US U-23 Men's National Team coach Caleb Porter announced his roster for the upcoming February camp that includes a friendly against Mexico's youth squad. Porter's camp will begin on February 19th in Frisco, Texas and end with the match vs. Mexico at FC Dallas Stadium on the 29th. This 10-day stint will represent the next step for the U-23s as they prepare for Olympic qualifying in late March.
Caleb Porter is using this camp as one of his last opportunities to evaluate his youngsters in an effort to solidify a final roster for Olympic qualifying.
“The No. 1 priority in this camp is to see our guys in games and to build a little bit of that rhythm by playing multiple games in a short amount of time,” Porter said. “Everything is geared toward the Mexico game, but we want to get a couple of games early in the week to get guys minutes so we can look at everybody to help with those final roster decisions leading into qualifying.”
The other matches Porter is referring to feature the young yanks scrimmaging against FC Dallas (Wed, Feb. 22) and the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL (Friday, Feb 24).
Here is Porter's 23-man roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS (7): Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Gent), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (8): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Tony Taylor (Estoril Praia)
Notable Roster Notes-
1. Juan Agudelo has the most senior team appearances with 15 USMNT caps
2. Brek Shea has played in every match of the Jurgen Klinsmann era but has yet to appear with the U-23s
3. 3 other newcomers named to the roster were Perry Kitchen, Ike Opara, and Alfredo Morales
4. 15 of the 23 players are MLSers
5. Many of the Euro-based players will arrive to camp late: Boyd (23rd); Morales, Corona, Diskerud, and Gyau (26th)
I can smell the Olympics already. I know qualifying hasn't even started yet and the Yanks are far from a lock to advance to London, but something about this roster announcement immediately lifted my spirits. Shea, Agudelo, Hamid, Diskerud, Bunbury, and Adu are all familiar names not only to the soccer Geeks who scrutinize the U-16s on a Saturday night, but also to regular old Joes that follow the first team. When was the last time the US seemed to offer so much young class?
Well actually, you only have to look back 4 years when the US Olympic squad sported Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, Charlie Davies, Robbie Rogers, and guess what Freddy Adu was on that team as well. That's a pretty talented squad if you ask me and despite some positive performances the '08 team couldn't even make it out of the group stage.
As a result, my surging optimism quickly vanished when I remembered the stark reality that the US is well, the US. So yes, the Americans look solid on paper and have many talented up-incomers, but in reality to expect the Yanks to play top quality team football after various players that will make up the final roster intermittently trained together throughout the year with a brand new coach is a bit far-fetched. Trying to take down World Powers such as Argentina and the Netherlands in this tournament is a whole other conversation that I am not prepared to talk about at this juncture. Let's just hope the U-23s get to London and then Porter and company can figure out how to knock down Big Ben!
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