By Mike Woitalla
While seven of the graduates of the last cycle of the U.S. U-20 men's national team, which reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 U-20 World Cup in June, have helped the U.S. U-23 national team to within a win of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, the new cycle of U-20s has had an inauspicious start.
During their first gathering, in September, the new U-20s -- comprised of 1997-born 17- and 18-year-olds -- finished sixth place at the Serbia-hosted Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament with a 2-0 win over Israel after losses to France (6-1) and host Serbia (3-1).
The second trip, competition in the U-19 division of the Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup in Stuttgart, began on Tuesday with an 8-1 loss to host Germany, which also fielded all 1997-borns. The Americans were down 2-0 at halftime and trailed 7-0 before Eryk Williamson scored their lone goal. Germany scored two of its goals while playing a man-down following the 74th minute ejection of Lukas Boeder.
Jonathan Klinsmann started in goal for the USA at the game in Stuttgarter Gazi-Stadium, home of the Stuttgart Kickers where his father, Jurgen Klinsmann, began his professional career before moving on to VfB Stuttgart.
The USA, coached by U-20 head coach Tab Ramos' assistant Omid Namazi, faces Scotland on Friday and Mexico on Monday. Scotland beat Mexico, 3-1, on Tuesday.
These are early days, of course, for the current cycle, which aims to qualify for the 2017 U-20 World Cup.
Oct. 6 in Stuttgart
Germany 8 USA 1. Goals: Besuschkow 38, Ochs 41, Bunjaki 63, Putaro 66, Bunjaki 68, Mehlem 73, Endres 79, Bitter 87; Williamson 85.
Germany -- Königsmann, Schad (Bitter, 46), Horn (Torunarigha, 70), Boeder, Gimber, Fechner, Henrichs, Ferati (Mehlem, 46), Ochs, Besuschkow (Serdar, 46), Osei Owusu (Putaro, 22).
USA -- Klinsmann, Murphy (Pineda, 69), Hinds, Wilson (Williamson, 46), Martin, Lindley, Waldrep (Fernandez, 69), Mansary (Akale, 46), Elney (Sabbi, 64), Craft, Jones.
U.S. roster for U-19 Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jonathan Klinsmann (University of California; Newport Beach, Calif.), Mason Stajduhar (Orlando City academy; Lithia, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (6): Marcello Borges (Michigan; Kearny, N.J), Aaron Herrera (New Mexico; Casa Grande, N.M.), Nick Hinds (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.), Malcolm Jones (UCLA; Chino Hills, Calif.), Henry Martin (Princeton; New York, N.Y.), James Murphy (Players Development Academy; Scotch Plains, N.J.).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal/Spain; Minneapolis, Minn.), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire academy; Carmel, Ind.), Amirgy Pineda (LA Galaxy academy; Santa Ana, Calif.), Kyle Scott (Chelsea/England; Bristol, England), Evan Waldrep (Creighton; Peoria, Ariz.), Eryk Williamson (Maryland; Alexandria, Va.), Sean Wilson (North Carolina; West Chester, Penn.), Jackson Yueill (UCLA; Bloomington, Minn.).
FORWARDS (5): Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Sebastian Elney (Maryland; Boca Raton, Fla.), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire; Downers Grove, Ill.), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders; Des Moines, Wash.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic; Libertyville, Ill.).
* The 2015 U-20 World Cup players currently playing for the U.S. U-23s, who can clinch an Olympic spot with a win in the Concacaf Championship semifinals on Saturday, are goakeeper Zack Steffen, defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga, and midfielders Emerson Hyndman and Gedion Zelalem, and forward Maki Tall. Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath would have been Steffen's backup at the U-20 World Cup but wasn't released by his Norwegian club, Molde.
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