USA v Mexico International Friendly
American soccer hero Landon Donovan and three-time MASL MVP Franck Tayou highlight the US National Arena Soccer Team roster that will face on-field nemesis Mexico this Saturday at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Tayou will be joined by USNAST stalwarts Uzi Tayou, Israel Sesay, and Evan McNeley. In May, the Tayou brothers became teammates with Sesay and McNeley on the MASL’s Ontario Fury.
Donovan will again team up with San Diego Sockers mates Travis Pittman, Taylor Bond, and MASL Goalkeeper of the Year Boris Pardo.
Also representing the Red, White, and Blue are arena veteran Luis Pinto, and Javier Tobar of the PASL’s KC Cyclones, and the Edwards Freedom’s Cesar Castillo, who will fly to Boise after getting married on Friday in Colorado.
Making his USNAST debut is Drew Ruggles, who signed with the MASL’s Florida Tropics in May. Ruggles was part of last year’s Ron Newman Cup-winning Milwaukee Wave team.
The USNAST is coached by MASL Coach of the Year Phil Salvagio of the San Diego Sockers.
As the US team prepares for October’s WMF World Cup in Perth, Australia, at least one player will be added to Saturday’s roster from Saturday afternoon’s player combine, also at CenturyLink Arena. “These international games and combines are a great tool to identify talent for not only the national team, but for leagues from the amateur Premier Arena Soccer League to the professional MASL,” said American Association of Soccer 5-6-7 General Manager Bernie Lilavois.
The Mexican National Futbol Rapido Team will also have a lot of Sockers flair, not surprising given the team’s 23-1 MASL record last season.
Emmanuel Aguirre, one of the MASL’s top rookies last year, signed with the Sockers this week. He will join Manuel Rojo, Cesar Cerda, and Christian Gutierrez, as well as Sockers 2 prospects Ismael Rojo, Rene Flores, Kevin Pizeno, and goalkeeper Raul Sarabia on Mexico, who are coached by Rene Ortiz. Nineteen-year-old Sockers 2 forward Jaime Velazquez, was previously on the Club Tijuana U-17 team, was called up to replace Luis “Pee Wee” Ortega.
Rounding out the roster are the Harrisburg Heat’s Daniel Villela, 19-goal scorer Erick Jhon Ponce and 2017-18 MASL Rookie of the Year Edgar Gonzalez.
Over 4,000 tickets have been sold at the 5,200 seat arena. The USNAST marks its third-straight summer in Boise, on the heels of winning last year’s international friendly tournament with Team Mexico, Team Columbia, and Team Somalia. The team’s first indoor appearance in Idaho came on Aug. 11, 2017, a loss to Team Brazil before a sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Arena.