The US Under-20 national team rode a 47th minute goal by Will John, and a 90th minute penalty kick by phenom Freddy Adu to beat Mexico 2-1 in a friendly on Sunday night in Fort Lauderdale.
The US side which also featured MLSers Danny Szetela, Guillermo Gonzalez, and Arturo Alvarez, recovered from an early score by the visitors and survived a physical second half to highlight their week of training.
Among the U-20s was Stoke City midfielder Jay Denny, who was familiar with the intensity and passion which seems to envelop the US-Mexico border clash.
“It’s quite similar to (an English derby) and very aggressive. It was a good win for the boys,” the 19-year old said. “It’s a game you have to make your mark on. The quicker you can get your tackles in the more you get into your stride and the team settles down.”
His coach, former Los Angeles Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid offered praise for Denny’s performance.
“I thought he did well tonight,” Schmid offered. “He’s busy and he’s active and has a good game sense. Speed is sometimes a little bit of an issue. That was one of our concerns in the middle of midfield, but Mexico plays a man-marking system now and that made it a little less of an issue if they played a 4-4-2.”
Despite playing in England, Denny has found time to bond with his teammates, as he hopes to make an impression on the US soccer hierarchy.
“I know a few of the guys from U-17 camps and the other U-20 camp, but every U20 camp has been a different group. The guys are really nice guys and they make you settle in. At first I didn’t think I was going to come because I’ve only just gotten into the first team, but they know how important it is for me and I’ve got to make my mark to try and get into the qualifying team, so they’ve been very good about it.”
The team will convene next in mid-December, to prepare for the mid-January CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament in Los Angeles. Those teams which move on will face the world’s best at the world championship in the Netherlands in June and July.
Original Article written by Michael Kintslinger