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Global Mar 19, 2016

U.S. U-23 MNT roster named for Olympic Qualifying Playoff

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CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has called 23 players to training camp in advance of the team’s home-and-away playoff against Colombia, which will determine the final berth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The first match of the 2016 Olympic Qualifying playoff will take place on Friday, March 25 at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez in Barranquilla, Colombia, at 4 p.m. local (5 p.m. ET). The match will air live on FS1.

The return leg will be played on March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 p.m. CT. The decisive match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, following the U.S. MNT’s World Cup Qualifying match against Guatemala at 6 p.m. CT.

The roster includes players who play professionally in seven different countries, led by 11 who play in Major League Soccer, four each from England and Germany, two from Mexico, and one each from the Netherlands and Norway. Featured on the roster is Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris, who has earned nine caps with the full team, 2015 U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year and recent Chelsea FC signing Matt Miazga, Bayern Munich midfielder Julian Green, who scored for the U.S. at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and VfB Stuttgart forward Jerome Kiesewetter, who won the Golden Boot at the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

Last October, the USA won its three first-round games in the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship before falling in the semifinals to Honduras. The U-23’s bounced back and won the third-place match against Canada to earn a place in the playoff. Colombia finished second in the 2015 South American Youth Championship to claim its spot in the playoff.

In addition to hosts Brazil, 14 other countries have already qualified for the 16-team men’s Olympic Football Tournament. The winner of the aggregate-goal series between the USA and Colombia will round out the field.

The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where it posted a 1-1-1 record but did not advance past the group stage. The USA’s best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, when the team defeated Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event.

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Cody Cropper (Milton Keynes Dons), Ethan Horvath (Molde KJ), Zach Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (8) : Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC), Eric Miller (Colorado Rapids), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen), Shane O’Neill (Cambridge United), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS (9) : Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Luis Gil (Queretaro), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (3) : Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Monchengladbach), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC)


  • A total of nine players have previously been capped with the senior team: Kellyn Acosta (2), Luis Gil (2), Julian Green (5), Emerson Hyndman (1), Jerome Kiesewetter (2), Matt Miazga (1), Jordan Morris (9), Wil Trapp (2), Brandon Vincent (1)
  • Eleven players were called in to the 2016 January Camp: Acosta, Fatai Alashe, Kiesewetter, Miazga, Eric Miller, Morris, Tim Parker, Matt Polster, Khiry Shelton, Trapp and Vincent. Alashe was forced out before camp began due to an injury and Miazga left camp early upon signing with Chelsea FC.
  • Acosta and Kiesewetter made their MNT debuts in January against Iceland; Vincent made his debut the following week against Canada.
  • Eleven players were on the Under-23 Men’s National Team that placed third in CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying last fall: Alashe, Gil, Horvath, Hyndman, Kiesewetter, Miazga, Morris, Polster, Serna, Steffen and Trapp. Miller was originally on the roster however was replaced due to injury prior to the start of the tournament.
  • Eighteen players have ties to the Development Academy: Acosta (FC Dallas Academy), Alashe (Vardar), Arriola (LA Galaxy Academy), Cropper (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Gil (Pateadores), Horvath (Real Colorado), Hyndman (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy), Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy), O’Neill (Colorado Rapids Academy), Parker (Alberston SC), Rodriguez (LA Galaxy Academy), Serna (Colorado Rapids Academy), Shelton (Lonestar SC), Steffen (Continental FC DELCO), Trapp (Crew SC Academy) and Brandon Vincent (Real So Cal).
  • Kiesewetter led the team with 13 starts in 2015 and tied for the team lead by playing in 16 of the 17 games. He also tied Jordan Morris for the most goals with six each.
  • Cody Cropper made the most appearances among the six goalkeepers in 2015 with six starts. Ethan Horvath and Zack Steffen were second and third, respectively, in minutes as each appeared in four matches.
  • Luis Gil led the U-23 MNT in 2015 with six assists. Morris was second with four.
  • Six players were on the USA’s 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup team in New Zealand that advanced to the Quarterfinals: Acosta, Arriola, Hyndman, Miazga, Desevio Payne, and Zach Steffen. All six started in the USA’s 1-0 win over Colombia in the Round of 16. Horvath was on the U-20 World Cup Qualifying team, and initially on the World Cup roster.
  • Eight players were also on the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Acosta, Cropper, Gil, Miller, O’Neill, Rodriguez, Steffen and Trapp.
  • In addition, Acosta, Arriola, Rodriguez and Serna were members of the USA’s 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup team.
  • This is the first call up for Paul Arriola and Desevio Payne to a team above the U-20 MNT. Additionally, Tim Parker, who was called in to the MNT’s January Camp, last appeared for the U.S. at the U-18 level.
  • Under FIFA and Olympic regulations, all players participating in the preliminary and final competition must have been born on or after January 1, 1993. Teams that qualify for the Olympics will be permitted a maximum of three over-age players.

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