CARSON, Calif. – Chicago Fire midfielder Benji Joya scored twice as the United States Under-21’s defeated Club Tijuana’s Under-20 squad 2-1 during a scrimmage at StubHub Center on Wednesday evening.
Joya scored for the U.S. in the 59th minute before New Jersey-native Armando Moreno appeared to steal a late equalizer for Club Tijuana in the 83rd minute. But the Fire midfielder gave the U.S. the win in stoppage time as he capitalized on a deflection in the penalty area and easily slotted a shot from close range past the Xolos ‘keeper to give the Americans the victory.
Galaxy Homegrown Players Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal each went 45 minutes in the victory with the latter two starting the match while McBean came off the bench in the second half. The Xolos Under-20’s also boasted a Galaxy connection as former Academy star Paul Arriola went 45 minutes for a Tijuana side that included fellow Americans Greg Garza and Fernando Arce Jr.
“I felt like we could have created more chances in the first half, but the second half guys did a great job of creating offense,” Villarreal told LAGalaxy.com after the U.S. victory. “I have to give a hand to [Stanford forward Jordan Morris] because he did a great job on the left side.
“It was a good experience to get back with [U.S. U-21 head coach] Tab Ramos and [U.S. National Team head coach] Jurgen Klinsmann was here too to offer a helping hand and give us a few tips,” he added. “It was just great to get back with the group and get the win.”
McBean was by far the most dangerous of the trio as the Galaxy II forward nearly tallied twice during his second half stint while partnered alongside Morris. Both times, however, the 19-year-old was denied from close range by solid stops by the oppostion goalkeeper.
Although McBean was unable to find the back of the net, he admits that the experience of being part of the U.S. U-21 was one that will aid him as he goes forward.
“It was fun playing with these guys. I should have put a few away there, but that’s the way that it goes sometimes. We got the win though which is what matters,” McBean told LAGalaxy.com. “It was a short camp but it’ll be preparation for the Olympic qualifiers which are a few years away. It was still good to get the group together as we start the process. I hope that I get called up and make the squad.”
U.S. Under-21 Lineups vs. Club Tijuana Under-20’s
FIRST HALF: Jon Kempin; Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Christian Dean, Shane O'Neill, Oscar Sorto; Marlon Hairston, Collin Martin, Benji Joya, Daniel Cuevas, Jose Villarreal, Victor Pineda
SECOND HALF: Kendall McIntosh; Marco Delgado, Marlon Hairston, Christian Dean, Dillon Serna; Benji Joya, Stevie Rodriguez, Alejandro Guido; Sean Okoli, Jack McBean, Jordan Morris