"It was a privilege," Gardner said Monday night at the Ufer Quarterback Club Banquet in Ann Arbor. "I don't think people understand how much of a privilege it was to not only be a quarterback at Michigan, but just to be a part of this university whether you're a student-athlete or not," "And I knew that as a sophomore in high school. I knew this was a special place."
Michigan Striker Peri Marosevic scores twice in USA Under 20s 3-0 win over Mexico:
U.S. U-20 MNT Tops Mexico, 3-0, as Marosevic Nets Two Goals in Rivalry Match
“Games like this are the best way to evaluate players,” said head coach Thomas Rongen. “I thought we took our chances well and that’s important. Another very positive thing for us is that we really didn’t give Mexico any good looks at the goal. I’m very happy with the way we played defensively and maybe we could be a little better with the ball, but we want to continue to do well on set pieces. That was obviously one of our strengths tonight.”
Two corner kicks from midfielder Brandon Manzonelli, who was making his first appearance with the U-20s, led directly to two U.S. goals. The first, in the 25th minute, was driven in from the right, and deflected off a couple of players in front of the goal. The ball found its way to Williams’ feet, and the defender powered it in for what would prove to be the game-winner.
Less than two minutes later, hometown star Felix Garcia streaked upfield, out-pacing several Mexican defenders with the ball at his feet. Once he got into the box, he struck a low shot at a tough angle that Mexican goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez did well to get a hand on, but the ball caromed right to Marosevic, who was making a hard run to the far post. The deflected shot went right into Marosevic’s path, and he hammered it home from close range to double the USA lead.
The teams exchanged possessions throughout the majority of the half, but there was a shortage of many quality chances for either side. The best chance for Mexico came from Alberto Soto, who was Mexico’s most dangerous attacker. In the 22nd minute, he received the ball 20 yards from goal, looked up and saw an opening before ripping a shot that went just over the crossbar.
Seconds before the halftime whistle, the U.S. put a dagger in Mexico’s chance for a comeback. Manzonelli whipped in another corner that skidded past a defender to Marosevic, who once again scored from close range. This time he slotted into the side netting of the far post to round out the scoring on the night.
The second half, despite being scoreless, was just as action packed as Mexico battled for every inch, and the U.S. refused to go down without a fight. Some chippy play from both sides led to three ejections in the half, including a player from each team in the 66th minute. By the 72nd minute, the game was nine against 10, as Mexico’s Daniel Montes was also ejected.
Despite the open field, neither team was able to string together an attack, as Mexico relied mostly on counter-attacks that were broken up by the U.S. back line. The Americans were content to possess the ball by passing it around Mexico’s high-pressure defense.