In an effort to move past the doldrums and panic of off season, here is a brief summary of the US U-20 Mens team is preparing for the upcoming World Cup. Hopefully this will be enough to get you up to speed as you search for reasons to cheer on young RSL and related players in 2017.
Jordan Allen and the 2015 FIFA Under-20 Men's World Cup
The FIFA Under-20 World Cup is held every two years instead of the four year cycle followed by the full national teams. The 2015 FIFA U-20 Men's World Cup was contested in New Zealand from the 30th of May to 20th of June. The US U-20 team, with Jordan Allen from Real Salt Lake as a major contributor, qualified as one of four teams from the CONCACAF region by finishing 2nd in their CONCACAF U-20 Championship group and then winning a playoff (semi-final) game against El Salvador. The World Cup draw placed them into Group A along with Ukraine, New Zealand and Myanmar.
In group play the US U-20s defeated Myanmar 2-1, then defeated New Zealand 4-0, before losing to Ukraine 3-0. With six points they finished second in the group and qualified for the knockout rounds. In the Round of 16 they defeated Columbia 1-0 and moved on to the Quarterfinals where they finished a full 120 minutes with eventual champion Serbia at 0-0 before losing 6-5 in a penalty shootout.
Jordan Allen started and played 72 minutes against Myanmar, was an unused substitute in the win against New Zealand, then started and played 67 minutes in the loss against Ukraine while picking up a yellow card. In the first knockout game against Colombia, he came on to replace an injured Bradford Jamieson IV and played the final 80 minutes. However, he was also shown a yellow card making him ineligible for the quarterfinal against Serbia.
The Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament - September 2015
The first US camp for the new 2017 U-20 World Cup cycle was held in Serbia in connection with the Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament. Coach Tad Ramos named 23 players for this inaugural camp including Justen Glad (RSL) and Sebastian Saucedo (RSL). The U-20 team played three games in five days, beginning against Serbia on September 3rd (a 3-1 loss), France on September 4th (a 6-1 loss) and ending with Israel on September 7 (a 2-0 victory).
Justen Glad did not dress for the first match against Serbia, but played a full 90 minutes in each of the final two games.
Sebastian Saucedo went in as a substitute in the 73rd minute of the first match against Serbia, went the full 90 minutes against France, then started the final game against Israel and scored a goal in the 29th the minute before coming off in the 88th minute.
The Four Nations Cup - October 2015
The second US camp was in connection with the Four Nations CUP held in Germany in October of 2015. 21 players were named for this camp where the U-20s would play three games in 7 days. No RSL players were called in, but Aaron Herrera, a product of the RSL Arizona Academy playing right back as a freshman for the University of New Mexico, was called in. The US played Germany on October 6th (losing 8-1), Scotland on October 9th (a 2-2 draw) and Mexico on October 12th (losing 3-2).
Aaron Herrera came in off the bench in the 69th minute of the first game against Germany and then played the full 90 minutes in each of the final two against Scotland and Mexico.
January Camp - January 2016
Just as the full Men's national team, the Under-20 MNT has a large training camp in January as possible. In January of 2016, Tab Ramos called 36 players into training camp. These including Danny Acosta who had just signed a homegrown contract with RSL in December, Aaron Herrera from New Mexico, and another former RSL Arizona Academy player, Diego Silva, a defender at the University of Maryland who had just finished his freshman year.
Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup - March 2016
The first US U-20 matches of 2016 were played at the Dr. Pepper Dalllas Cup where they played in Bracket A of the Gordon Jago Super Group. The other teams in Bracket A were CF Monterrey Rayados (MEX), Fulham FC (GBR) and TSG Hoffenheim 1899. Coach Tab Ramos once again called 22 players into camp for this tournament with the bulk being repeats from the January 2016 camp. Once again Aaron Herrera (New Mexico) and Danilo Acosta (RSL) were called in, however Brooks Lennon (Liverpool and another veteran of the RSL Arizona Academy) and Sebastian Saucedo (Veracruz on loan from RSL) joined them.
The first game in bracket on March 20th was a 1-0 victory over CF Monterrey Rayados, the second on March 21st a 2-1 loss vs Fulham FC and the final game on March 23rd was a 3-3 draw with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Four points left them out of the playoffs in a second place tie with CF Monterrey Rayados who had a better goal differential. While still in Dallas, they had two additional games with lower placed teams from Bracket B, Kyoto Sanga FC (JPN) and Sinergia Deportiva Tigres (MEX). Incidently, both of these teams had lost to the RSL Academy in bracket play. The US U-20s match with Kyoto Sanga FC on March 25th ended in a 0-0 draw and the match with Sinergia Deportiva Tigres on March 27th ended in a 3-1 victory for the U-20s.
In bracket play Aaron Herrera played a full 90 minutes against CF Monterrey Rayados, was a late injury time substitute against Fulham FC, then played another full 90 minutes against TSG Hoffenheim 1899 and scored a goal in the 37th minute. In the later matches he came on as a substitute in the 62nd minutes against Kyoto Sanga FC and started and played till the 83rd minute against Sinergia Deportiva Tigres.
Danny Acosta played the full 90 minutes against CF Monterrey Rayados, came on as a late injury time substitute against Fulham FC, then start and play till the 62nd minute against TSG Hoffenheim 1899 and scored a goal in the 37th minute. Acosta started as captain against Kyoto Sanga FC and played till the 70th minute then started and played a full 90 minutes against Sinergia Deportiva Tigres.
Brooks Lennon started the match against CF Monterrey Rayados and had an assist on the winning goal, did not dress against Fulham FC, and then served as Captain while playing a full 90 minutes in the loss against TSG Hoffenheim 1899. In the final two matches Lennon was a substitue in the 62nd minutes against Kyoto Sanga FC and then started and served as captain for 90 minutes against Sinergia Deportiva Tigres. He also scored a goal in the 51st minute and had an assist on the goal in the 58th minute.
Sebastian Saucedo did not dress against CF Monterrey Rayados, started and played for 79 minutes against Fulham FC, then started again and played for 56 minutes against TSG Hoffenheim 1899. Saucedo came in as a halftime substitute against Kyoto Sanga FC and started and played 75 minutes against Sinergia Deportiva Tigres.
U-20 Men’s NTC Invitational - June/July 2016
Coach Ramos named 21-player roster for 2016 U-20 Men’s NTC Invitational which took place from June 26-July 4 in Carson, California. This roster included three of the RSL related players from the Dallas Cup: Aaron Herrera (New Mexico), Danilo Acosta (RSL), and Sebastian Saucedo (Veracruz). The NTC Invitational for 2016 was made up of the U-20 teams of the United States, Japan, Panama, and Costa Rica and each of the teams played the other three. The US team was undefeated as they won their first match against Costa Rica 2-0 (a match which also featured 10 yellow cards), won their second match against Panama 4-0, before finishing by defeating Japan 2-1 in their last match.
Aaron Herrera started and played 68 minutes in the first match, did not play in the second, and was substituted in at 58 minutes in the third match.
Danny Acosta started and played 68 minutes in the first match, started and played the full 90 minutes in the second while scoring a goal in 56th minute, then started and played 31 minutes in the final match.
Sebastian Saucedo started all three matches, playing a full 90 minutes in the first game as well as scoring a goal in 52nd minute, was substituted out in 60th minute, and being substituted out in the 58th minute after scoring another goal in the 20th minute.
U-20 New Jersey Training Camp - July/August 2016
Coach Ramos held a 20-player training camp in Basking Ridge, New Jersey July 30th and August 8th around two domestic friendly matches. The first match against the Mew York Cosmos of the NASL was won by the U-20s 2-0 and the second against New York Red Bulls II of the USL was won 4-3. Both Aaron Herrera (New Mexico) and Danilo Acosta (Real Salt Lake) were again called into the training camp.
Aaron Herrara started both matches going 69 minutes in the first and 78 minutes in the second.
Danny Acosta came on as a substitute in the 44th minute of the match against the Cosmos before starting and playing 55 minutes against Red Bulls II.
The Four Nations Cup - October 2016
The 2016 Four Nations Cup was held in Manchester, England and head coach Tab Ramos named a 22-player roster with 17 professionals for the three matches. Two of the other teams in the Cup, England and Germany, had already qualified for the 2017 U-20 World Cup. The US faced Germany and lost 1-0 on October 5th, lost to the Netherlands 5-3 on October 7th, and finally lost to the host country England 2-0 on October 10th. Danilo Acosta (Real Salt Lake), Brooks Lennon (Liverpool), and Sebastian Saucedo (Veracruz) were all called into this camp.
Danny Acosta did not appear against Germany or Netherlands, but played the full 90 minutes against England
Brooks Lennon played the first 68 minutes against Germany, played the first 69 minutes against Netherlands, and came in as a substitute for the final 7 minutes against England.
Sebastian Saucedo played the first 81 minutes against Germany, came in as a substitute in the 69th minute against Netherlands, and played the first 77 minutes against England.
U-20 International Friendlies - December
The 20-player roster for the U-20 team’s international camp in San Jose, Costa Rica from December 13th to 20th was just named. Justen Glad (RSL), Aaron Hererra (New Mexico), Danilo Acosta (RSL) and Sebastian Saucedo (RSL) have all been called into this camp.
During this camp, the U-20 MNT will once again play two games against the U-20 Costa Rica team they faced back in the NTC Training Invitation back in August. That match ended in a 2-0 victory for the US, but also featured 10 yellow cards in a hotly contested affair. These matches with be on Saturday (December 17th) and the following Monday (December 19th).
This camp should help prepare the U-20s for the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which will be held at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose and the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in Tibas from February 17th to March 3rd. The CONCACAF Championship serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Let’s wish all four players a good showing and a call up in for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in late February and March. The draw for this championship has already taken place and the US will be in a group with Panama, Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis.