Three U.S. players missing for Cuba semifinal

[CONCACAF UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP] With a ticket to the 2013 Under-20 World Cup this summer in Turkey in its back pocket, the USA can concentrate on winning the Concacaf under-20 championship.

The first step: Friday's semifinals against Cuba at Estadio Cuauhtemoc in Puebla, Mexico.

The USA's task was made more complicated by the loss of three players, Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart) and captain Caleb Stanko (Freiburg), who have returned to their respective club teams.

Goalkeeper Cody Cropper (Southampton) is expected to stay with the team through Saturday, meaning he should be available for selection for Friday's semifinal but unavailable for the final placement game on Sunday.

U.S. midfielder Mikey Lopez will be available for selection after serving a suspension for the quarterfinal against Canada.

Of the players still with the team, Wil Trapp and Jose Villarreal are carrying yellow cards.

Cuba, which has never played in the Under-20 World, has been the tournament surprise along with El Salvador. Maykel Reyes and Aricheell Hernandez lead an explosive attack.

Reyes scored two second-half goals to lead Cuba to a 2-1 victory against Canada to open Group B play -- its first win in the Concacaf final stage since 2002. Hernandez scored two excellent goals to lead Cuba to a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica on Tuesday.

The USA-Cuba semifinal match originally was scheduled to be played at Estadio Olimpico Universitario Lobos BUAP, the site of the U-20s' two group matches and quarterfinal.

Almost 40,000 fans watched Mexico beat Jamaica, 4-0, on Wednesday at Estadio Cuauhtemoc.

3 comments about "Three U.S. players missing for Cuba semifinal".
  1. Tyler Dennis, March 1, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.

    Why do you guys bother writing these stories when you don't give any more information than the title would give.

    WHY are they going back to their teams early?

  2. Luis Arreola, March 1, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.

    Because they are starting their season my guess. I dont know how much playing times these kids are getting but I would think this competition is more important for their careers.

  3. Peter Skouras, March 2, 2013 at 10:14 a.m.

    This competition the most important for their careers? 100% Who made this "ridiculous" choice? They're going back to either the MLS "bench, their Youth league or the German 3rd division... "Reaching the CONCACAF Final is good enough...we qualified?" What kind of mentality is this? You've reached the "SHOW" in the CONCACAF v Mexico! Eveyone is watching...the "GAP?" Let's not kid ourselves...the CONCACAF is very weak...however, still, congrats to the US!

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