CARSON, Calif. – Oscar Sorto was unable to join fellow LA Galaxy Academy alums Jose Villarreal, Javan Torre and Mario Rodriguez at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in February/March, but after a strong camp last week, Sorto may have an opportunity to represent his country at the U-20 World Cup later this year.
The 18-year-old Sorto was among the 24 players named by U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos for a week-long training camp at The Home Depot Center. Sorto was pleased with his performance throughout the camp, which included a pair of appearances, first in an intrasquad scrimmage on Wednesday and then on Sunday a scrimmage against Cal FC.
“It’s a good experience because I know the players now and I am feeling confident,” Sorto told LAGalaxy.com. “I already know what Tab wants and what he wants for the team. I think I’m doing a good job in that.”
Ramos has certainly taken notice of Sorto’s growth from his previous camp appearances in December and January to now.
“He’s a late addition in a way. He came with us in the December camp and he came with us in the January camp and he was really was a great player, not so much in December, but in January, he did really well. Had I had to choose only from that camp, he would have been on the qualifying team,” said Ramos, who stressed that he was hamstrung by commitments to college players during the CONCACAF Championship. “Oscar is certainly in contention for a World Cup spot and he has been one of our best players.”
Sorto will have plenty of competition for spot on the roster as he has been pitted against talented Seattle Sounders FC Homegrown player DeAndre Yedlin. The Sounders right back has already gained considerable experience this year with nine starts and 10 appearances across all competitions in 2013.
Yedlin appears to have the upper hand for the starting position at right back after starting both the club’s intrasquad scrimmage last Wednesday and Sunday’s scrimmage against Cal FC with the first team. But Sorto is confident that he can insert his name into the conversation.
“[Yedlin is] good. You can’t deny it. He has more experience than me too, but I think that I could be his backup or start over him,” said Sorto. “He likes attacking and that’s what Tab likes so during the intrasquad scrimmage [last week], I was trying to attack more than to defend, but it’s going to be a good competition.”
Sorto was joined by three other former Galaxy Academy members in Villarreal, Torre and defender Jeffrey Payeras, who is currently with Guatemalan side Municipal. The four players are quite familiar with one another as each played together with the Galaxy and at storied local youth club Pateadores, winning the 2011 U-17/18 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy title.
All four players are likely to be serious contenders to make Ramos’ squad, which according to Villarreal speaks volumes about the Galaxy Academy’s development.
“It just shows the quality of the academy and the players that they’ve been producing,” Villarreal told LAGalaxy.com. “We just have to keep working on it and obviously there are more players that are moving up the ranks through the academy so this is doing very good.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com