Tuesday, October 27, 2009
United States Under-17 midfielder Luis Gil's first foray at the U-17 World Cup was one full of nerves, but also of quality play.
Gil's long ball into striker Jack McInerney in the first minute of action resulted in the sending off of Spanish defender Sergi Gomez.
Despite having the man advantage, Spain rallied to defeat the young 'Nats leaving Gil to concede that butterflies got the best of him and perhaps some of his teammates.
"I was a little nervous at first," Gil told YA after the match. "It was my first game and my first World Cup, but once I got used to the rhythm of the game I felt better. Wilmer told us at halftime to just relax and don't be nervous."
The native of Garden Grove, California got the starting nod from head coach Wilmer Cabrera and went the distance in the loss.
Despite being one of the youngest players on the squad, Gil has developed a connection on the field with McInerney as the two hooked up to terrorize opponents leading up to the tournament.
The 15 year old even had a chance of his own to equalize as time was running out, but Gil's shot rolled harmlessly into the arms of Spanish goalkeeper Edgar leaving the Golden State resident to lament their missed opportunities.
"We wanted to score and we needed to score and attack but the ball never went in," sighed Gil.
Next up on the docket for Cabrera's squad is a Thursday encounter versus Malawi, a team with alot of speed and pace that Gil says will test the Americans' resolve.
"It'll be a tough game and we're going try to go out there and win. We plan to give it our all," he concluded.
The U-17s face off against the African squad in Group E action on Thursday at Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, Nigeria