CARSON, Calif. – U.S. U14 Boys National Team head coach Hugo Perez was pretty clear with his takeaway from a pair of scrimmages against local clubs at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday night.
The performance was good from his group, but there is still a long way to go.
The U14 BNT playing against players one to two years older faced a real test in both games. In the first fixture, the youth national team coughed up a late goal in a 1-1 draw against Pateadores. The second game was more comfortable with a 4-1 victory over United FC.
U.S. U14 Boys National Team 1-1 Pateadores
The result may have been a bit sour with the late goal conceded, but coach Hugo Perez was really happy with the performance considering there were seven players born in 2000 that featured in this game.
Behind the midfield trio of Ben Lederman, Martin De Leon, and Christopher Goslin, the U.S. dictated the speed of play from the opening whistle.
Lederman, the Barcelona Academy player, showed his class from the first touch with his ease to work away from pressure and provide an outlet for defenders. The 12-year-old nearly had the opening goal in the first 15 minutes of the game when he got on the end of a pass into the 18-yard-box, but his effort was comfortably saved.
The opening tally came in the second half when Daniel Sanchez had a go from 25 yards out that sailed over the keeper and into the net. Striker Lucas Del Rosario supplied the assist with a carefully crafted back heel.
The older Pateadores went on the attack for the last ten minutes of the game in search of the equalizer. Substitute keeper Eric Lopez came up with a couple of key saves before one finally got past him in the last minute of the game.
“Overall, I liked that first game,” Perez said. “All those little guys [can play] – I mean the guys who just played [against United FC] are strong – but it was good to get the little guys out here. Again, it is going to be good competition for them.”
U.S. Starting XI:
U.S. U14 Boys National Team 4-1 United FC
Jonathan Gonzalez capped the night with two goals and an assist for the youth national team in a commanding victory over local club United FC.
The U14 BNT put pressure on the opposition from the opening whistle and nearly had the lead in the sixth minute following a defensive miscue by United FC. Adolfo Trujillo picked off the pass and hit the shot, but United’s keeper made a great save to temporarily keep the U14s at bay.
Seven minutes later, the U.S. broke through twice in quick succession. Jose Carranza scored the first on a shot from 20 yards out after U.S.’s high line of defense created a golden opportunity for the midfielder.
Following the kickoff after the goal, FC Richmond Magic’s Nicholas Taitague intercepted a pass across the back and doubled the lead for the youth national team.
A minute before half, U.S. made it 3-0 when Gonzalez scored his first of the night on a header after a shot bounced off the crossbar, which the striker nodded home.
United FC came out with renewed energy in the second and looked to be getting back in control of the game with a goal in the 43rd minute following a defensive lapse by the U.S.
However, United FC could not sustain the pressure for long and Gonzalez put the final nail in the coffin with a goal nine minutes later. This time the striker ripped a shot from just outside the box thanks to a nice layoff from Jeanpaul Marin.
U.S. Starting XI:
Carlos Avilez; Matthew Real, Tyler Adams, Kyle Gruno, Antonio Nava; Juan Torres, Nicholas Taitague, Jose Carranza; Jonathan Amon, Jonathan Gonzalez, Adolfo Trujillo