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Amobi Okugo

U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team
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Studio 90 U23 MNT Looks to Advance to CONCACAF Semifinals

Studio 90 catches up with head coach Caleb Porter, Freddy Adu, and Amobi Okugo as the U-23 Men's National Team prepares to face El Salvador in the final game of the group stage of Olympic Qualifying. The U-23 men hold their destiny in their own hands as a win on Monday night would guarantee them a spot in the tournament semifinals.

U.S. Under-23 MNT Defeats Mexico 2-0

  • Diskerud Nets Goal, Assists Agudelo Tally in First Half
  • U.S. Goalkeepers Hamid, Johnson Combine for Clean Sheet
  • U-23s Prepare for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Starting March 22 against Cuba at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

FRISCO, Texas (Feb. 29, 2012) – Juan Agudelo and Mix Diskerud scored back-to-back first-half goals in a span of a little more than one minute as the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team defeated Mexico’s U-23 National Team 2-0 during Wednesday’s international friendly at FC Dallas Stadium.

It was the U.S. U-23 squad’s first international match since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and U-23 head coach Caleb Porter’s team had an assertive effort against Mexico as it prepares for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in late March.

“We knew this match would be a challenge and we have much respect for Mexico as a soccer playing country,” said Porter. “One of the reasons we wanted to play this game prior to qualifying was to get some questions answered and measure ourselves. I’m very proud of the guys and looking forward to qualifying.”

Agudelo started the scoring with a header off of a set piece in the 35th minute as Diskerud delivered the corner kick from the left side. Agudelo headed the ball toward the left side of the goal frame as Mexico goalkeeper Liborio Sanchez and a defender were in the area. The shot squeezed in between both Mexico players and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Diskerud then gave the U.S. a 2-0 cushion in the 36th minute as he slightly redirected Freddy Adu’s strike from distance and the ball found the inside of the right post. It appeared the goal was Adu’s from 26 yards out, but closer inspection showed that it was Diskerud who stuck his right foot backwards and put a slight touch on the ball before it found the net.

Porter’s side went with a 4-3-3 formation, and the U-23s demonstrated some good attacking moments and spells of strong possession. There was a two-minute stretch from the 14th to 16th minutes when Mexico could not get a touch on the ball.

Even when the U.S. was not getting shots on goal, the team was hovering inside the box. In the 49th minute alone, Agudelo and Joe Corona both had strong opportunities for a shot on net but both players took one too many touches as Mexico’s defense cleared on both occasions.

Mexico had a difficult time creating scoring chances in the early going, but in the 22nd minute Ricardo Bocanegra hit a deep volley from more than 20 yards out that was bound for the left side of the goal frame. U.S. goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who earned a shutout earlier this year with the U.S. Men’s National Team against Venezuela, was up to the task as he dove to his right to make the clutch save.

Porter took the opportunity to give some of his second-half subs significant playing time. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who played in the second half of the senior team’s 1-0 victory against Panama earlier this year, played the second 45 minutes on Wednesday night. Johnson was tested in the 62nd minute, reacting well for a save against Mexico’s Ricardo Mier, who headed the ball toward the net off of a Javier Aquino corner kick.

The U.S. defense caught a break in the 72nd minute when USA defender Zarek Valentin came into contact with Mexico’s Marco Fabian in the box. Fabian went down to the ground, and referee Dave Gantar rushed in to show Fabian a yellow card for diving.

Porter switched up his three-man front line in the second half. U.S. starters Agudelo, Adu and Joe Gyau were substituted out in place of Teal Bunbury, Tony Taylor and Dilly Duka.

With the U.S. U-23 team’s win, it completed a Leap Day tripleheader sweep for U.S. Soccer. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Women’s National Team blanked Denmark 5-0 to open the Algarve Cup, followed by the U.S. Men’s National Team that earned its first victory against Italy with a 1-0 decision in Genoa.

The U.S. U-23 MNT now looks forward to 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, with the group stages taking place March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The U-23s face Cuba at 9 p.m. ET on March 22, and the match will be broadcast live on Universal Sports Network and Telemundo.

-- U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match: U-23 Men’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Feb. 29, 2012
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: FC Dallas Stadium – Frisco, Texas
Kickoff: 9 p.m. CT
Attendance: 7,432
Weather: 70 degrees, balmy

Scoring Summary:    1    2    F
USA                           2    0    2
MEX                           0    0    0

USA - Juan Agudelo (Mix Diskerud) 35th minute
USA - Mix Diskerud (Freddy Adu)    36

Lineups:

USA: 1-Bill Hamid (18-Sean Johnson, 46); 3-Kofi Sarkodie, 2-Ike Opara (capt.), 4-Perry Kitchen, 5-Zarek Valentin; 6-Alfredo Morales (19-Amobi Okugo, 90), 8-Mix Diskerud, 10-Joe Corona; 7-Freddy Adu (17-Tony Taylor, 67), 9-Juan Agudelo (12-Teal Bunbury, 61), 11-Joe Gyau (14-Dilly Duka, 78)
Subs not used: 13-Jorge Villafana, 15-Jack McInerney, 16-Sebastian Lletget, 20-Michael Stephens
Head Coach: Caleb Porter

MEX: 1-Liborio Sanchez, 2-Israel Jimenez, 4-Nestor Araujo, 5-Darvin Chávez, 6-Ricardo Bocanegra (17-Javier Aquino, 46), 7-Javier Cortés, 9-Jeronimo Amione (19-Alan Pulido, 64), 10-Marco Fabian, 14-Jorge Enriquez (8-David Cabrera, 78), 16-Miguel Ponce (18-Hector Herrera, 46), 21-Ricardo Mier (capt.)
Subs not used: 11-Nestor Calderon, 12-Antonio Rodriguez, 13-Diego Reyes, 15-Jair Barraza, 20-Hugo Rodriguez
Head coach: Luis Fernando Tena

Stats Summary: USA / MEX                                           
Shots: 16 / 20
Shots on Goal: 6 / 8
Saves: 8 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 6
Fouls: 15 / 10
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Freddy Adu (caution)            38th minute
MEX – Marco Fabian (caution)          73

Officials:
Referee: Dave Gantar (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Phil Briere (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Belleau (CAN)
Fourth Official: Armando Villarreal (USA)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Juan Agudelo

U23 MNT Begins Camp in Frisco

ussoccer.com speaks to goalkeeper Sean Johnson and midfielder Amobi Okugo as the U-23s begin their training camp in Frisco, Texas.

U23 MNT vs Bochum Highlights Nov 11 2011

The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team played VfL Bochum in a scrimmage in Bochum, Germany. Terrence Boyd, Tony Taylor and Dilly Duka scored the goals for the U-23 MNT in a 3-1 victory.

U23 MNT vs Bochum Reaction Nov 11 2011

Sean Johnson and Amobi Okugo discuss the U-23 Men's National Team's 3-1 win against VfL Bochum on Nov. 11, 2011 in Germany.

A Youth National Team stalwart, Amobi Okugo was a member of the U-17 Residency Program for three semesters and spent time with the U-18s and U-20s. He made his U-23 debut as a late substitute in the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 29, 2012. Okugo joined the Philadelphia Union as a first-round SuperDraft pick in 2010 and is in the midst of his third season with the club.

  • Played in both the 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championships and scored two goals in three games with the U-18s at the 2009 Australian Youth Festival
  • Selected sixth overall by the Philadelphia Union in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft
  • In 2011, Okugo started 10 of his 15 games and played a total of 811 minutes in MLS while starting all seven of his reserve team games
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