Head of Youth Darren Sarll was pleased with his U18 side despite their 3-1 defeat to Brazilian side Cruzeiro yesterday in their opening IMG Cup game in Florida.
After Jimmy Hartley had equalised for Boro in the first half, Stevenage pressed on and played very well against their South American opponents before conceding two second half goals.
Darren told us, “It was a very good first half performance where it was evident we controlled the ball and possession. George Casey got lots of joy at wing-back as did Yamfam on the right. I thought as the half wore on we were very comfortable in the middle of the pitch. We were disappointed at half time to be 1-1 because besides the goal, our goalkeepers Tyler (Reading) and Bryce (Billington) were really redundant.
"We created some good moments that should/could have been goals for us. I thought the boys played with a good tempo and intensity and we were organised in a new system of play.
“The second half was a scruffy performance from us. There were too many 'off the cuff' moments where players sort a solution that was not conducive to our identity.
"The interesting aspect socially was observing our players deal with a very different culture and players different behavioural traits. At times we were so focused in trying to remonstrate or redeem some order that we hindered our attacking and defending performance.
“Overall the boys worked very hard, showed desire and heart and competed for 70 minutes with a huge club.
"The goals we conceded in the second half are excusable. I think all coaches will encourage offensive players to shoot and the Cruzeiro boy has found the top corner from long range. The penalty is an unfortunate situation, especially as Fejiri was pushed to a flank position to increase the amount of goal scorers on the pitch.
"But we still reacted and tried to play forward and bridge the gap.
"The boys have been invigorated by the fact they have out-passed a top team for spells and we go into our next game with hope and enthusiasm that we'll compete again."
Next up for Boro's youngsters is the USA U17s tonight. The game is a 7.30pm start there, a 12.30am start here in the UK and you'll be able to watch this live right here on the official website.