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U.S. U-20 MNT Ready for Opening Match of CONCACAF U-20 Championship

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team
2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship
Guatemala City, Guatemala
March 28, 2011

SET FOR SURINAME: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is set for its opening game of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship against Suriname on Tuesday, March 29, at 6 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET). The U.S. will then play Panama on April 2 to round out Group B play. Both games from Estadio Nacionla Mateo Flores will be shown live on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3, and fans can follow the action live on’s MatchTracker or on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

THE FORMAT: At the 12-team CONCACAF U-20 Championship, the top two teams in each group will advance to the tournament quarterfinals. The quarterfinals will be played as a crossover, with the winner of the USA’s Group B matched up against the second-place from Group A. 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.

CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Group B Schedule and Results

Date  Match  Kickoff (local/ET)  TV 
March 29  USA vs. Suriname  6 p.m. / 8 p.m.  ESPN Deportes/ESPN3 
March 31  Panama vs. Suriname  6 p.m. / 8 p.m.  ESPN Deportes/ESPN3 
April 2  USA vs. Panama  6 p.m. / 8 p.m.   ESPN Deportes/ESPN3 

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen’s 20-player roster features 16 professional players from leagues in five foreign countries – England, Germany, Mexico, Portugal and Sweden – 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): 1-Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union; St. Petersburg, Fla.), 18-Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town; Athens, Ga.)
DEFENDERS (8): 2 - Gale Agbossoumonde (Djurgårdens IF; Syracuse, N.Y.), 13-Greg Garza (G.D. Estoril Praia; Grapevine, Texas), 4 - Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), 12-Sacir Hot (New York Red Bulls; Fair Lawn, N.J.), 19 - Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke; Missouri City, Texas), 5-Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), 3-Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA; Lancaster, Pa.), 15-Korey Veeder (Columbus Crew; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 8-Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United; San Francisco, Calif.), 14-Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), 16-Moises Orozco (UANL Tigres; Oxnard, Calif.), 6-Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), 10-Kelyn Rowe (UCLA; Newport Beach, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): 20-Eder Arreola (UCLA; Chino Hills, Calif.), 9-Conor Doyle (Derby County FC; McKinney, Texas), 7-Joe Gyau (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), 17-Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; El Paso, Texas), 11-Bobby Wood (TSV 1860 München; Irvine, Calif.)

Quick Hits:

  • The U.S., Mexico and Canada automatically qualified for the final round of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship from North America.
  • From the 20-man roster, 18 players will dress for each game.
  • The U.S. roster 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.
  • Zac MacMath, Greg Garza, Perry Kitchen, Sebastian Lletget and Joe Gyau have experience at CONCACAF U-17 Championship. MacMath helped the U.S. U-17s qualify for Korea 2007 while the other four players won all three games to qualify for Nigeria 2009.
  • 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 captain’s armband to D.C. United rookie Perry Kitchen, who was also a captain of the U.S. Under-17 Men’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.
  • Two players on the U.S. team – goalkeeper Cody Cropper and forward Omar Salgado – were born in 1993 and are age eligible for the 2013 Under-20 cycle.
  • Salgado, the youngest member of the team, recently received a special clearance from FIFA to play in official matches for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • In total, eight players hail from clubs in Major League Soccer, including two from the Philadelphia Union in MacMath and Okugo.
  • The only other team to contribute two players is UCLA, who send the midfield pair of Kelyn Rowe and Eder Arreola.

THE ACADEMY CONNECTION: No fewer than 10 U.S. players have spent time with clubs in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program, including the 2008-09 U-17/18 Player of the Year Dillon Powers. Below is a look at the Academy alumni:

Gale Agbossoumonde – IMG Academy
Conor Doyle – Dallas Texans
Moises Hernandez  - FC Dallas Juniors
Sacir Hot – New York Red Bulls Academy
Sebastien Ibeagha – Houston Dynamo
Moises Orozco – Real So Cal
Dillon Powers – Andromeda
Kelyn Rowe – Crossfire Premier
Zarek Valentin – IMG Academy/PA Classics
Korey Veeder – Clearwater Chargers

A LOOK AT THE CONCACAF 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 – with the exception of host Guatemala – 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

Group A

Group B

Group C
Costa Rica

Group D
Trinidad & Tobago

SCOUTING SURINAME: Suriname head coach Harold Deyl has led his team to its first CONCACAF final round appearance since 1990. Suriname’s record in Caribbean qualifying was 5-2, with both losses coming to Trinidad & Tobago. Though they have never qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Suriname enters the final round with confidence. Led by Stefano Rijssel’s seven goals in five games played, Suriname has scored 15 times in its seven preliminary qualifiers.

Suriname Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS: 1-Firgilio Lampsberg, 19-Rainel Godfried, 22-Claidel Kohinor
DEFENDERS: 2-Gillermo Faerber, 4-Albert Nibte, 5-Rocky Kaise, 13-Klinston Vrede, 14-Kevin Veira
MIDFIELDERS: 6-Daninhio Gill, 7-Vitorino Pinas, 8-Olvido Misidjang, 11-Julnes Plet, 12-Kevin Martin, 17-Jerny Faerber, 18-Quintin Dors, 20-Ilunga Edwards
FORWARDS: 9-Arsenio Poina, 10-Daniel Afiankoi, 15-Dimitrie Apai, 16-Stefano Rijssel

Suriname Preliminary Round Qualifying  Results

Date  Opponent  Result  Suriname Goalscorer(s) 
Nov. 13  Aruba  3-1 W  Pinas, Apai, Le Roy 
Nov. 20  Aruba  4-1 W  Rijssel (2), Mididjang, Afiankol 
Dec. 10  Trinidad & Tobago  1-2 L  Pinas 
Dec. 20  Trinidad & Tobago  1-2 L  Apai 
Jan. 19  Netherland Antilles  2-1 W  Rijssel (2) 
Jan. 21 Guyana 2-1 W Rijssel, Plet
Jan. 23 Bermuda 2-1 W Rijssel (2)

EL ESTADIO NACIONAL MATEO FLORES: The U.S. will play both of its Group B games at Estadio Mateo Flores, a multipurpose stadium in Guatemala City that seats 26,000 people. With the Americans playing the undercard for the home team on Tuesday night, a large crowd will be expected. The natural grass stadium was built in 1948, and is named after 1952 Boston Marathon winner Mateo Flores. It is the home of one of the largest soccer clubs in Guatemala, Municipal.

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 Rongen’s side 3-0 in the championship, but the team had already booked a place in its seventh-consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cup.

ZAREK’S AUDIO DIARIES: U.S. U-20 MNT defender Zarek Valentin checks in from Guatemala City on the first episode of his Audio Diaries - the first special guest was Perry Kitchen, who is Z's roommate and thus did not have a say in the matter. The two former Akron teammates talk a bit about Guatemala City, an inside joke that is annoying everyone else on the team and their new MLS teams. They also get some marriage advice from Greg Garza. Check it out by clicking here - if you have any questions that you'd like Zarek to either answer or investigate, leave them in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

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 you’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.

THE YNT BLOG HAS IT ALL: Check out a recap of the USA’s scrimmage vs. FC Dallas Reserves, and find exclusive photos from the week of training in Ft. Worth and a team function at Coach Dir’s house by keeping up with the Youth National Teams blog on