LEESBURG, Va. – If the first day of the 2013’s Sueño MLS is a sign of things to come, there will be plenty of entertainment in this year’s competition.
D.C. United kicked off the latest edition of Sueño MLS on a chilly Saturday morning that warmed up as the hours passed, and there was good quality on display from the approximately 400 players – ranging in age from 14-18 and coming from as far as Miami and New York – that made it out to the tucked-away fields at Morven Park.
From an olympic goal to some good combination passes to some quality goalkeeping, Saturday’s 50-minute games had plenty of eye-opening moments and the United scouts in attendance took notice.
“Going into it, we were a little skeptical in that the level was going to be very high but surprisingly it’s been very, very high,” United head youth scout Tom Torres told MLSsoccer.com. “With players coming from all over the East Coast, it’s actually been exciting to see.
“Unfortunately for us, we look at some of the players from, let’s say, Florida who are doing very well and we’re like, ‘Shucks, we can’t get them into our academy because they live so far away.’ But overall to see this amount of players come in and to see the technical abilities is a lot higher, it’s been refreshing for us to see that.”
While there was skill and talent present, most of the players had never played together before and that made for some expected rough moments of action. Still, the plays that paid off weren't the only things being taken into consideration.
“Their intangibles, not necessarily that you can coach,” D.C. United academy manager Steve Olivarez told MLSsoccer.com. “What are your reactions when you lose the ball. Are you fighting to get it back or is your reaction to pout about it? Are you out there trying to organize, communicate, make the players around you better by your communication?
“Those are things that you can’t teach each player. Either you have those things or you don’t, so those are the things that we’re keeping an eye out for.”
Thirty of the teenagers, 27 field players and three goalkeepers listed below, were notified that they made the cut via phone calls in the late afternoon. Those 30 players will return to Morven Park on Sunday for a two-hour training session, and that will be their last chance to impress United’s scouts before six finalists (five field players, one goalkeeper) are named and sent to Los Angeles for the last phase of the competition.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.
GK – Luis Aranzazu (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
GK – Gerardo Lua (Aspers, Pa.)
GK – Hector Palos (Frazer, Pa.)
RB – Ignacio Arteaga (Danbury, Conn.)
RB – Andy Ramirez (Morganton, N.C.)
RB – Juan Caceres (Charlotte, N.C.)
LB – Frederick Gil (Atlantis, Fla.)
LB – Rodrigo Torres-Giusti (Coral Springs, Fla.)
LB – Alexander Y Gomez (Davie, Fla.)
CB – Therry Palacios (Silver Spring, Md.)
CB – Matthew Bautista (Rockville, Md.)
CB – Mauricio Alejandro Aguilar (Manassas, Va.)
DM – Luis Cruz (Millsboro, Del.)
DM – Cristian Soto (Indianapolis, Ind.)
DM – Steve Momenya (Riverdale, Md.)
RM – Douglas Guevara (Silver Spring, D.C.)
RM – Nikolas Gomez (Naples, Fla.)
RM – Joshua Javier Calderon (North Haven, Conn.)
AM – Lorenzo Romero (Manassas, Va.)
AM – David Lopez (Bronson, Fla.)
AM – William M Vasquez (Manassas, Va.)
AM – Alexander Soto (Elizabeth, N.J.)
AM – Juan Vargas (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
AM – Elcor Castillo (Newport News, Va.)
RF – Daniel Miranda (College Park, Md.)
RF – Bret LaBonte (Frederick, Md.)
RF – Jonathan Gonzales (Clinton, N.C.)
CF – Christian Caguana (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
LF – Armando Garcia (Hamlet, N.C.)
LF – Bryan Argueta (Gaithersburg, Md.)