USA vs. Colombia: Top Young Americans to Watch in 2013 Toulon Tournament Fixture

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2013

U.S. Under-20 manager Tab Ramos will be looking for a win against Colombia
U.S. Under-20 manager Tab Ramos will be looking for a win against ColombiaMike Stobe/Getty Images

The United States faces off against Colombia in their second match of the 2013 Toulon Tournament. This is a great opportunity to see what could be the future for the U.S.

It's clear the senior team needs a lot of work after losing 4-2 to Belgium on Wednesday night. The Under-20 side didn't fare any better in its first match of the tournament, losing 4-1 to France.

The Americans were clearly overmatched by a much better, stronger French side.

That should change a little bit against Colombia, as they don't rely so much on simply being bigger than the other team.

If the United States is going to have a chance, these three players will need to step up.


Benji Joya

Benji Joya had the lone goal of the match against France. It came off a free kick in the 72nd minute. The match was then only 2-1, but the States were never really much of a threat against France, surrendering two more goals.

You can't blame Joya, though. He was very good in midfield. France did most of their damage out wide, so that left Joya in the center of the pitch to have a little more space to create.

At 19 years old, Joya isn't the best or most talented midfielder in the squad, but he's been doing very well with Santos Laguna: He earned himself a call-up to the first team in September 2012.

The United States have been able to produce a lot of box-to-box and defensive midfielders. What hasn't come along the pipeline often is a midfielder who can really help the attack. Joya is at his best playing in an advanced position and would be a big help to the national team if he progresses right.


Alonso Hernandez

Alonso Hernandez was a bit disappointing against France, but that belies what looks to be a very promising player. The 19-year-old has scored seven goals for Monterrey's U-20 side. That form has led him to make three appearances with the senior team.

You can expect Hernandez to have a much better time against Colombia. Their back four isn't quite as strong and powerful as what the French had to offer.

Striker has long been a problem for the U.S. You've got Jozy Altidore and everyone else. There hasn't been another player who can really push him in the national team.

It would be great if Hernandez can turn into that kind of player. Only time will tell, but fans will get a great look at him against Colombia.


Cody Cropper

When you see the four goals surrendered against France, it's hard to justify saying the goalkeeper had a good game. Cody Cropper wasn't to blame for all four, but there's no getting around the fact he was generally pretty poor.

Cropper is with Southampton at the moment, so he's got some potential. And with the United States' goalkeeping pedigree, it's not too far out there to expect Cropper to have a fruitful career and become a key contributor for the national team down the line.

He'll need to do better against Colombia, though. The United States should have a bit of an easier time against the Colombians, but they'll likely need Cropper to come up with a couple of key saves.