U-23 USMNT roster set for 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship
CHICAGO – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Jason Kreis has selected 20 players to represent the United States at the 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship, to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico from March 20 to April 1.
Aiming to qualify for its first Olympic Games since 2008 with a victory in the tournament semifinals, the USA’s journey begins when Group A play opens on Friday, March 20 vs. Costa Rica (7 p.m. ET; FS2, TUDN). The U.S. will then face Dominican Republic on Monday, March 23 (7 p.m. ET; FS1, TUDN) and wrap up the group stage vs. Mexico on Thursday, March 26 (11 p.m. ET; FS1, TUDN).
“With a lot of games in a short amount of time, we will need the contributions of all 20 players on this roster to achieve our ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,” Kreis said. “This is our sixth time together with this U-23 group, so I think we have a real firm understanding of how we want to play and who we want to be.”
Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship – USA Roster by Position (Club; Hometown):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; Grapevine, Texas), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Montclair, N.J.), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; Las Cruces, N.M.), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT; Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United; Federal Way, Wash.), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Phoenix, Ariz.), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; Lemont, Ill.), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Texas), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (5): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; Lynwood, Calif.), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas/MEX; Park City, Utah)
The final roster features 10 players who have been capped at the senior USMNT level and 12 who have represented the USA at a youth World Cup.
Ten players were recently a part of the USMNT’s annual January camp in Bradenton, Fla. and Carson, Calif. Four earned their first senior team cap on Feb. 1 vs. Costa Rica in Carson: defender Mark McKenzie, midfielder Brenden Aaronson as well as forwards Jesús Ferreira and Ulysses Llanez. Llanez scored his first international goal to give the USA a 1-0 victory, while Ferreira, a Colombian dual-national, made his first appearance for the U.S. after receiving clearance from FIFA. The Olympic qualifying tournament will be Ferreira’s first official competition with the USA.
Three players helped the USA reach the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final: defender Reggie Cannon, midfielder Djordje Mihailovic and forward Jonathan Lewis. Twelve have previously won Concacaf youth tournaments, including Erik Palmer-Brown, who took home the Golden Ball as the best player when he helped guide the USA to the 2017 Concacaf U-20 Championship title.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are age-eligible for the tournament, and Kreis selected nine players born in 1997, three born in 1998, two born in 1999, four born in 2000 and two born in 2001.
The 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the pivotal semifinals that will send two winners to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo as representatives of Concacaf. The two winners will also meet in the final on April 1.
|Date||Match||Kickoff (ET)||Venue||TV Info|
|Friday, March 20||USA vs. Costa Rica||7 p.m.||Estadio Jalisco; Guadalajara, Mexico||FS2, TUDN|
|Monday, March 23||USA vs. Dominican Republic||7 p.m.||Estadio Akron; Zapopan, Mexico||FS1, TUDN|
|Thursday, March 26||USA vs. Mexico||11 p.m.||Estadio Jalisco; Guadalajara, Mexico||FS1, TUDN|
- Fifteen players compete domestically, while five are based internationally in the Netherlands (two), Austria, Germany and Mexico (one each).
- Three players each come from FC Dallas, Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake.
- Eleven players currently in MLS are Homegrowns, while foreign-based defender Erik Palmer-Brown and forward Sebastian Saucedo also were previously signed to Homegrown contracts.
- Four players are making their first appearances with the U-23 USMNT: defenders Reggie Cannon and Palmer-Brown, midfielder Paxton Pomykal and forward Ulysses Llanez.
- Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic leads the roster with five U-23 USMNT caps. He has captained the squad in its last three international matches.
- Goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski has appeared in all seven training camps for the U-23 USMNT this cycle, including the team’s June joint camp with the senior team.
- Along with guiding Real Salt Lake to the 2009 MLS Cup, Kreis has had success at the regional level in the club game, leading the club to the highest-ever finish for a U.S.-based team in the Concacaf Champions League. RSL reached the 2010-11 tournament final, dropping a tight 3-2 aggregate result to Mexican power Monterrey.
- Twelve players on the roster have won Concacaf U-20 Championships:
- Goalkeeper Marcinkowski, defenders Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera and Palmer-Brown as well as forwards Jeremy Ebobisee, Jonathan Lewis and Saucedo helped the USA win its first Concacaf U-20 title in 2017. Glad and Palmer-Brown were named to the tournament Best XI.
- Goalkeeper David Ochoa, defender Chris Gloster and Mark McKenzie, midfielder Pomykal and forward Llanez guided the USA to a regional U-20 title defense in 2018. Gloster, McKenzie and Llanez earned tournament Best XI honors.
- Saucedo picked up an assist for UNAM Pumas in its derby with Club America on Friday, March 6.
- Lewis netted the game-winning goal in stoppage time during the Colorado Rapids’ opening day win at D.C. United on Feb. 29.
- Pomykal scored during his substitute appearance for FC Dallas on Feb. 29.
- Mihailovic has nabbed assists in the first two games of the season for the Chicago Fire at Seattle on March 1 and at New England on March 7.
- Palmer-Brown scored his first goal of the season for Austria Wien on Feb. 23 vs. Red Bull Salzburg.
- The two players born in 2001 – Ochoa and Llanez – are also age-eligible for the 2024 Olympic Games.
- Jeff Cassar, Steve Ralston and Josh Wolff will serve as assistant coaches to Kreis during the tournament. Aron Hyde and Rob Vartughian will split time as the team’s goalkeeper coach. Wolff was an assistant coach for the senior USMNT from January-November 2019.
- All 20 players on the roster spent at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
- In addition to the 12 players from MLS teams that came up through their respective academies, the remaining eight players last played for the following DA teams: Dotson (Crossfire Premier), Ebobisse (Bethesda-Olney), Gloster (New York Red Bulls), Ledezma (Real Salt Lake), Lewis (Kendall SC), Llanez (LA Galaxy), Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City) and Yueill (Minnesota Thunder Academy).
- Four players on the roster have won Academy Player of the Year: Ebobisse (2014 East U-17/18), Ledezma (2018 West U-18/19), Llanez (2018 West U-16/17) and Saucedo (2014 West U-15/16).
- Six players have won Development Academy Championships: Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera and Saucedo took home the 2013 U-15/16 National Championship with Real Salt Lake Arizona, and Djordje Mihailovic helped the Fire win the 2015 U-17/18 Academy title.
- Jesús Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal were part of the FC Dallas U-15/16 team that won the 2016 Academy Championship. Pomykal was also part of the club’s U-17/18 team that also won the championship that year.