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Academy set for IMG Cup Final after beating USA

Posted on 18 December 2016  - 14:18

John McDermott has laid down the challenge to our Under-18s to take their game to the next level in tonight’s (Sunday, December 18) IMG Cup Final in Florida after dispatching the USA Under-17 national side on Saturday evening.

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Dylan Duncan, Reo Griffiths and Kazaiah Sterling got the goals as we secured a 3-1 win over the States in front of a competition record 3,500 crowd to make it a clean sweep of victories in the group stage and book a final showdown with Mexican side Toluca at 5.30pm local time today (10.30pm UK).

After overseeing a 7-0 trouncing of RVG Academy and a 2-0 victory over Baltimore Armour earlier in the week, John, our Head of Player Development, was thrilled with the level of performance produced against the States – and is now anticipating an even tougher battle as we bid to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.

“I spoke to Brad Friedel (now a coach in the USA youth international set-up) and he spoke very positively about this USA age group so that gives us a little bit of context as to how well we did last night,” said John as he assessed our final group stage outing.

“The first two games were against quite strong American club teams, we did particularly well in the first one and okay in the second one, but last night against the USA was a real test in a big stadium with a good crowd, who were obviously slightly partisan in terms of supporting the home nation.

“It was a hard test playing our third game in four days but we were deserving winners and we came out of it with a good amount of credit.

“The final game is against a very tough Toluca outfit – they’re regular visitors here, but with the heat and humidity over here, plus the fatigue of now playing our fourth game in five days, it’s going to be a really good but a really tough game.

“We’ve only conceded one goal so far in the tournament and I’m confident that if we play as well as we’re capable of, we can beat Toluca. If we don’t apply ourselves, we won’t. This particular group of players has got undoubted ability but it’s just a case of making sure that the levels of application are where they need to be.”

Midfielder Jack Roles has been our top scorer at the tournament so far with a hat-trick against RVG and a further strike against Baltimore. Consequently, he’s been one of the players who has caught John’s eye across the Atlantic.

“Jack has got back into goalscoring form and done very well, Dylan Duncan has continued his fine form and Nick Tsaroulla has also produced some eye-catching performances but what we’re looking for now is who can step up in the final, who can be a big-game player and that’s the challenge that we’ve put down to the boys today,” he added. “We want somebody who can play in front of a crowd and play in a final. That’s terrific preparation for any of them that might get the chance to play at White Hart Lane one day.”

Saturday, December 17
USA U17s 1-3 Spurs (Duncan 26, Griffiths 32, Sterling 49)
Spurs: De Bie, Eyoma, Tsaroulla, Oakley-Boothe (Brown 73), Tanganga (Lock 73), Dinzeyi, Shashoua (Sterling 48), Duncan, Griffiths, Roles, Bennetts (Gonzalez-Velasco 10).

Thursday, December 15
Baltimore Armour 0-2 Spurs (Sterling 38, Roles 79; Marsh sent off 51)
Spurs: De Bie, Hinds, Brown (Tsaroulla 59), Marsh, Tanganga (Eyoma 72), Dinzeyi, Shashoua (Oakley-Boothe 63), Omolabi, Sterling (Griffiths 72), Duncan (Roles 63), Bennetts (Gonzalez-Velasco 72).

Wednesday, December 14
Spurs 7-0 RVG Academy (OG 9, Roles 13, 31, 33, Tsaroulla 38, Bennetts 64, Gozalez-Velasco 73 (pen))
Spurs: Austin, Lock, Tsaroulla (Hinds 40), Marsh (Omolabi 40), Eyoma (Tanganga 56), Dinzeyi (Brown 56), Shashoua (Bennetts 56), Reynolds, Griffiths (Sterling 67), Roles (Duncan 62), Gonzalez-Velasco.