BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, March 28, 2010
As the US U20 national team prepares to face archrival Mexico on Sunday night at the 2010 Dallas Cup, Tigres forward Moises Orozco will look to lead the US against the country of his parents' orgin.
"This is my first time representing my country," Orozco told YA. "It feels good - especially in a tournament like this. It's something big. Always representing your country is something not everybody has the chance to do. Now that I have been given the opportunity I just want to take advantage of it."
Orozco, who recently turned 18, is from Oxnard, California and is the son of Mexican parents. He recently joined the youth team for Tigres after a successful trial in January and an impressive Copa Chivas tournament where he even scored a goal against the US U20 team.
"I went for a two week trial in January and from there I went to the Copa Chivas with them," Orozco said of how he joined the Mexican club. "I went back home afterwards but I rejoined Tigres about a month ago for the preseason."
Since joining Tigres' youth team last month, Orozco has become a regular with the team. He has played in four games the past month and scored a goal in his most recent game against Cruz Azul.
"It's been going well. The level of soccer there is totally different," Orozco discussed. "It's a different style also. I have played about four games against various Mexican [youth teams] teams. Cruz Azul, Atlas, Chivas, Indios. I scored in the last game against Cruz Azul."
Orozco's coaches at Tigres have been playing him as a central forward to utilize his strengths of being able to hold and possess the ball while his teammates join in the attack.
"Lately they've been playing me as a center forward," Orozco said of the role he plays at Tigres. "They tell me I am holding the ball up well and wait for my teammates to get up. I hold and then move on from there."
Orozco joined the US U20 team on Thursday as they prepare for the Dallas Cup. He has had only three practices with the team but has come away impressed with the group.
"It's great. The whole team is good," Orozco said of his US teammates. "They are easy to get along with."
With Orozco now living and playing south of the border and being of Mexican heritage, he obviously has strong ties towards both nations.
In fact if Mexico were to have asked him to play for them, he indicates that it would have been a difficult decision. However, with US U20 head coach Thomas Rongen asking ahead of Mexico, both Orozco and his family are excited that he is now part of the US program.
"I've never really thought about it like that," Orozco admitted. "I was just waiting for the opportunity to get called up. If they were both to ask me at the same time, it would be a hard decision. Both of my parents are Mexican but I am American. But my parents are happy [for me to be with the US]."
The US' first opponent is Mexico on Sunday in the feature match of the Dallas Cup's opening night. Orozco is familiar with his opponents and he knows that it should be a good game and a true test for the US team.
"I have heard that they are really good. I think they beat Brazil in a tournament not that long ago," Orozco said of his upcoming opponent. "Since I've been in Mexico, I've seen that every team is really skillful and good with and without the ball. But I think we have a very physically strong team and fast. We will see from there. I am sure it's going to be a good game."
With the US-Mexico rivalry being one of the most passionate and heated international rivalries, the game will have added meaning for the Mexican-American Orozco.
He is aware of the importance and significance of the game and is very happy to be part of it in what could be his international debut.
"For it being my first time getting called up and playing against Mexico," Orozco said with excitement. "It's something really big. It's special."