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U-18 MNT Headed to Mexico for 2015 Copa Chivas Internacional

CHICAGO (Jan. 27, 2015) – U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Javier Perez has named a 20-player roster for the 2015 Copa Chivas Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico. This is the U-18 MNT’s first competition of the new year and first competition since the two-game international set against Germany in mid-December in Marbella, Spain.

The USA opens its Group A stage of Copa Chivas against Monarcas Morelia on Friday, Jan. 30 (1 p.m. ET). The U-18 MNT then faces Cruzeiro Esporte Clube on Jan. 31 (10 a.m.), Club Tijuana on Feb. 2 (10 a.m.) and Club Deportivo Universidad Católica on Feb. 3 (10 a.m.).

The top eight seeds advance to the tournament’s quarterfinal stage, which begins Feb. 5. That is followed by the semifinals on Feb. 6 and the title game on Feb. 7.

This is the 19th edition of Copa Chivas Internacional. The tournament features three groups of five teams. Group B includes Mexico’s U-17 national team, Boca Juniors, Monterrey, River Plate and Tigres. Group C features FC Dallas, Atlas, Atlético Paranaense, Chivas Guadalajara and Urawa Red Diamonds.

The U.S. roster features 14 players who took part in the two matches against Germany to wrap up the 2014 campaign, including goal scorers Mauricio Pineda (2), Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Elney. The USA split its two-game set, defeating Germany 2-1 on Dec. 17 and falling 3-2 in the rematch two days later. (Perez Impressed with U-18 MNT Performance )

Eighteen of the players are with current Development Academy clubs and 19 of the 20 have Academy ties.

After Copa Chivas, the U-18s will compete in the 2015 Slovakia Cup in late April.

Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jonathan Klinsmann (Strikers FC; Newport Beach, Calif.), Justin Vom Steeg (Real So Cal; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): David Burns (San Juan SC; El Dorado Hills, Calif.), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Malcolm Jones (LA Galaxy; Chino Hills, Calif.), DJ Mason (Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL; Morrisville, N.C.); Pablo Pelaez (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Boakye (Oakwood SC; Glastonbury, Conn.), James Murphy (Players Development Academy; Scotch Plains, N.J.), Amirgy Pineda (Fullerton SC; Santa Ana, Calif.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG; Libertyville, Ill.), Evan Waldrep (Creighton; Peoria, Ariz.), Eryk Williamson (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.), Sean Wilson (Philadelphia Union; West Chester, Pa.), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (4): Sebastian Elney (Philadelphia Union; Boca Raton, Fla.), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake AZ; Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders FC; Des Moines, Wash.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.)

Perez Impressed with U-18 MNT Performance against Germany

The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team capped off the 2014 campaign with a two-game split and an even aggregate score against a strong Germany side in Marbella, Spain. Head coach Javier Perez thought the players’ performance was a fitting end to the year, showing that many of them are ready for the next level in the Youth National Team system and beyond.

The U-18s program has brought in 83 players during this cycle, so Perez and the YNT coaches have had an opportunity to survey an extensive talent pool.

“This camp was great to see new players respond against a big nation like Germany,” Perez said. “Five players were with us for the first time in this cycle, including two with their first national team ever. We had about nine players out with commitments who were a big part of the team this year, and the new players were ready for the challenge.”

The USA opened with a 2-1 victory on Dec. 17 and dropped a 3-2 decision in the rematch against Germany on Dec. 19. Though the U-18s fell in the second game, the USA fought back from a 2-0 first-half deficit and had multiple moments in the second half to cash in with a late equalizer.

“The second half, we were focused mentally, and scoring in the first two minutes of the second half really pushed us,” Perez said. “Germany was asking for the final whistle at the end, and we created some chances. Overall, it was positive because it’s always difficult competing against big nations. They were not fazed and showed they can compete at any level. It was a good benchmark for us and a good reference point.”

Perez was impressed with the performances of wide array of players among this particular trip, from the back with the likes of goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann to the front line and Brooks Lennon, who scored the winning goal in the opener against Germany.

“Jonathan Klinsmann was really strong in goal in the first game and made a couple key saves in the first half. He has a good frame and is very talented,” Perez said. “Our outside backs did very well. Pablo Pelaez was consistent, and Kyle Duncan made his international debut and his second camp and we’re intrigued with how he will do. It’s also important to highlight Brooks Lennon because he has matured so much as a player. He had not been with the national team for a while, but he came back and showed the type of player we need up front.”

The Younger Yanks Are Coming

ussoccer.com: Having reviewed the win against the Czech Republic, what are your lasting impressions of the performance?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “There are a lot of positives we can take out of this game. We asked this younger generation - the group that here and there was not a big part of the World Cup in Brazil - to step it up and make statements. I think that young group made a very, very strong statement. We asked players such as Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Jozy Altidore and others to take the responsibilities into their hands and guide that young team in Prague, and that’s what they did. Winning in Prague against a Czech team that barely missed out on qualifying for the World Cup is a strong statement. So overall, it was a very positive trip. We learned a lot, and this group deserves to come along.”

ussoccer.com: There seemed to be an increased aggressiveness in the midfield. What were your instructions to those guys?
JK: “With every young group that comes through the system, you want them to step it up physically year by year. You want them to take over responsibilities, you want them to grow, to be louder on the field, but also to send out signals physically. It’s a physical sport, and in many cases it’s about one-on-one battles on the field and winning those battles. That’s what Mix, Michael Orozco, Joe Corona, John Brooks, Jozy Altidore, Ale Bedoya did. They stepped up and showed they can compete physically. That’s what we wanted to see, so for that reason they deserve a compliment.”

ussoccer.com: The team also seemed to show a commitment to playing out of the bac, particularly with the distribution by Brad Guzan. Did you ask them to stick with that plan and not be afraid to take risks? Is that something you plan to preach moving forward?
JK: “It’s definitely a huge step for us to play out of the back, to find defenders and open up the game right away and not to play long balls all the time. Pretty much every long ball is a turn over. In the first half with Brad Guzan delivering those balls into Diskerud, into the fullbacks, into the centerbacks, that looked really nice. Obviously for Nick Rimando, he’s used to doing that. He’s almost like a field player and he’s very comfortable playing out of the back. We told them not to worry about making mistakes. Here and there it might happen, but we want this game to be developed from the back into the midfield and then into the forwards and not to be forced always to play long balls. This is something we are going to encourage more and more going forward. We want to keep the ball. We want to build out of the back. We want them to have the confidence to do that and not worry about mistakes. I think it was a big step forward, and we will emphasize that going into the October games as well.”

ussoccer.com: While Jozy didn’t have many scoring chances, he seemed to show improved hold up play. What were your impressions?
JK: “It was huge for us to have Jozy Altidore back in our lineup. This was the biggest bummer for us in the World Cup, to lose Jozy in the first game. I think we could have made a huge step in the World Cup, especially facing a team like Belgium in the Round of 16, if Jozy had been on the field.  I asked him to guide this young group. He’s still a young guy himself - he’s 24 years old but he already has 70 caps. We made him the captain and told him to guide these guys and he enjoyed that. He battled the whole game. He won most of his one-on-one battles, he provided great assists. He connected with Joe Gyau to the right and Julian green to the left, and connected to the midfield. It was a very strong performance by Jozy, even if he didn’t score. This is what we want to see from him. Sooner or later, I told him you are going to score your goals in the Premier League and continue to score goals for the National Team.”

U-18 MNT Wins Title at International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek

ZLIN, Czech Republic (Aug. 23, 2014) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team defeated Ukraine 1-0 in the championship match of the 21st International Tournament of Václav Ježek.

Mukwelle Akale scored the game’s only goal in the 47th minute off of a Cameron Lindley assist. Akale was named the tournament’s top player. Earlier this year, the Minnesota Thunder Academy product and former U.S. U-17 Residency midfielder was named the MVP of the 2014 Copa del Atlantico.

The USA’s Jonathan Klinsmann was named the event’s best goalkeeper for earning a clean sheet and coming up with five saves in the final. He also had three saves during the U-18 MNT’s group-opening 3-1 victory against Hungary on Aug. 20.

U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team

-U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team vs. Ukraine
Date: Aug. 23, 2014
Competition: 21st International Youth Tournament of Václav Ježek
Venue: Zlin, Czech Republic
Kickoff: 2 p.m. CEST
Weather: 70 degrees

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

USA – Mukwelle Akale (Cameron Lindley)     47th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann; 4-Justen Glad, 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 15-Mauricio Pineda, 3-Pablo Pelaez, 20-Jackson Yueill (11-Sebastian Saucedo, 62), 6-Ben Swanson, 10-Mukwelle Akale (capt.) (14-Collin Fernandez, 89), 8-Cameron Lindley, 13-Victor Mansaray (9-Coy Craft, 46), 18-Sebastian Elney (19-Haji Wright, 76)
Subs Not Used: 2-Kyle Duncan, 7-Jorge Ruiz, 16-Malcolm Jones, 17-Sean Wilson, 22-JT Marcinkowski
Head Coach: Javier Perez

UKR: 1-Dmytro Fastov; 18-Oleksandr Tymchyk, 22-Dmytro Shevchenko, 15-Sergiy Chobotenko, 3-Vasyl Kravets, 19-Yaroslav Fursov, 7-Rostyslav Taranukha (20-Volodymyr Grachov, 72), 8-Volodymyr Shepeliev (14-Oleksiy Zinkevych, 46), 21-Bogdan Mykhaylichenko, 17-Oleksii Gutsuliak (10-Artur Avagimin, 62), 9-Olekxiv Shchebetun
Subs Not Used: 4-Roman Lebed, 11-Oleksandr Pikhalonok, 12-Andril Marchuk, 16-Dmitro Sautin
Head Coach: Oleg Kuznetsov

Stats Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 11
Fouls: 11 / 21
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Mauricio Pineda (caution)         39th minute
USA – Coy Craft (caution)                     49
UKR – Oleksiy Zinkevych (caution)      52
USA – Cameron Lindley (caution)        53
UKR – Yaroslav Fursov (caution)         58
UKR – Dmytro Shevchenko (caution)  69

Officials:
Referee: Franek Pavel
Assistant Referee: Vlasjuk Pavel
Assistant Referee: Kotik Radek
Fourth Official: N/A

Coy Craft and Cameron Lindley

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