The United States U-23's opened their 2015 Toulon Tournament with a 3-1 loss to the host country France. Typically a U-20 tournament, the USA brought an older group to Toulon in hopes of preparing for their Olympic qualifying campaign in October. And yet, the France U-20 team over-matched the older Americans in the first half, maintaining the majority of possession and creating many chances. A slightly better second half performance from Andi Herzog's team made the scoreline a bit more respectable.
The U.S. fell behind early in the game when France's Fares Bahlouli, who was their most impressive player on the day, opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a lovely curling effort from outside the box. Les Bleus doubled their lead just a minute later when Enzo Crivelli smashed in a rebound from a Cody Cropper save. France continued to dominate the game in the first half, leaving the US with no shots. In the 21st minute, Stephane Sparagna finished past Cropper with a delicate flick off a free-kick to push the lead to 3-0.
At the end of the 40 minute half (Toulon Tournament rules), it was all France. The Yanks didn't record their first shot until the 46th minute when Marc Pelosi's wild left footed shot missed high of the French goal. They enjoyed a fair amount of the possession in the second half while even creating a few chances. The lone U.S. goal came by way of a tremendous solo run by Jordan Morris followed a lovely deft finish past the French keeper. The U.S. continued to pile on the pressure after the goal, but failed to mount a serious comeback. Full-time came at 80 minutes with France prevailing in the opening group game for both sides.
- The team lacked cohesion and failed to create anything in the first 60 minutes.
- Jordan Morris was far and away the best American on the field.
- Poor giveaways by Metzger and Joya lead to the first two France goals.
- After all the talk of 'the diamond,' the U.S. started in a 4-3-3 with Green and Kiesewetter flanking Morris.
- The France midfield overwhelmed the Americans, who lacked a true defensive midfielder.
- The U.S. wasted countless free kick chances with poor service from Green and Pelosi.
- The more technical France were finding plenty of space in their attacking third early in the game.
- This age group failed miserably at the 2013 U-20 World Cup. They have a lot of work to do to avoid a repeat failure in this tournament.