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Ramos' US U-20s split first two results at Marbella Cup

Shane O'Neill and Caleb Clarke

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of CSA

Paced by a pair of goals from the LA Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal, the US Under-20 national team defeated Scotland 2-0 on Friday afternoon in their second match at the Marbella Cup, a series of international friendlies hosted by the sun-drenched resort city on Spain’s southern coast.

Both strikes were created via throw-ins from defender Javan Torre, a UCLA freshman who was a late addition to the US roster. Like Villarreal, Torre made his name with the highly respected Pateadores youth club – which won the U-17/18 US Soccer Development Academy championship in 2011 – before moving on to the Galaxy’s USSDA U-17/18 team last season.

The win over Scotland helps coach Tab Ramos’ side bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 setback to Canada on Wednesday.

That result also had plenty of MLS influence, as Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown product Caleb Clarke (above, right) bagged an 80th-minute winner after Mario Rodriguez (a Californian who is a member of the youth system at Germany’s FC Kaiserslautern) and Marc Pelosi (Liverpool FC) had combined to draw the US level just five minutes beforehand. Canadian midfielder Samuel Piette, who joined German club Fortuna Dusseldorf and made his senior national team debut earlier this year, scored the opener in the first half.

Ramos’ squad features a blend of talent plucked from the ranks of college, Development Academy and European club sides. Besides Villarreal, MLS is represented by Real Salt Lake starlet Luis Gil and Homegrown players Jonathan Top (FC Dallas) and Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids, above, left).

“This was good opportunity for us to call in the guys who are playing in Europe,” Ramos told ussoccer.com last week. “It’s a FIFA date, so everyone stops and they’re all so close over there that the clubs are more likely to let them go. This team doesn’t necessarily reflect the team that will be qualifying [for the FIFA U-20 World Cup] in February.”

The U-20s wrap up their Marbella Cup slate against Azerbaijan at 5 pm local time (11 am ET) on Tuesday.

The US U-20s’ starting lineup for Friday’s win over Scotland: McIntosh; Okwuonu, Stanko, Packwood, Torre; Joya, Pelosi, Gil; Villarreal, Rodriguez, Cuevas.