As the United States Men’s National Team Under-23 squad’s ten day training camp came to a close earlier this week, the team capped of their time in Germany with a pair of friendlies against two Bundesliga reserve sides. The first of those Tuesday matches was hosted by Bayer Leverkusen, and featured San Jose Earthquakes back-up goalkeeper David Bingham making his U-23 debut in goal for the national team. In a well-balanced game with their German side counterparts, the two teams fought to a 1-1 draw.
“It was a good game,” said Bingham after the match in Leverkusen against that sides reserve squad. “It was a difficult result giving up a late free kick and obviously another mistake after that. We need to keep sharp during the game, but overall a 1-1 tie is not a bad result away from home on the tenth day after a long trip.”
For a complete match report, please visit the Youth National Team blog at USSoccer.com
The Earthquakes goalkeeper, who made one first team appearance in the 2011 MLS regular season, was a surprise pick to U-23 coach Caleb Porter’s side when the roster was announced in late October. Bingham is probably more famous for his length-of-the-field goal against West Bromwich Albion in summer friendly back in July, but the Generation adidas signing is carrying great expectations that he can be a star in MLS. The opportunity to immerse himself in the youth national team picture just prior to the 2012 Olympic tournament to be held in the spring, and perhaps make an impression on the coaching staff was not lost on the San Jose rookie.
“Just the experience of playing with all these guys,” shared Bingham when asked about his time in Germany, “it was a great camp. Everyone was on the top of their game coming into their offseason or from the middle of their season; everyone was really sharp.”
Bingham himself looked sharp in his one senior team appearance with the Earthquakes in 2011 — a late season 2-1 victory away to the New England Revolution — and even earned an assist on a Chris Wondolowski goal initiated by the ‘keeper’s 75 yard boot downfield. In the match against Bayer Leverkusen, Bingham held his own for much of the match, but was victimized for the equalizing goal after a late free kick chance let the German side press forward in numbers. Still, the chance to play with such an outstanding group of players, with little surrounding distractions, will only help Bingham get better ahead of the Earthquakes 2012 season.
“It was a great experience,” exclaimed Bingham on the entire U-23 training camp. “All the coaches were phenomenal. Everything was planned, our training sessions were laid out really well, and everyone here can really play. It was a fun ten days, even though it was hard and a long trip.”
The squad will now break camp following Tuesday’s pair of friendlies and the players will make their way back to their respective clubs. For Bingham, the opportunity to play some high intensity soccer immediately following the end of San Jose’s season was a great way to cap off his rookie year. The Earthquakes will convene for preseason camp at the tail end of January in anticipation of a new season, and come the spring, Bingham will hope that his hard work will be rewarded with another call-up to the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team in time for CONCACAF region Olympic qualifying.
(Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com)