CARSON, Calif. – The United States men's national team laid the beat down on their little brothers on Friday, handing the US Under-23 side 4-0 defeat in a scrimmage held at the Mooch Myernick Field at the Home Depot Center complex.
Chris Wondolowski opened the scoring for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side and was joined on the score sheet by the Sporting Kansas City pair of forward Teal Bunbury – who holds age availability for the U-23s – and midfielder Graham Zusi, as well as midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
“These scrimmages are good for us and the Under-23s, that’s why we do it purposely, because it's a big year for US Soccer,” Klinsmann told reporters after the match. “We want to get these kids up to speed and Caleb [Porter, U-23 coach] gets to know his group, so every opportunity for a scrimmage is good and it helps everybody.”
Although the Klinsmann’s men controlled the scoreline, it was the U-23s that were the aggressors at the outset of the match. Fueled by the stellar midfield distribution of Philadelphia Union tandem Freddy Adu and Amobi Okugo, the U-23s controlled the first 25 minutes, but were failed by their final touch.
In the 23rd minute, Brek Shea, another age-eligible player serving for the senior squad, made the Olympic hopefuls pay as he sliced through center backs Andrew Wenger and Zarek Valentin to feed Wondolowski for his first goal of the game. Minutes later, another prospect for Porter, Juan Agudelo capitalized off a poor pass from U-23 'keeper Zac MacMath and found Feilhaber for the second goal of the game.
As the half wore on, Shea grew in influence and began to terrorize the U-23s, with his size and speed often proving too much for right back Josh Gatt. Klinsmann’s men added a third goal near the end of the first half, when Bunbury stripped Estoril Paria forward Tony Taylor before firing a shot past MacMath. Just moments later, Zusi closed the scoring with a strong finish off another cross from Shea.
Both teams underwent widespread changes at the half, but the U-23s were by far the dominant side in the second half, controlling the possession due to the composed play of Michael Stephens and Sebastian Lletget. Still, the U-23s failed to find the back of the net.
Although the score line was unkind for his charges, Porter was pleased with his squad’s performance, in particular the several age eligible players playing with the senior squad.
“The nice thing is that a couple of the goals were generated by guys who are going to be with us," Porter said after the match. "That gets me excited because I know that through the experiences that they’ll have with the senior [team this] year, they’ll bring those experiences back to us and enhance our group.”
The two sides will meet again on Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the final warm-up for both sides. After that scrimmage, the senior national side will face a pair of matches against Venezuela in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 21 and Panama in Panama City four days later.
The U-23s, meanwhile, will head to Costa Rica for matches against the Deportivo Saprissa reserves and Alajuelense.
US senior national team:
1st Half: Nick Rimando; Zach Loyd, Michael Parkhurst, Geoff Cameron, Heath Pearce; Jeff Larentowicz; Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber, Brek Shea; Chris Wondolowski, Juan Agudelo (Teal Bunbury, 26)
2nd Half: Bill Hamid; Michael Parkhurst, A.J. DeLaGarza, Jeff Parke, Zach Loyd (Heath Pearce, 72); Graham Zusi (Benny Feilhaber, 72), Ricardo Clark, Brad Evans, Brek Shea (Jeff Larentowicz, 72); C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury
US Under-23 national team:
1st Half: Zac MacMath; Joshua Gatt, Andrew Wenger, Zarek Valentin, Kofi Sarkodie; Amobi Okugo, Jared Jeffrey, Mix Diskerud; Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, Dilly Duka
2nd Half: Sean Johnson; Sheanon Williams, Royal-Dominique Fennell, Sebastian Ibeagha, Jorge Villafaña; Michael Stephens, Sebastian Lletget, Isaac Acuña; Kelyn Rowe, Tony Taylor, Jack McInerney (Joshua Gatt, 66)