Los Angeles Blues News Release -- www.labluesprosoccer.com
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. -- After a brilliant campaign, initiated by an unbeaten tour in California last March, the Mexican National Team U20 returns to Southern California to face USL PRO’s Los Angeles Blues in preparation for the CONCACAF U20 World Cup Qualifying Tournament, to be held in Mexico next February.
The Blues will host El Tri at Titan Stadium in Fullerton on Friday, November 16, while the second game will be held at East Los Angeles Stadium, on Sunday, November 18th. The Mexican team comes to the Los Angeles area with a base that now includes six members of the 2011 U17 World Champions, and who continue to maintain an excellent level of international competition.
This has been a dream year for El Tri’s U20 side. In their last appearance, the side went 1-1-1 in the "Challenge Cup" in Chile, playing to a 0-0 draw against Argentina, falling 3-2 against the hosts and defeating Colombia 2-1 to close out the tournament. Led by popular former Mexican national team player, Sergio Almaguer, the side was crowned in three different tournaments this year, taking victory at the ADO Den Haag ’59 Second Cup’ in Holland, the ’Tournament Lev Yashin’ in Russia and Northern Ireland’s Milk Cup, where it defeated Turkey and Denmark.
This success in 2012 began locally, when the U20s went undefeated on a March tour in Southern California, with two wins and a draw. Having defeated the Blues in their first match, the U20s played to a scoreless draw against UCLA before ending the tour with a 2-0 victory against California-Berkeley, in a match held in Santa Maria, California.
The Mexican Federation has already submitted a partial list of 13 players to take part in the tour, including at least six members of the world champion team last year. Among them is Julio Gomez, the player known as El Niño Heroe, who took the Gold Ball award at the U17 World Cup. His teammates Jorge Espericueta and Carlos Fierro, who took the silver and bronze balls at the tournament, are also part of the squad traveling to California.
"Our tours to California have always been productive and has given us the opportunity to see and evaluate the talent we have," said Sergio Almaguer, coach of Mexico. "They’re always great games against quality opponents, that have shown skills, strength and great speed. That is what we seek for the preparation towards Puebla" said Almaguer.
Meanwhile, the Blues started their preparations for the 2013 USL PRO season last month as they beat Guatemalan Champion Xelaju, winning the Independence Cup in the exhibition between the two teams. For the Fullerton-based team, this game is the continuation of a process that includes a total change in management and a work plan that will have greater business ties and player exchanges with U.S. and Mexican professional teams. With the base of the team that beat Xelaju, a new coach and a new officials that will be presented in the coming days, the Blues will try to gain a greater presence in professional sports of Southern California and the international scene.