DeAndre Yedlin is the crown jewel of American youth soccer development. In under three years he’s gone from the University of Akron to Tottenham Hotspur with stops in Seattle and the World Cup along the way. But he hasn’t been immune from criticism.
There are many varying opinions on just how far the 21-year-old right back’s skill set will carry him. Such criticisms include a lack of defensive positioning, less than stellar technical ability, and poor decision making. Some also believe his game is overly reliant on his world-class pace.
I made this video of Yedlin’s performance against Mexico to show that he’s improving all of these perceived deficiencies every day. At such a young age, he has the willingness and ability to become a star player for both club and country. Take a look at all of his touches against Mexico and see for yourself:
0:20 and 0:27 – Crisp passes early in the game help set up the first good look on goal.
1:00 – A good idea to knock it past the defender into space, but the touch is just a bit too heavy.
1:06 – What should be an easy break out for Mexico turns into a free kick in an attacking area for the USA because of Yedlin’s anticipation and pace.
1:35 – A little slow to react to the one-two, his makes up for it with his pace to get in position for the block.
2:14 – After pinching inside to help his center backs, he quickly notices the pass into space and gets out for another block.
2:30 – Silky move to break Montes’ ankles, unfortunately the pass misses the target.
2:40 – A rush of blood to the head causes a wayward pass to Diskerud. He should have taken his time.
2:51 – More anticipation to pressure the attacker. He wins his team a throw-in.
3:00 – He finds himself in a 1 v 1 situation. He does well to avoid being nutmegged and stops the threat. However, he loses composure and concedes a needless corner.
3:18 – Unlike the previous occasion, after winning the ball in the corner, he calmly clears into a safe area.
4:21 – More crisp passes right to the feet of teammates allowing the ball to flow smoothly around the formation.
4:39 – Gonzalez gets pulled out to the flank and gets beaten badly, but Yedlin is there to thwart the danger.
4:55 – A nice one-two with Diskerud finds Yedlin in space for a cross. The terrible playing surface has to be blamed for this shanked effort.
5:43 – Yedlin and Diskerud have developed outstanding chemistry on the right side. This is another example of the two working and interchanging to win the team a corner.
6:20 – He gets out-muscled in a key area. This doesn’t happen often.
6:29 – Evidence that his defensive awareness is improving. He stays with his mark at the back post and heads away a dangerous ball in.
7:28 – Late in the match his versatility is shown when he’s moved up the field to right midfield. He still tracks back and wins possession.
8:02 – When Yedlin gets 1 v 1 with a defender, he almost always creates something for his team whether it is a scoring chance or a corner.
8:30 – While playing an attacking position he still shows his defensive awareness by cutting out an attempted one-two.