Canada’s men’s U-20 team completed a training camp in Mexico this weekend, posting a 1:1 draw in its second match in three days on Sunday 8 July 2012. The two sides met at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento for two Men’s U-20 International Friendly matches, with the Sunday match a follow up to Mexico’s 3:0 win on Friday morning. Both teams are making their early preparations for next year’s biennial CONCACAF and FIFA U-20 competitions.
"Going forward, we have lots from which we can build," said Canadian U-20 coach Nick Dasovic. "There were some good performances by lots of individuals. We are looking forward to build on this camp towards next year’s qualification process.
This marks coach Dasovic’s second project for 1993-born players. Canada will compete in the 2013 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship from 18 February to 3 March in Mexico. Four teams from the 12-team tournament will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013.
On Sunday, Mexico’s Jesús Corona opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, notching his second goal in as many matches. Canada then scored the equaliser in the 56th minute, taking advantage on the counter attack after a Mexico free kick. Goalkeeper Ricky Gomes released Alessandro Riggi who then found Keven Aleman. Aleman beat a pair of defenders, then drew a penalty when he was taken down. Aleman scored on the penalty to make it 1-1.
Incidentally, this marked Canada’s first draw at the men’s youth level against Mexico in Mexico since April 1996. Sixteen years ago, Canada won its second CONCACAF men’s youth championship, that one in Saltillo, Mexico at the Estadio Saltillo (highlights from the championship included a 2:2 draw against Mexico and a 2:0 win over USA).
For this July 2012 project, Canada’s men’s U-20 team featured Bryce Alderson, Keven Aleman, Oscar Cordon, Yassin Essa, Mauro Eustáquio, Ben Fisk, Dino Gardner, Ricky Gomes, Callum Irving, Jonathan Lao, Ben McKendry, Shadrack Mmunga, Jordan Murrell, Tyler Pasher, Nikola Paunic, Alessandro Riggi, Daniel Stanese, Skylar Thomas, Christian Travaglini and Stefan Vukovic. Five of Canada’s seven 1994s participated in last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
Mexico’s U-20 team, coached by Sergio Almaguer, features 13 players born in 1993 and nine players born in 1994. Of the nine 1994s, eight of them won gold with last year’s champion FIFA U-17 World Cup team, including Golden Ball award winner Julio Gómez and captain and final goal-scoring hero Antonio Briseño.
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