WASHINGTON – One of the biggest advantages about the return of the MLS Reserve League in 2011 is the chance for Academy players to get in the mix with the pros.
Such was the case for D.C. United U-18 defender Patrick Foss, who earned a start with D.C.’s Reserves in a 2-2 tie Thursday morning against the Red Bulls.
Foss, who spent last year at the U.S. U-17 Academy in Bradenton, Florida, enjoyed the chance to test himself against New York’s reserves.
“At first it’s a little nerve-wracking to play with the big guys, but as soon as I got into the game, got some touches, I felt like I got my rhythm, it was a lot of fun actually,” he told MLSsoccer.com.
Adding a twist to the challenge of playing was Foss’ position. Two weeks ago, D.C. U-18 coach Nolan Sheldon switched Foss to left back, and that’s where he started today alongside D.C.’s Brandon McDonald along the backline.
The change in position is starting to grow on Foss, who showed composure with the ball at his feet, and combined well with left winger Austin da Luz going forward.
“I like it – I feel like I have a lot of freedom going forward and just trying to get the whole defensive part now.”
On the whole, the 17-year-old did very well for himself in a 71-minute shift. He assisted on D.C.’s second goal of the day, dropping in a long, curling cross into New York’s area that McDonald headed home.
His performance drew a good review from assistant coach Chad Ashton.
“He did well,” Ashton told MLSsoccer.com. “I thought he started the game well, confident with the ball, good distribution. He struggled a little bit at the start of the second half, but had the assist on the [second] goal. He hasn’t played a ton in the back, but his left foot is very, very good.”
Foss and the rest of the D.C. United Academy begin the upcoming U.S. Soccer Development Academy season on November 20. For now, he can take some confidence in a second solid outing with the reserve side this year.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.