While the US men’s national team was defeating Jamaica 1-0 in a keenly-contested FIFA World Cup™ qualifier in Columbus last night, there were no fewer than three Philadelphia Union players and a Union Academy member on international duty elsewhere – with two of the club’s younger stars making it an even brighter day for US Soccer.
Midfielder Zach Pfeffer and Academy goalkeeper Zack Steffen both started in the US U18s’ entertaining 4-2 victory away to the Netherlands U18 yesterday, just two days after a 2-0 win over the U19 side of esteemed Dutch club Feyenoord.
Pfeffer opened the scoring from all of 30 yards during Sunday’s win over the Eredivisie outfit and quickly followed up his impressive second half cameo by assisting the first goal on Tuesday as he completed all 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, midfielder Gabriel Gómez returned to Panama’s starting lineup as Julio Dely Valdés’ side recorded an impressive 2-0 win over Canada in Panama City.
Temporary floodlight failure in the seventh minute was unable to stop Panama from overtaking Canada to reach the top of their World Cup qualification group, with goals from Rolando Blackburn and Blas Perez coming either side of halftime once play had resumed.
Gómez had been an unused substitute when the sides met just a few days earlier in Toronto; Dwayne De Rosario’s solitary goal giving the Canadians a victory they could not repeat on the road.
In the South American qualification zone, Union captain Carlos Valdés played all 90 minutes as Colombia thrashed Uruguay 4-0 in Barranquilla on Friday.
The 27 year-old MLS All-Star will be hoping to be fresh for the Union’s visit to Toronto FC on Saturday, however, after making way for AC Milan defender Mario Yepes for yesterday’s 3-1 win over Chile in Santiago; the former Paris Saint-Germain man returning from suspension.