midfielder picked up the ball on his defensive side of the half. He raced down the field with defenders nipping at his heels. Del Rosario offered a quick combination play 25 yards to goal, which opened up the final sliver of the Galaxy defense, and Tatigue walked in and slotted it past the keeper for the go-ahead tally.
Then only three minutes later, Tatigue struck again. The youngster linked up with Del Rosario again, and finished past the keeper for his second of the game.
Galaxy could not stop the onslaught after the halftime break either. Following a U.S. corner kick, the Galaxy could not clear the ball beyond the 18-yard box. Del Rosario trapped the ball and turned toward the net without any pressure. He placed his shot to the opposite side of the keeper to give the U.S. a three-goal advantage.
Galaxy grabbed one back four minutes later off a nice cross and a sliding finish from Brandon Torres.
Del Rosario put the game to bed though with a splendid piece of skill. Left back Edwin Lara delivered a cross to the top of the box that the striker brought down with his back to the goal. When the two Galaxy center backs closed in on him, Del Rosario slipped in between them and then tucked his shot away before either knew what had happened.
U.S. finished the game with a massive 15-6 advantage in shots. The youth national team managed to get nine of them on frame in a visual pleasing performance from start to finish, as the youth national side dictated the game and dominated possession as well.
U.S. U14 BNT Starting XI:
Eric Lopez; Sam Vines, Tyler Adams, Kyle Gruno, Antonio Nava; Juan Torres, Nick Taitague, Jose Carranza; Omir Fernandez, Lucas Del Rosario, Jonathan Gonzalez
U14 BNT Camp Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Carlos Avilez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Ethan Koehler (New York Red Bulls; Maplewood, N.J.), Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy; Westminster, Calif.), Carson Williams (Dallas Texans; Plano, Texas)
DEFENDERS (11): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Vincent Borden (Dinamo Zagreb, Ithaca N.Y.), Bekele Dowty (Blackhills FC; Olympia, Wash.), Christopher Grey (De Anza Force; San Jose, Calif.), Kyle Gruno (PDA; Saddle River, N.J.), Edwin Lara (Alliance SC; San Leandro, Calif.), Antonio Nava (De Anza Force; Redwood City, Calif.), Matthew Real (FC DELCO; Drexel Hill, Pa.), Ben Silverstein (New York Red Bulls; Weston, Conn.), Cody Sundquist (Placer United; Lincoln, Calif.), Samuel Vines (Pride SC; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (13): Ateno Ajeakwa (LA Galaxy; Gardena, Calif.), Paolo Belloni (Weston FC; Delray Beach, Fla.), Omar Beltran (Dallas Texans; Garland, Texas), Joseph Brito (Oakwood SC; Bolton, Conn.), Jose Carranza (NVSC; Manassas, Va.), Martin De Leon (MN Thunder Academy; Brooklyn Center, Minn.), Christopher Goslin (UFA Elite; Locust Grove, Ga.), Roberto Hernandez (Texas Rush; Houston, Texas), Milan Iloski (San Diego Surf, Escondido, Calif.), Jommar Reyes (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas) Jake Silverstein (New York Red Bulls; Weston, Conn.), Nicholas Taitague (FC Richmond Magic; Midlothian, Va.), Juan Torres (GSA; Lilburn, Ga.)
FORWARDS (7): Lucas Del Rosario (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Omir Fernandez (BW Gottschee; New York, N.Y.), Jonathan Gonzalez (Atletico Santa Rosa; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Jeanpaul Marin (Downtown United SC; Rego Park, N.Y.), Jose Ortiz (LA Galaxy; Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.), Daniel Sanchez (Tecos Hayward Club; Hayward, Calif.), Adolfo Trujillo (Ballistic United; Livermore, Calif.)