April 7, 2011 MLS--U-20 Prospects Show Promise For Canada's Future (from MLSsoccer.com)

U-20 prospects show promise for Canada's future
Canucks find diamonds in rough go at CONCACAF Championship
Rudi Schuller
April 7, 2011

Although Canada failed to grab one of the four CONCACAF berths in the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia, a few shining lights provided a glimmer of hope in an otherwise gloomy tournament for the Canucks.

While the team did not live up to expectations this time around, those rising stars look to move on to bigger and better things as their careers progress.

Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

The 'Caps have a budding star in the 18-year-old midfielder. Although he favors the left side, Teibert is capable of playing either wing, a versatility that kept opposing defenses on their toes as he switched flanks frequently.

Teibert also emerged as something of a dead ball specialist, taking virtually all of Canada’s free kicks and corner kicks when he was on the field. He did the same in the two MLS matches he featured in prior to the tournament, displaying a poise and confidence well beyond his years.

Ethan Gage (Reading FC, England)

Gage, who captained the Canadian side over the past few weeks, is Teibert’s former teammate in the Whitecaps Residency program.

After a very successful stint with Vancouver’s D-2 side (in which Gage was getting regular playing time from the age of 17), the 2010 Canadian U-20 Player of the Year had a successful trial with Reading in the English Championship and signed on with the club in January.

In Guatemala, Gage was very much the “glue” in Canada’s midfield, making the tough tackles and constantly providing an outlet for his teammates through his intelligent runs off the ball.

Doneil Henry (Toronto FC)

Despite being the youngest member of the Canadian U-20 side, Henry did not need to wait long to show what he could do on the pitch.

The 17-year-old defender was a late entrant into Canada’s first match against Guadeloupe, subbing into the match at the 80th minute to help ensure a 2-1 Canadian lead. From then on out, he was a stalwart on the right side of Canada’s defense, the lone bright spot of an overwhelmed back four who forced opposing attackers to channel their efforts through other parts of the pitch.

Henry looks to be a good fit in Aron Winter’s new attacking style at TFC with his ability to push forward with the ball, though Toronto’s first-ever Home Grown signing will likely see most of his club action with the reserves this season.

Julien Latendresse-Lévesque (FC Energie Cottbus, Germany)

While two costly gaffes that resulted in goals for the opposition will probably haunt the former Whitecaps Residency prospect, the Canucks may have fared far worse defensively without Latendresse-Lévesque in net.

An imposing figure between the pipes, Latendresse-Lévesque’s command of his area drew comparisons to former Canadian senior national-team ‘keepers Craig Forrest and Pat Onstad, both of whom were very vocal with their defenders and demanded respect from opposing attackers.

While the two misjudgments – one each against Costa Rica and Mexico, both resulting in goals against – were worrisome, Latendresse-Lévesque’s obvious raw talent, along with his training in Germany with club FC Energie Cottbus, should bring about big things for the big shotstopper.

Jonathan Osorio (Club Nacional, Uruguay)

The diminutive attacking midfielder filled the role of super sub for Canadian head coach Valerio Gazzola, entering both the Guadeloupe and Mexico matches in the second half and producing an unpredictability and flair that is rarely seen in Canadian players.

Although he struggled as a starter against Costa Rica, Osorio’s impact coming off the bench was obvious in Canada’s other matches. Playing as a typical South American-style No. 10, he looked dangerous every time he had the ball, and even managed to keep mighty Mexico on their toes for stretches.

Discovered by Nacional while playing a youth tournament in Toronto in 2009, Osorio jumped at the chance to join the Uruguayan club, and has since worked his way into the reserve side.

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