SANDY, Utah (Oct. 10, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team is a win away from qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. After topping Group A of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship with a perfect 3-0-0 record, with wins against Canada, Cuba and Panama, the U-23s now face the second-ranked team from Group B, Honduras, at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match will kick off on Saturday Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on Telemundo. Fans can also follow the action on twitter @ussoccer.
The U.S. cruised through group play of the tournament by defeating Canada 3-1 in game one, following with a 6-1 win against Cuba on Oct. 3 and concluding with a 4-0 win against Panama. The group will look to carry that momentum into this all-important semifinal, which grants the victor a berth in next summer’s Olympic Games.
Honduras earned six points in its group to qualify for the game, notching wins against Haiti and Costa Rica, before dropping its final group game to Mexico after playing most of the game with 10 men following a second-minute red card.
The losing team will not fully be out of the Olympic running, but would need two more wins to qualify. The winner of the tournament’s third-place game will move onto a one-game playoff against Colombia in the final opportunity to claim an Olympic bid.
The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when it posted a 1-1-1 record but did not advance past the group stage. The USA’s best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Games in Sydney, when the team defeated Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event.
U.S. Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Charlie Horton (Leeds; Cleveland Ohio), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).
DEFENDERS (5): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wis.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).
FORWARDS (4): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Maki Tall (FC Sion; Washington, D.C.).
- Through three games, the team has scored 13 goals coming from seven different scorers (Carter-Vickers, Miazga, Gil (2), Hernandez, Morris (3), Kiesewetter (3), Hyndman)
- Morris and Kiesewetter have each scored a tournament-leading three goals each.
- The U23s’ goal differential in group play was +11.
- Jordan Morris has scored six goals with the U-23’s this year.
- Luis Gil tallied another assist in the match against Panama. Gil has recorded three assists in the tournament and has pushed his 2015 total to seven assists.
- Wil Trapp has captained the team for each of the first two tournament games.
- Ethan Horvath joined up with the team on Oct. 5 after earning Europa League Player of the Week honors last week and earned a shutout against Panama.
- Six players from this roster were a part of the U.S. U-20 World Cup squad that advanced to the quarterfinals in New Zealand: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Emerson Hyndman, Matt Miazga, Zack Steffen, Maki Tall and Gedion Zelalem.
- Eight players from this roster were a part of the U-23 team that finished in third place in the renowned Toulon Tournament in France in June, matching the best finish for the USA at the event.
- Eleven players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Fatai Alashe (Vardar), Luis Gil (Pateadores), Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado), Hyndman (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy), Eric Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids Academy), Steffen (Continental FC DELCO) and Wil Trapp (Crew SC Academy).
- Two from the roster scored goals with the U-20’s in 2015: Hyndman and Tall
- At just 17-years-old, Carter-Vickers is the youngest player on the roster.
- Eighteen-year-old Zelalem, who recently completed a loan move from Arsenal to Rangers, made his U.S. debut for the U-20’s in this summer’s U-20 World Cup.
- The roster is a diverse mix with players coming from club teams of various leagues around the world. Eight players from this roster represent MLS clubs, four come from English teams, two from German clubs, a single player each from Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and Scotland, and one is unattached, while one plays in college.
- Alashe has scored a pair of goals in 23 starts with the San Jose Earthquakes this season, including his most recent on Saturday, Sept. 12.
- Ariyibi scored on a stunning volley in the 86th minute of the last game for the U-23’s, a 2-0 win against Qatar, and was responsible for the run of play that led to the first goal in the game against Panama (own goal).
- Miazga made his U-23 debut with the team in its match against England in September, starting and playing 90 minutes.
- Morris has also had a big role with the senior Men’s National Team in 2015. He scored for the MNT in its 2-0 win against Mexico in April, assisted on the game-winning goal against Netherlands and was a part of the play that led to the game winning goal against Germany in June.
Honduras Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Harold Fonseca (CD Juticalpa/HON); Luis Lopez (CD Real España/HON); Roberto Lopez (CD Real España/HON)
DEFENDERS (7): Kevin Alvarez (CD Olimpia/HON); Jose Barralaga (CD Real Sociedad/HON); Klifox Bernardez (CD Motagua/HON); Brayan García (CD Vida/HON); Emerson Lalín (CD Victoria/HON); Jhonatan Paz (CD Real Sociedad/HON); Allans Vargas (CD Real España/HON)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Bryan Acosta (CD Real España/HON); Jhow Benavidez (CD Real España/HON); Darwin Espinal (CD Rowdies/USA); Rodolfo Espinal (CD Vida/HON); Joshua Nieto (CD Motagua/HON); Oscar Salas (CD Olimpia/HON)
FORWARDS (4): Alberth Elis (CD Olimpia/HON); Kevin Lopez (CD Motagua/HON); Antony Lozano (CD Tenerife/ESP); Bryan Rochez (CD Orlando City/USA)
- Honduras was the champion of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2000 and 2008 and has qualified for the Olympics three times (2000, 2008, 2012)
- The team is 5-0-3 in its last 8 CMOQ games with all three losses coming against Mexico.
- Alberth Josué Elis Martínez and Antony Lozano have each scored two goals for Honduras.
- Lozano ranks second in the tournament with 10 shots on goal.