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Yedlin handles surprise debut well
March 5th, 2013 6:39PM

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TAGS:  college men, mls, seattle sounders

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[HOMEGROWN WATCH] DeAndre Yedlin, a 19-year-old defender, became the first homegrown player to play for the Seattle Sounders, starting in their 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact in Saturday's 2013 MLS opener. The University of Akron product started at right back in place of the injured Adam Johansson and earned praise from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. He was also one of three players eligible to play for the U.S. U-20 World Cup team who did not travel to Mexico for Concacaf qualifying and instead played in the MLS openers.

"I thought he played well," said Schmid of Yedlin. "I thought for a young man making his debut at home there could have been a lot of pressure. He could have not handled that well, but I thought he handled it well, I thought he played well, and it thought he had a good game."

Besides Yedlin, the Sounders' first homegrown signing, Julio Morales started for Chivas USA, and Jack McBean came on as a sub for Los Angeles. Morales, who was born and raised in California, spent time at Chivas de Guadalajara and played for the Mexico U-20s in the last year. McBean is in his third season with the Galaxy, joining the team after playing for the USA at the 2011 Under-17 World Cup.

Here is what Yedlin had to say:

On how was it to make his debut in front of a home crowd...
"It was good. Obviously, a loss is never the result you want, but it's good to get a game under my belt and see what it's like to play with the first team and get to start. It was definitely good for my experience."
 
On what was his mentality going into the game...
"Just to try to relax. Steve Zakuani told me to play simple, build your confidence and go from there."
 
On if it was the game plan to spend as much time forward as he did...
"Yeah, I tried to get forward more, especially after they scored. I just tried to get a goal back, but unfortunately it didn't happen."
 
On how important is it to have a guy like Steve Zakuani in the locker room...
"It's very important. He's kind of my mentor back there and kind of my back up if something goes wrong so I'm definitely fortunate to have him behind me."
 
On when did he know he was going to start...
"During the week, I had a picture of it because I was practicing with the first team more and more. I was officially told yesterday."
 
On if he was excited or nervous before the game...
"I think it was a combination of both, a good balance. I try to get that balance."
 
On if he had a lot of people here for him...
"Yeah, I had 10 people here for the game."



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