While the U.S. men's national team will begin assembling on Sunday in New Jersey for friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay, the U.S. under-23 national team will gather across the country for its third
camp of the year.
The roster picked by U-23 head coach Jason Kreis
for the camp at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center is expected to be announced as soon as Friday. The
camp will be capped off with a closed-door friendly against Japan, the 2020 Olympic host team, on Sept. 9 in Chula Vista, near the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern California. Dates.
Concacaf will hold its Olympic qualifying tournament March 20-April 1, 2020, in Guadalajara, Mexico, to determine the two nations from
Concacaf that will go to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The dates are later than four years ago when the Concacaf U-23 tournament was held in October 2015 -- the USA ended up losing to Colombia
in a playoff played in March 2016 -- so Kreis, who was only appointed U-23 coach in March, will get more time to prepare the team. But the dates do pose several challenges.
-- Clubs are
under no obligation to release players for age-group competitions, and the Concacaf tournament begins three days before the March 2020 FIFA window opens and one day after it closes. Therefore, getting
players released from their European clubs if they are first-team contributors will be almost impossible.
-- The tournament will take place during the same window as Concacaf holds the
final four of the first Concacaf Nations League. If the USA wins its group with Canada and Cuba, the U.S. coaching staff could be faced with deciding which teams to send players eligible for both
teams (see below).
-- The tournament will begin about a month into the 2020 MLS season so players will be just rounding into form. Just how much earlier will MLS start the 2020 season,
given its decision to push up the end of the season by a month, is not yet known. The offseason will be dominated by talks on a new collective bargaining agreement. The worst-case scenario for the
U-23s: a labor dispute impacts the start of the 2020 MLS season. Player pool.
The pool of talent available for the USA at the
U-23 level is unprecedented. To begin with, national team coach Gregg Berhalter
called in eight U-23-eligible players for the September friendlies: Defenders:
Cannon (FC Dallas)
Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED)
Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) Midfielders:
Weston McKennie (Schalke 04/GER)
Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas)
Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes) Forwards:
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG)
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER)
Two other U-23-eligible players -- Tyler Adams (RB
Leipzig/GER) Tim Weah (Lille/FRA) -- would have been called in but for injuries.
The nucleus of the team will come players on the last two U.S. U-20 World Cup teams that both
reached the quarterfinals.
Others from the 2017 U-20s besides Adams and Sargent might be:
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City/ENG)
(Real Salt Lake)
Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake)
Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT)
Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG)
Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake)
Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)
Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro/DEN)
2019 U-20s besides Dest and Weah are such players as:
Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy)
Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Richards (Bayern Munich
Chris Gloster (Jong PSV/NED)
Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas)
Richard Ledezma (Jong PSV/NED)
Alex Mendez (Jong Ajax/NED)
Brandon Servania (FC
Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg U19/GER)
Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER)
But such has been the development of U.S. talent breaking
through at MLS clubs or in Europe that Kreis has plenty of other options to consider. Those players include:
Andrew Gutman (FC Cincinnati)
Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG)
James Sands (NYCFC)
Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union)
Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati)
Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN)
Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United)
Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire)
Keaton Parks (NYCFC)
Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Haji Wright (VVV Venlo/NED)
Joshua Perez (LAFC)
Mason Toye (Minnesota United)
The one glaring absence is a sure-fire pick in goal. None of
five goalkeepers from the last two U-20 World Cup teams is a first-team starter for his club.