U-23 USMNT Set for Showdown vs. Reigning Olympic Champion Brazil at United International Football Festival in Canary Islands

Match Preview

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team

2019 United International Football Festival

Estadio Gran Canaria; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain

12:15 p.m. ET (ESPN Deportes, ESPN3)

Nov. 14, 2019


U-23 USMNT FACES REIGNING OLYMPIC CHAMPION BRAZIL IN FINAL COMPETITION OF 2019:
The U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team has gathered in the sunny Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco for its final games of the year at the United international Football Festival. After a productive fall slate, the USA will face Brazil and either Argentina or the Canary Islands full team in two of its final handful of preparation matches ahead of next spring’s 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship.

The Canary Islands national team replaces Chile at the tournament due to the political situation in the South American nation. U.S. Youth National Teams have previously faced the Canary Islands full team; most recently, the U-19 MNT faced the squad at the 2016 Copa del Atlantico.

UNITED INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Thursday, Nov. 14

USA vs. Brazil                                      12:15 p.m. ET

Argentina vs. Canary Islands              2:45 p.m. ET

 

Sunday, Nov. 17

Third-Place Game                               12:15 p.m. ET

Final                                                    2:45 p.m. ET


BUILDING THROUGH THE FALL:
The U-23 MNT has held training camps during all three FIFA international breaks this fall, allowing head coach Jason Kreis and his staff time to implement a style of play and principles. The U-23s earned their first victory of the cycle against Olympic host Japan in September, downing the Samurai Blue 2-0 at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in SoCal. Breakout MLS stars Brenden Aaronson and Mason Toye combined on the first goal, while YNT vet Brooks Lennon netted the second on a penalty.

Last time out, the U-23s’ rolled 6-0 past fellow Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship participant El Salvador, who provided a physical challenge at Florida International University in Miami. Six different players scored for the USA, including South Florida local Jonathan Lewis and U-23 debutants Richard Ledezma and Manny Perez.

2019 U-23 MNT RESULTS

Date

Match-Up

Result

Venue

Goal Scorers

Oct. 15, 2019

U-23 MNT vs. El Salvador

W 6-1

FIU Soccer Stadium; Miami, Fla.

Lennon, Lewis, Ledezma, Soto, Toye, Perez

Sept. 9, 2019

U-23 MNT vs. Japan

W 2-0

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center; Chula Vista, Calif.

Toye, Lennon

March 25, 2019

U-23 MNT vs. Netherlands

D 0-0

Pinatar Arena; San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain

--

March 22, 2019

U-23 MNT vs. Egypt

L 0-2

Pinatar Arena; San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain

--



SENIOR TEAM STRIPES:
The U-23 MNT’s November roster brings players with plenty of experience with the senior Men’s National Team. This training camp marks the return of defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers (eight MNT caps) and Antonee Robinson (six) to the squad for the first time since March. Carter-Vickers was also a part of the last Olympic qualifying cycle, going up against players four years older than him.

A trio of players earned their full MNT debut at the team’s January friendly vs. Panama: forwards Jeremy Ebobisee and Jonathan Lewis as well as midfielder Djordje Mihailovic. The latter two also featured for the team during its run at this summer’s Gold Cup.

SIGHTS SET ON CONCACAF QUALIFYING: The 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship is set for March 20-April 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The tournament will send two teams to represent the confederation at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Canada, Mexico and the USA qualified automatically for the Concacaf competition, while Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras earned berths from Central America, and the Dominican Republic and Haiti punched their tickets from the Caribbean.

U-23 MNT ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN; CAPS/GOALS):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 2/0), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.; 4/0), Brady Scott (Köln/GER; Petaluma, Calif.; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City/ENG; Southend-On-Sea, England; 11/1); Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; New York, N.Y.; 1/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.; 2/0), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; Las Cruces, N.M.; 2/0), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.; 2/0), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; Birmingham, Ala.; 1/0), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic; Liverpool, England; 2/0), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.; 1/0)            

MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.; 1/0), Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; Katy, Texas; 1/0), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC; Federal Way, Wash.; 2/0), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Phoenix, Ariz.; 1/0), Alex Mendez (Ajax/NED; Los Angeles, Calif.; 2/0), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; Lemont, Ill.; 4/0), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.; 0/0)

FORWARDS (6): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.; 2/0), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; Paradise Valley, Ariz.; 2/2), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.; 1/1), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro IK/DEN; Libertyville, Ill.; 2/0), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Park City, Utah; 1/0), Mason Toye (Minnesota United FC; South Orange, N.J.; 2/2)

ROSTER NOTES:

  • Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are age-eligible for the 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship. Kreis has called in 12 players born in 1997, three born in 1998, four born in 1999 and five born in 2000.

  • Since March, 67 different players have come into U-23 MNT camp, offering Kreis and his staff an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the player pool ahead of Olympic qualifying in the spring.

  • Sixteen players on this roster are based domestically, while eight ply their trade abroad in Denmark, England, Germany and the Netherlands (two each.) The most players from a single club (4) come from Real Salt Lake.

  • Two players have appeared in all three of the U-23’s games thus far in 2019: goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic.

  • Marcinkowski is the lone player to appear in all four training camps this year, as well as the team’s June joint camp with the USMNT.

  • James Sands makes his first appearance with the U-23 MNT after a breakout season with New York City FC. The midfielder represented the U.S. at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India and played in 19 games for NYCFC this year.

  • Midfielder Richard Ledezma made the bench for PSV Eindhoven for the first time on Oct. 27.

  • Forward Emmanuel Sabbi is Hobro IK’s leading scorer through the first few months of the Danish Superliga season with six goals. He’s scored in three straight matches heading into the international break.

  • Defender Mark McKenzie finished the MLS season strong, starting Philadelphia’s last six regular season games and its two MLS Cup Playoff matches.

  • Defender Chris Richards scored his first goal for Bayern Munich II on Nov. 3 in a 5-3 loss at Meppen.

  • Midfielders Brenden Aaronson and Hassani Dotson were both nominated for MLS Rookie of the Year.

  • Defender Antonee Robinson has started all 15 league games this season for Wigan Athletic in the EFL Championship.

  • Forward Jeremy Ebobisee finished the season as the Portland Timbers’ joint-leading scorer with 11 goals.

  • Twenty-two of 24 players, including every U.S.-born player on the roster, have spent at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

  • Five players have won Academy Player of the Year honors: Cappis (Central U-17/18, 2017), Ebobisse (East U-15/16, 2014), Ledezma (West U-18/19, 2018), Richards (Central U-18/19, 2018) and forward Sebastian Saucedo (West U-15/16, 2014).

  • Eight players have won an Academy Championship. The RSL quartet of Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo took home the U-15/16 national title in 2013. Mihailovic lifted the U-17/18 trophy in 2015 with the Chicago Fire, while Cappis and Richards won in 2017 with Texans SC Houston U-17/18. Sands sunk the championship-clinching penalty in a shootout to claim the 2018 U-18/19 title for NYCFC.

BRAZIL ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Anderson (Athletico Paranaense), Ivan (Ponte Preta), Phelipe (Gremio)

DEFENDERS (8): Ayrton (Spartak Moscow/RUS), Dodo (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Guga (Atletico Mineiro), Caio Henrique (Fluminense), Ibañez (Atalanta/ITA), Lyanco (Torino/ITA), Rodrigo (Portimonense/POR), Walce (Sao Paulo)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Lucas Fernandes (Portimonense/POR), Bruno Guimaraes (Athletico Paranaense), Matheus Henrique (Gremio), Thiago Maia (Lille/FRA), Pedrinho (Corinthians), Wendel (Sporting CP/POR)
FORWARDS (6): Antony (Sao Paaulo), Artur (Bahia), Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig/GER), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal/ENG),  Paulinho (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Pedro (Fiorentina/ITA)

BRAZIL NOTES

  • Brazil is preparing for the 2020 CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament, set for Jan. 18-Feb. 9. The competition qualifies two teams to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

  • A Selecao are the reigning Olympic champion in men’s soccer, taking the gold medal on home soil during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

  • Brazil has qualified for the last three Olympics and five of seven overall since the tournament became an Under-23 competition in 1992.

  • Before taking gold in Rio, Brazil finished second at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and third at Beijing 2008 and Atlanta 1996.

  • Twelve of Brazil’s players compete domestically, while eleven are based abroad in Italy (three), Germany, Portugal (two each), England, France, Russia and Ukraine (one each).

HEAD COACH JASON KREIS: Kreis was named head coach of the U-23 MNT in March 2019, joining U.S. Soccer with 21 years of experience as a player and head coach in Major League Soccer. Kreis earned a place in league record books for his accomplishments both on and off the field, becoming the youngest coach in league history to win the MLS Cup when he led Real Salt Lake to the 2009 title and guiding RSL to the best-ever finish for an American club in the Concacaf Champions League in 2011. Currently No. 7 on the MLS all-time scoring list, he was the first player in league history to record 100 goals.

  • Kreis’ staff for this training camp include former MLS players/coaches Jeff Cassar and Steve Ralston, Portland Timbers assistant coach Miles Joseph, New York City FC assistant coach Rob Vartughian and NYCFC academy coach Medhi Ballouchy.

  • Kreis immediately took over as RSL’s head coach upon his retirement as a player in May 2007, leading the club to unmatched success, including its only MLS Cup title, as well as a runner-up finish through six consecutive playoff appearances from 2008-13.

  • Kreis also lead New York City FC in its inaugural MLS season and served as Orlando City SC’s second head coach.

  • Kreis earned his U.S. Soccer Pro License in 2016.

  • The Omaha, Nebraska native was selected in the inaugural MLS Draft by the Dallas Burn and scored the club’s first-ever goal. He became the first American to win MVP in 1999 and became the league’s all-time leading scorer in 2004, a mark that stood for more than three years.

  • Kreis made 14 appearances with the U.S. MNT from 1996-2000, netting his lone international goal in a 1999 friendly against Jamaica. He also served as a guest assistant coach in the MNT’s 2016 January Camp.