Several USL teams have released players so they may represent their countries in the semifinal round of Concacaf Olympic qualifying that will be played next week.
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Jonathan Top of Arizona United SC has joined the exodus. Jefrey Payeras of Orange County Blues FC and Top have been named to the Guatemala U-23 team that will play Honduras and Belize in Guatemala City. Both Top and Payeras have previously spent time in the U.S. youth national team program.
The winner of the three-team Group B advances to the final round of qualifying to be played in October, and the second-place team goes into a playoff with the Group A runner-up for another slot.
“Arizona United is very happy for the opportunity Jonathan has earned,” said AUSC head coach Michael Dellorusso. “It is a great honor for any player to be called in to represent their country. We wish Jonathan all the best in the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament.”
The last round of the Caribbean qualifying competition will also be played next week. Damion Lowe and Oalax Anderson of Seattle Sounders FC 2 will represent Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, respectively. In the semifinals, Jamaica plays Cuba and St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces off with host Haiti, with the winners advancing to the final stage.
From these qualifying competitions, five teams will join Canada, Mexico, and the USA in the final stage. Two Concacaf teams qualify directly to the 2016 Olympic Games soccer tournament, and a third goes into a playoff against Colombia.
OKC Energy takes down Los Dos
Goals by Peter Toth and Sebastian Dalgaard were enough for OKC Energy to beat LA Galaxy II, 2-0, Tuesday at Taft Stadium.
OKC is unbeaten in its last six games and with the victory moved into fourth place of the USL Western Conference at 9-5-7. Galaxy II (11-7-3) remains tied for first place with Seattle Sounders FC 2.
Toth’s goal in the 19th minute ended a streak of OKC being blanked in the first half of three consecutive matches. Danni Koenig’s shot was saved and Toth banged in the rebound. Dalgaard bagged the second goal 10 minutes before halftime, and solid defending helped keeper Evan Newton post his third straight shutout and seventh of the season. His best stop was a one-v-one stoning of Jack McBean a few minutes prior to Toth’s goal.
Both teams return to action this weekend. OKC plays at Portland Saturday and Galaxy II hosts Arizona United on Sunday.
Vincent named Player of the Week
Midfielder Rob Vincent has been voted the USL Player of the Week for the second time this season. His scored all three goals as the Riverhounds beat Wilmington Hammerheads FC, 3-0, on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.
Vincent won 63 percent of the vote conducted by a national panel of independent media. Tied for second with 19 percent apiece were Sacramento Republic FC forward Tommy Stewart and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC midfielder Luke Vercollone.
USL Team of the Week
Maxime Crepeau, FC Montreal.
Bryan Burke, Louisville City FC
Rennico Clarke, Portland Timbers 2
Shawn Ferguson, Charleston Battery
Marco Bustos, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Gareth Evans, OKC Energy FC
Luke Vercollone, Colorado Switchbacks FC
Rob Vincent, Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Pavle Popara, Orange County Blues FC
Tomasz Zahorski, Charlotte Independence
Tommy Stewart, Sacramento Republic FC.