Commentary

Friedel's revamped U.S. U-19 men lift Slovakia Cup

By Mike Woitalla

The U.S. U-19 men’s national team, coached by Brad Friedel, beat Russia, 2-1, to win the Slovakia Cup after reaching the final thanks to group-stage wins over Georgia (5-1) and Ukraine (2-1).

In the final, the USA came back after going down 1-0 in the 14th minute on goals by Nelson Hunsinger of Florida's Leg A-Z in the 15th minute and Pierre Da Silva (Orlando City B) in the 65th minute. Tijuana’s Brandon Vazquez assisted on both goals.

U.S. captain Weston McKinnie, of FC Dallas, who scored against Georgia and Ukraine, and was named tournament MVP.

In the U.S. U-19s' first tournament under Friedel, they lost to Spain, France and the Canary Islands in February's Copa Atlantico. Only five players from the 23-player Copa Copa Atlantico squad -- goalkeepers William Pulisic (Richmond United) and Benjamin Hale (FC Dallas), defender Hector Montalvo (FC Dallas), midfielder Eric Calvillo (New York Cosmos) and Da Silva -- returned for the Slovakia Cup. Seven players who played against Russia played for the USA at last year's U-17 World Cup, including Vazquez and Da Silva. Besides 1999-born Ernesto Espinoza, of Tijuana Xolos, all the U.S. players were born in 1998.


Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer

April 29 in Myjava, Slovakia
USA 2 Russia 1. Goals: Hunsinger (Vazquez) 15, Da Silva (Vazquez) 65; Kuchaev (Chalov) 14.
USA -- Pulisic; Fossey, Montalvo, Barbir, Arellano; De La Torre, McKennie; Da Silva (Agu, 79), Hunsinger (Gallardo, 51), Espinoza (Young, 40); Vazquez.
Russia -- Maksimenko; Matviichuk, Tataev, Kalugin, Lomovitskiy; Galanin (Kamenshchikov, 48), Makhatadze, Obliakov; Viznovich, Chalov, Kuchaev (Krapukhin, 70).

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U.S. U-16 boys beat England, finish 6th at Torneo Delle Nazioni

The U.S. U-16 boys national team, coached by Shaun Tsakiris, beat England in a shootout after a 4-4 tie in the consolation bracket at the Torneo Delle Nazioni before falling, 4-0, to host Italy in the placement game for fifth place.

USA Torneo Delle Nazioni 2016 Results
Croatia 2 USA 1 (U.S. scorer: Gabriel Segal)
USA 2 Slovenia 2 (Luis Arriaga, Jose Rivas)
USA 2 Brazil 1 (Konrad de la Fuente, Marcelo Palomino)
USA 4 England 4 (PKs, 6-5) (John Hilton, de la Fuente, Rivas, Segal)
Italy 4 USA 0

The USA had 2-0 and 4-2 leads against England, which scored with 10 and three minutes left to send the game to the penalty-kick tiebreaker. Both team's first five shooters converted before England’s Zico Asare missed and U.S. captain Taylor Booth buried his spot kick for the win.

Torneo Delle Nazioni 2016
1st place Slovenia. 2 Japan. 3 Norway. 4 Russia. 5 Italy. 6 USA. 7 Croatia. 8 England. 9 Brazil. 10 Mexico. 11 Austria. 12 Qatar.

April 29 in Fiumicello, Italy
USA 4 England 4 (USA wins, 6-5, on PKs). Goals: Hilton (Palomino) 7, De la Fuente (Palomino) 10, Rivas (De la Fuente) 20, Segal (Morel); Tulloch 18, Appiah 37, Tulloch 60, Appiah 67.
USA -- Defreitas-Hansen; Morel, Blancas, Sepulveda, Hilton; Booth, Rivas (Mendonca, 50), De la Fuente ( Llanez, 50), Vassilev; Arriaga (De Almeida, 65), Palomino (Segal, 36 (Hategan, 68).
England -- Oluwayemi; Crowe, Ogbeta, Tulloch, Amaechi; Mumba, Jones, Shihab, Asare; Appiah, Sole (Doyle, 27).

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U.S. U-16 girls fall to Mexico on PKs

The U.S. U-16 girls national team fell to Mexico’s U-17s on a penalty-kick tiebreaker, after a 1-1 tie, to finish in fourth place at the 1st Women’s Tournament Delle Nazioni in Italy.

Coach Tricia Taliaferro’s team took a 22nd minute lead on a goal by Olivia Wingate of Massachusetts' FC Stars but the Mexicans equalized with a 54th minute penalty kick by Daniela Arce. The Mexicans prevailed 4-2 in the shootout after goalkeeper Kelsey Brann, a Mexican-American who plays for the Texas Rush, saved the USA’s first two attempts.

The teams met for third place after each finishing second in its group. The USA opened with a 1-0 loss to host Italy and beat Iran, 6-0.

The USA fielded mainly players born in 2000 against older teams of players born in 1999, the age cut-off year for the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan Sept. 30-Oct. 21. The U.S. U-17 girls, who won the Concacaf qualifying tournament, were in camp with Coach B.J. Snow in Carson, California.

April 28 in San Valentino, Italy
Mexico 1 USA 1 (Mexico wins, 4-2, on PKs).  Goals: Arce (pen.) 54; Wingate (Yates) 22.
Mexico -- Brann; Soto (Reyes Stubblefield, 51), Munoz, Rodriguez, Fuentes; Delgado Hernandez, Arce, 10- Hernandez Garcia, Ovalle; Juarez Smith, Reyes Zarate (Delgado Heinz, 36)
USA -- Meyer; Holmes, Bell, Enge, Martinez; 19-Cori Dyke, Vergura (Bethune, 55 Yates; Godfrey, Mendoza (Jarrett, 36), Wingate (Vatne, 68).

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Spot Kicks

Pennsylvania product Christian Pulisic, who at age 17 has eight Bundesliga appearances, two Bundesliga goals and three Europa League appearances, returned to Borussia Dortmund's U-19 team and scored 18-yard beauty as BVB’s U-19s clinched the west region U-19 German championship with a 6-0 win over MSV Duisburg. Last season, Pulisic helped Borussia Dortmund win the 2014-15 German U-17 national championship. His U-19s face either Hoffenheim or 1860 Munich in the German national championship semifinal. Pulisic played in 12 U-19 league games and three U-19 cup games in the 2015-16 season and has scored seven goals in the 13 wins, one tie and one loss. Last season he played for both BVB's U-19 and U-17 team. Go HERE for video of Pulisic's goal against MSV Duisburg.

-- Christopher Sullivan, USA 1990 World Cup vet and longtime TV pundit, has been named director of coaching of Northern California youth club Burlingame SC. Sullivan, who played for MLS's San Jose Clash in 1997, played in numerous foreign league including France, Hungary, Denmark and Germany.

-- Fifteen field players and three goalkeepers have reached the National Finals of Sueño MLS 2016, the talent search for teens that is broadcast reality show-style by Univision Deportes’ República Deportiva. At this year’s National Finals, May 4-7 in Carson, California, the players will be coached by former Mexican national team stars Luis Hernandez, who played for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2000-01, and Adolfo Rios, a goalkeeper who played in two Copa Americas. 2016 Sueño MLS 2016 finalists ...

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