YNT Dec 18, 2011
Andrew Wooten and Gale Agbossoumonde compete for the ball
With U.S. head coach Caleb Porter indicating there are about 50 potential players for the U.S. Olympic Qualifying roster, the chance to evaluate the individuals in game conditions is clearly important. It also gives the coaches a chance to gauge the progress of the group in understanding the concepts of how they want the team to play.
On the third day of the December camp, the coaching staff mixed up the group for a 90-minute intra-squad scrimmage at the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Fla. To enhance the game-like atmosphere, the training game was open to the public, the teams wore uniforms, and a local referee crew officiated.
All 30 players saw action, ranging from 45-90 minutes, with Andrew Wooten and Will Bruin scoring on either side of halftime. Here's how the teams lined up in dueling 4-3-3- formations:
White: Bill Hamid (Sean Johnson, 45), Sheanon Williams, Gale Agbossoumonde, Royal-Dominique Fennell, Zarek Valentin; Amobi Okugo (Jared Jeffrey, 75), Jared Jeffrey (Sebastian Lletget, 46), Mix Diskerud (Dilly Duka, 46); Freddy Adu, Teal Bunbury (Terrence Boyd), Joe Gyau (Teal Bunbury, 75)
Blue: Zac MacMath (David Bingham, 46), Kofi Sarkodie (Danny Cruz, 75), Andrew Wenger, Sebastien Ibeagha, Jorge Villafana; Bryan Arguez, Michael Stephens (Joe Corona, 75), Joe Corona (Kelyn Rowe); Danny Cruz (Will Bruin, 46), Andrew Wooten (Jann George, 46), Jack McInerney (9-Andrew Wooten, 75)
U.S. head coach CALEB PORTER
"I thought there were a lot of positives. Obviously we are playing a mixed group, trying to sort out where we are at depth-wise. Those things will shake out as the week goes on and the camps go on. After today, we have a clearer picture with some of those things. In the last two days we have introduced the system and how we will play style-wise, so if you consider that there were a lot of positives. There are also a lot of things to be ironed out, like overall movement, especially in the final third. Those things take time to gel. In terms of possession, I thought we showed out times how we can control and dictate the tempo and the rhythm. There wasn't enough penetration in the final third, but my experience is when you throw this style at teams is that usually this is the case. You have a lot of the ball, but you have to pick the times to attack. Overall, I'm real pleased."
On what he has liked from the first few days of camp:
"I thought our mentality was good. Guys came out with a lot of energy, a lot of spirit and a lot of fight. I thought technically today we really put our foot on the ball, and held the ball for long periods. Playing this way takes a lot of time to develop, but i'm very pleased. We have a very technical team, and also a very honest team. There's a little bit of the American trademark of things, but we also showed we can play a bit of football. What I wasn't pleased was the number of chances we created out of the possession, and at times we got opened up on the counterattack. That's natural when you are learning this type of style. I've seen it over and over again. We'll iron out those things, and by th end of the camp we'll be a notch closer."
On what are the next steps for the remainder of the camp:
"We will look at things in the game on tape and show the guys. We'll get back to work with another two days of training and end with another game. I'm sure there will be some changes in the lineup. Stocks are going to go up and down. Overall, we have to look at the performance of the players and figure out the best mix and really who can help us in what role."