CARSON, California - The U.S. U15 Girls National Team defeated Legends FC, a Development Academy team from Southern California, 4-1 on Wednesday in a scrimmage at the National Training Center. Emma Egizii (Beach FC), Allyson Sentnor (South Shore Select), Devin Lynch (Eclipse Select SC), and Summer Denigan (Cincinnati Development Academy) scored for USA in the win. Makenna Dominguez scored the lone goal for Legends FC.
Nearly every player from the 24-player camp roster played in the game on Wednesday. The camp is the third event of 2018 for the U15 age group. Following this camp, the coaching staff will select 20 players to take to a U15 international event in China.
Wednesday’s contest highlighted the highs and lows of this group as they rejoin National Team programming after a long club season. The squad is blessed with a possible generational talent in Sentnor, who shined brightest from her role as the center forward. The scouting network has also found some real gems to surround the talented attacker.
However, it’s far from a finished product. U.S. U15 Girls National Team head coach Tracey Klevins demanded throughout the game that her squad kept the ball moving, as she knows they will need to play at a quicker pace against international competition in the near future. The extra touches in the center of the field will be punished. The slow processing of options will leave to giveaways and counter attacks.
This age group is a proving ground though. Some players will step forward and emerge as the cornerstones for the U.S. program to build the next U17 Women’s National Team around.
Wednesday’s game showcased a focus on the play of the wingers, and the tactical positioning of those players in the build-up. The tactical emphasis paid off a lot in the first half. USA created opportunities from the wings, and opened up the center of the field. Farrah Walters (SC del Sol) and Josie Master (So Cal Blues) found some success in playing from the wings and then cutting in to create opportunities with the defense trying to contain them, but failing to keep them out of the middle of the park.
Brigid Molloy (WNY Flash) took advantage of the imbalance of the Legends defense for the first goal of the game. Molloy dished a great slip pass to Egizii for the opener early in the first time. The timing and the pace of the pass were excellent. Egizii did well to tuck away the chance.
Sentnor grabbed the second goal of the game. She chipped some paint off the crossbar on her first shot of the game, but the ball bounced off the line and out of the goal. She fixed that on her second shot with a left-foot laser to the back of the net.
Legends FC responded to the 0-2 deficit with the lone goal of the game. Dominguez got the final touch after a nice passing sequence through the center of the field and some quick combination at the top of the box.
USA restored the two-goal lead late in the first half. Egizii was the key player again. She drew a foul in the box after executing a short corner kick routine then beating her defending before being tripped from behind. Lynch converted the shot from the spot, although Hannah Arneson got a hand on it, she could not keep it out of her net. Arneson, to her credit, made a few great stops in the first half to keep the game close.
The Youth National Team added one more goal in the second half. Karlie Lema (Orchard Valley) raced into the corner to get on the end of a through ball. Lema lifted her head up and picked out the perfect spot for a cross between the retreating defense and the Legends goalkeeper. Denigan was the first to the ball and poked it home.
USA wraps up the July camp on Sunday, and then the focus turns to the international tournament in China scheduled for mid-August.
U.S. U15 GNT First Half Starting XI: Neeku Purcell; Jayde Holley, Phoenix Miranda, Lilly Reale, Shea O’Malley; Devin Lynch, Emma Egizii, Brigid Molloy; Josie Master, Allyson Sentnor, Farrah Walters
U.S. U15 GNT Second Half Starting XI: Maria Kemp; Jayde Holley, ??, Lilly Reale, Breana Thompson; Annie Karich, Jilly Shimkin, Carina Lageyre; Amelia Horton, Karlie Lema, Brooke Potter