PUEBLA, Mexico – There was little doubt that Daniel Cuevas was the star performer for the US U-20 national team on Monday in his team's 2-1 victory over Haiti.
The Sacramento, Calif., native displayed turns of pace that frightened the Haitian defense all night, scored what turned out to be the winning goal and won the penalty for the first US goal.
But he wasn’t satisfied.
“I should’ve scored more goals,” lamented the 19-year-old to MLSsoccer.com postgame. “Hopefully we learn from this. We have to put our chances away and show that in the next game.”
Cuevas was visibly limping as he walked to the team bus after getting caught by a late challenge in the second half, one the Americans thought should have resulted in another penalty kick, but believes he will be fit to face Costa Rica on Friday evening at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario.
The youngster usually plays as a striker for his club side, Santos Laguna, but has been featuring for Tab Ramos’ U-20 side on the left wing. It is something with which Cuevas is entirely comfortable.
“I just have one man to take on and it’s easier for me to come in from out wide and come in and shoot,” he said with a wry smile.
At the other end of the field, Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper was called into action more than his coach would’ve liked, but was satisfied with the performance of the makeshift central defensive partnership of Shane O’Neill and Caleb Stanko in front of him.
“As a pair, they looked good and hopefully it’ll carry on into the next game,” Cropper said.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.