Darren Sarll gives his reaction to the U18s beating Baltimore Celtic and the 1-1 draw with USA U17s
Head of Youth Darren Sarll has given us his reaction after the Stevenage U18s picked up a win and a draw in their latest two games at the IMG Cup in Florida.
On the 1-1 draw with the USA U17s on Thursday night (Friday morning UK-time) he told us:
"I was very pleased with the USA performance. We knew facing them would draw out other elements of our game but we were great from start to to finish.
"We were very dominant physically as you would expect of an older side, but it was the aggressive nature tactically that made me most happy. We played on the front foot, engaged very high up the pitch and forced a very technical side to play long and high which again suited our physical advantage.
"George Casey was great on the night as was Jamie Carey-Morrell, Dale Gorman and Ryan Towner.
"A lapse in concentration defending the second phase of a corner saw USA go in front but the players reacted well and after Fejiri was fouled after a positive run, Dale Gorman drove his free-kick with real ferocity at the goalkeeper who could only parry it out and we slotted the ball in comfortably.
"I believe we deserved more on the night. We had several chances and could have comfortably won by four or five. Saying that, if we had not dealt with their diagonal passing early on then the USA could easily have been two up before half time."
Without a game on Friday there was a light session for the boys who hadn't had too many minutes before they were given the rest of the day off, with many of them going to Bradenton beach for a few hours to relax and unwind.
Darren continues, "In hindsight it was probably detrimental to today's win against Baltimore Celtic. The boys looked heavy and lethargic and the game was played at a poor pace. I was very disappointed with this at half time. Even though we were a goal up from Alex Cathline I felt that the intensity and direction to our attacking play was poor. It wasn't until Dale Gorman, Ryan Towner and Jimmy Hartley entered the game that we were able to inject some energy and enthusiasm to our play.
"Dale played a wonderful pass from a quick free kick for Jimmy to score. It was wonderful vision and appreciation, from Dale and equally the timing and angle of run from Jimmy.
"In all I was disappointed with our performance but reiterated that the boys should be delighted with a win. We are definitely determined to come back with 7 points now from 4 games which will be a good return from the players against what are some very good teams, players and coaches.
"Today Louis Yamfam and Fejiri Okenabirhie were excellent and Ross Millard worked extremely hard too.
"It was a good win for us and it takes us into tomorrow's game against the IMG Academy with a very positive mindset."
Remember you can watch that game live for free tomorrow afternoon (1pm UK time) right here on the official website.