I was at the Home Depot Center Friday night were the participants of the U-18 camp played against a couple of PDL teams comprised of college players.
I arrived 20 minutes from the end of the first game where they lost to Ventura County Fusion. I was told 4-1. All I can say from watching the final moments is that Danny Barrera from UCSB was clearly on a different level – he should go pro next year.
The second game against OC Blue Star I watched in full. The national team lost 2-0, and nothing special was displayed from either side. The match was classic college soccer – no possession, no creativity, no pause. It was pure back and forth action at a frenetic pace, with each player in a panic when receiving the ball.
Luis Gil, who played offensive mid, was the only one displaying some brains and his frustration with teammates showed. After being subbed out 5 minutes into the second half, any semblance of structure the national team had, was lost. And that’s when the goals came.
But the main story on this occasion wasn’t the matches. You all know how I feel about the US game. The big news is on the promise of our future.
I must say that after watching him on Friday, I have some concerns. We’ve talked about him here and here as having world class potential, but now I fear that’s not the case.
What gives me pause is his decision making on several possessions – trying to do too much instead of making the simple play. Now, he just turned 16 in November and maybe I should cut him a break. After all, these details could definitely be corrected. But in my lengthy discussion with a source at the camp, I now have serious doubts.
Luis Gil’s Future
There have been a handful of well-known bloggers/journalists who have included him as an MLS Draft prospect or continue discussing his possibility of an Arsenal contract. My talk last night with someone intimately close to his future, all but crushed the Arsenal thing – stating Luis does not want to go overseas. In addition, it is extremely unlikely he will enter the draft, not for lack of MLS interest but rather that Luis wants to finish highschool (he’s now a Junior).
From a purely soccer perspective, this could choke his potential. Hopefully I’m wrong and he has some mentors that can develop him. The kid has signs of brilliance and could be a true #10 – something this country desperately lacks.
Danny Barera was the only college player who played for Ventura County Fusion. National PDL Champs. The Fusion were on a differnt level expect with some great passing and moving. The only downfall was their finishing having only scored 4 of their 25 chances.
Gary Kleiban says
Thanks for that jonathan. Yeah, I heard it was total domination. Wish I had gotten there earlier.
paul thomas says
Agreed the Fusion were on another level but the US team did have a couple of players that stood out. Barera was excellant as were 5 or 6 other fusion players. The fusion subed out its starters in second half.
Can anyone who saw the game give me an honest scouting report of the starting right back for the U-18 against Fusion? He came to camp as a mid but was moved to right back (something I have told him he should do long ago). Thanks, and honesty is appreciated!
Gary Kleiban says
Wish I could help you Dylan, but I got there too late. There is however a good discussion over at Big Soccer about the camp. Maybe someone there was present?
Here’s the link:
Thanks for the link. I have been checking over there as well to no avail!!!