Final Preparation for US U-23 Men’s National Team Concludes in Dallas
The US U-23 Men’s National Team begin their final phase of preparation toward CONCACAF Olympic qualifying starting March 22nd, with some friendly matches against local club sides.
The ten-day training camp started with a match against FC Dallas Wednesday which ended in a 2-1 win with goals from Brek Shea and Ike Opara, both assisted by Freddy Adu. The FC Dallas match provided a quality contest for the U-23s with a lineup consisting of mostly starters, minus Break Shea, for a club side looking to prepare for the upcoming MLS season.
Caleb Porter has looked to solidify a possession-based system within the squad in the ongoing ten-day training camp, which culminates with a friendly against fellow CONCACAF opponents Mexico.
“The number one priority in this camp is to see our guys in games and to build a little bit of that rhythm by playing multiple games in a short amount of time,” Porter said. The focus will be for the Mexico match but the intent is to also solidify the final roster for the Olympics.
It is interesting to see a few of the more senior players that have been brought in by Porter for this camp who will most likely make the final roster. Beside Shea, Freddy Adu and Juan Agudelo have also joined the squad and would fall into that category. Adu, 22, had been earning time under Porter since the U-23 head coach took control of the team. Shea and Agudelo were recent additions.
The debate surrounding this move is heard throughout most national teams in the world. Do you risk these players’ health by allowing them to compete in lesser tournaments?
Some might argue that the Olympics are not a lesser tournament. If that be the case, what if Brek Shea and Juan Agudelo both receive significant injuries during the qualifying stages? Where does that leave the attack for the Senior MNT for WC Qualifying?
Clearly both players, Agudelo and Shea, are developing into the future of the MNT attack and are often utilized to provide offense at the senior level. This competition gives them more minutes in meaningful situations, but again, the risk of having them compete is palpable for Jurgen Klinsmann.
The US U-23 MNT will face NASL side the San Antonio Scorpions on Friday, February 24th, before their final runout against Mexico’s U-23 National Team Wednesday, February 29th at FC Dallas Stadium.
Andrew Arellano will be contributing to IMS as a corespondent from San Antonio, Texas. He will be covering the Scorpions for their inaugural NASL 2012 season. He also writes for his blog, The Bexar County Foot.
Highlights of the US U-23 win over FC Dallas.