U.S. U-20 MNT Arrives in Guatemala City Ahead of CONCACAF U-20 Championship
U.S. U-20 MNT ARRIVES IN GUATEMALA: Following six days of training in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. Under-20 Menâ€™s National Team has arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala, ahead of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The U.S. will face Suriname on March 29 at 8 p.m. ET and Panama on April 2 at 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores during group play. Both games will be televised on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3. At the 12-team regional event, the top two teams in each group will advance to the tournament quarterfinals, and the four quarterfinal winners will seal a berth to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, set for July 29-Aug. 20 across eight cities in Colombia.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: U.S. head coach Thomas Rongenâ€™s 20-player roster features 16 professional players from leagues in five foreign countries â€“ England, Germany, Mexico, Portugal and Sweden â€“ in addition to eight representatives from Major League Soccer. Four college players round out the roster, including a pair of UCLA Bruins in Kelyn Rowe and Eder Arreola.
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster By Position ( Detailed Roster ):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town; Athens, Ga.)
DEFENDERS (8): Gale Agbossoumonde (DjurgÃ¥rdens IF; Syracuse, N.Y.), Greg Garza (G.D. Estoril Praia; Grapevine, Texas), Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Sacir Hot (New York Red Bulls; Fair Lawn, N.J.), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke; Missouri City, Texas), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA; Lancaster, Pa.), Korey Veeder (Columbus Crew; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United; San Francisco, Calif.), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Moises Orozco (UANL Tigres; Oxnard, Calif.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA; Newport Beach, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Eder Arreola (UCLA; Chino Hills, Calif.), Conor Doyle (Derby County FC; McKinney, Texas), Joe Gyau (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; El Paso, Texas), Bobby Wood (TSV 1860 MÃ¼nchen; Irvine, Calif.)
Roster Quick Hits:
The group features a pair of CONCACAF U-20 Championship veterans in Gale Agbossoumonde and Amobi Okugo, who both helped the team to the finals of the 2009 tournament.
Agbossoumonde and Dillon Powers were part of the U.S. team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt.Â Â
The Philadelphia Union are the only professional team with two representatives on the U.S. roster â€“ Okugo and goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
10 alumni of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy have made their way onto Rongenâ€™s roster, including Powers who was the 2008-09 U-17/18 Player of the Year.
Moises Hernandez and Sacir Hot are entering their first seasons in Major League Soccer after signing Homegrown player contracts, moving up the ranks of FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, respectively.
Hernandez is the lone player on the roster of Guatemalan descent and will be playing in front of relatives living in Guatemala City.
Rongen has given the captainâ€™s armband to D.C. United rookie Perry Kitchen, who was also a captain of the U.S. Under-17 Menâ€™s National Team during his time in the Residency Program.
Kitchen is one of 11 players to have spent time in the Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., including three veterans of the 2007 or 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cups.
ROWEâ€™S NEW ROLE: Through standout performances at Development Academy Finals Week in 2009 and 2010, Kelyn Roweâ€™s stock rose. The U.S. U-20 MNT coaches kept their eyes on him during his freshman season at UCLA, during which he scored seven goals and led the team with 10 assists en route to being named the PAC-10 Freshman of the Year. Called into his first training camp in December 2010, Rowe has found himself an important part of the U.S. plans. One of only four college players on the roster for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, the quick, crafty midfielder has emerged as a potential starter in a talented group.
POWERS EMERGES AS A LEADER: Dillon Powers was one of the youngest members of the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team during the FIFA 2009 U-20 World Cup. Two years later Powers joins the team again, this time as a leader bringing his experience and skill to Thomas Rongenâ€™s talented squad thatâ€™s working towards securing a spot in the FIFA 2011 U-20 World Cup.
A WEEK UNDER THEIR BELTS: The U.S. team came together to begin training on March 20 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and finished their week with a scrimmage against the FC Dallas reserves. First-half goals from Bobby Wood and Sebastian Lletget, and a second-half tally from Kelyn Rowe paved the way to a 3-0 U.S. win. Nearly everyone saw the field for the U.S. against an FC Dallas team that was a blend of Academy players, a slew of former youth national team players and first-teamers.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: There will be 12 CONCACAF teams vying for not only the four World Cup berths but also the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The USA, Canada and Mexico advanced straight to this final round while teams from Central America and the Caribbean â€“ with the exception of host Guatemala â€“ went through preliminary qualifying phases. Below is a look at the four three-team groups. For a full schedule, click on the tournament page at ussoccer.com.
Trinidad & Tobago
A PEEK AT HISTORY: The U.S. will be attempting to qualify for an eighth-consecutive FIFA Under-20 World Cup, having qualified for a CONCACAF-record 12 U-20 World Cups since the tournament began in 1977. The Americans have never won the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, but the tournament format returned in 2009 after 13 years without crowning a champion.
TWO YEARS AGO IN T & T: The U.S. topped Group A in 2009 qualifying and advanced to the semifinals behind two wins against Jamaica and El Salvador and a draw with Honduras. With three teams advancing to the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the U.S. defeated host Trinidad & Tobago in a penalty shootout to secure a berth to Egypt. Costa Rica topped Rongenâ€™s side 3-0 in the championship, but the team had already booked a place in its seventh-consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cup.
FOLLOW US 140 CHARACTERS AT A TIME: Stay in tune with the U.S. U-20 MNT during its qualifying campaign by following us on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. There youâ€™ll get up-to-the-second information from behind the scenes in Guatemala City and keep track of your favorite players on their U.S. U-20 MNT journey.
BLOG IT UP: Check out a recap of the USAâ€™s scrimmage vs. FC Dallas Reserves, and find exclusive photos from the week of training in Ft. Worth and a team function at Coach Dirâ€™s house by keeping up with the Youth National Teams blog on ussoccer.com.