U.S. Soccer
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USA Opens Olympic Qualifying with Confident 3-1 Win against Canada

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Oct. 1, 2015) - The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team, led by a pair of goals from Jordan Morris and a late penalty kick conversion by Luis Gil, started its run in the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship with a 3-1 win against Canada at Sporting Park.

Morris found the net before Canada could even touch the ball, punching in the opening goal before a minute of soccer had even been played.

The U.S. was dominant offensively and defensively and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. It was more of the same when the team came out in the second frame, with Morris cashing in another goal in the 73rd minute.

The U.S. defense was finally beat in the 81st minute when Canada scored off a corner kick to pull within one, but the U.S closed the game out on a high note with Luis Gil slotting home a penalty to ice the match in stoppage time.

It will be a quick turnaround for the team, which plays its second game against Cuba, at Sporting Park on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on Telemundo and fans can follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA– Jordan Morris (Jerome Kiesewetter), 1st minute: 
Matt Polster laid a ball forward to Kiesewetter, who picked it up and accelerated down the right side. As the defense closed in he looked up and found Morris breaking for the goal. Kiesewetter bent in a firm cross that flew just past the 'keeper and found Morris who headed it in to give the U.S. the lead. USA 1, CAN 0 SEE GOAL

USA– Jordan Morris (Wil Trapp), 73rd minute: Morris' second goal started at the feet of the captain, Wil Trapp. Trapp intercepted a pass in midfield and launched a high, arching ball from the back to Morris, who muscled past his defender and beat the charging ‘keeper with a tidy shot that found the lower right corner. USA 2, CAN 0 SEE GOAL

CAN– Michael Petrasso (Christopher Mannella), 81st minute: Canada finally beat the U.S. defense for a goal, which came from a Mannella corner kick. He bent a sharp, curling ball into the box near the front post of goal. An unmarked Petrasso jumped and skimmed it with his head which deflected the shot in at the far post for Canada's lone goal of the game. USA 2, CAN 1 SEE GOAL

USA– Luis Gil (penalty kick), 90+2 minute: While he wouldn't earn an assist, it was Kiesewetter that set up the third goal for the USA. The striker made a quick move to get into the box and added another quick cut that cause his defender to foul him. Gil then confidently stepped up and sent a low powerful strike from the spot into the right corner. USA 3, CAN 1 SEE GOAL

Additional Notes:

  • Jordan Morris has now scored five goals with the U-23’s this year.
  • Luis Gil, who has recorded four assists with the U-23’s this year, scored his first goal of 2015 tonight.
  • The assist was Jerome Kiesewetter’s first with the U-23’s.
  • Wil Trapp earned the start as the team’s captain and tallied his first assist of the year.

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U-23 MNT

-U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-23 MNT vs. Canada
Date: Oct. 1, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship – Group A
Venue: Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Attendance: 3,827
Weather: 61 Degrees; Clear

Scoring Summary:             1          2          F                                   
USA                                     1          2          3
CAN                                     0          1          1  

USA-Jordan Morris (Jerome Kiesewetter)           1st minute
USA-Jordan Morris (Wil Trapp)                           73
CAN-Michael Petrasso (Chris Mannella)             81
USA-Luis Gil (penalty kick)                                 90+2

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 13-Matt Polster, 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 7-Dillon Serna; 14-Fatai Alashe (2-Boyd Okwuonu, 87), 6-Wil Trapp (capt.), 16-Gedion Zelalem (15-Marc Pelosi, 57), 8-Emerson Hyndman (10-Luis Gil, 72); 17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 9-Jordan Morris
Subs Not Used: 20-Gboly Ariyibi, 11-Alonso Hernandez, 18-Charlie Horton, 5-Will Packwood, 19-Maki Tall
Head Coach: Andi Herzog

CAN: 1-Max Crepeau; 2-Johnny Grant, 19-Skylar Thomas, 5-Luca Gasparotto, 11-Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare; 10-Caleb Clarke (17-Hanson Boakai, 81), 6-Chris Mannella (16-Mo Babouli, 88), 14-Sam Piette (capt.), 7-Mauro Eustaquio (8-Jay Chapman, 66), 13-Michael Petrasso; 9-Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Subs Not Used: 12-Quillan Roberts, 18-Ricky Gomes, 4-Jackson Farmer, 3-Giuliano Frano, 15-Ben Fisk, 20-Dylan Carreiro
Head Coach: Benito Floro

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 17 / 14
Shots on Goal: 6 / 7
Saves: 6 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2        
Offside: 6 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 12

Misconduct Summary:
USA-Matt Polster (caution)                         40th minute
USA-Wil Trapp (caution)                            84
CAN-Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare (caution)       87

Officials:
Referee: Armando Castro (HON)
1st Referee: Oscar Velazquez (HON)
2nd Referee: Graeme Brown (SKN)
4th official: Adrian Skeete (BRB)

Man of the Match: Jordan Morris

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USA Opens Olympic Qualifying with Confident 3-1 Win against Canada

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Oct. 1, 2015) - The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team, led by a pair of goals from Jordan Morris and a late penalty kick conversion by Luis Gil, started its run in the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship with a 3-1 win against Canada at Sporting Park.

Morris found the net before Canada could even touch the ball, punching in the opening goal before a minute of soccer had even been played.

The U.S. was dominant offensively and defensively and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. It was more of the same when the team came out in the second frame, with Morris cashing in another goal in the 73rd minute.

The U.S. defense was finally beat in the 81st minute when Canada scored off a corner kick to pull within one, but the U.S closed the game out on a high note with Luis Gil slotting home a penalty to ice the match in stoppage time.

It will be a quick turnaround for the team, which plays its second game against Cuba, at Sporting Park on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on Telemundo and fans can follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA– Jordan Morris (Jerome Kiesewetter), 1st minute: 
Matt Polster laid a ball forward to Kiesewetter, who picked it up and accelerated down the right side. As the defense closed in he looked up and found Morris breaking for the goal. Kiesewetter bent in a firm cross that flew just past the 'keeper and found Morris who headed it in to give the U.S. the lead. USA 1, CAN 0 SEE GOAL

USA– Jordan Morris (Wil Trapp), 73rd minute: Morris' second goal started at the feet of the captain, Wil Trapp. Trapp intercepted a pass in midfield and launched a high, arching ball from the back to Morris, who muscled past his defender and beat the charging ‘keeper with a tidy shot that found the lower right corner. USA 2, CAN 0 SEE GOAL

CAN– Michael Petrasso (Christopher Mannella), 81st minute: Canada finally beat the U.S. defense for a goal, which came from a Mannella corner kick. He bent a sharp, curling ball into the box near the front post of goal. An unmarked Petrasso jumped and skimmed it with his head which deflected the shot in at the far post for Canada's lone goal of the game. USA 2, CAN 1 SEE GOAL

USA– Luis Gil (penalty kick), 90+2 minute: While he wouldn't earn an assist, it was Kiesewetter that set up the third goal for the USA. The striker made a quick move to get into the box and added another quick cut that cause his defender to foul him. Gil then confidently stepped up and sent a low powerful strike from the spot into the right corner. USA 3, CAN 1 SEE GOAL

Additional Notes:

  • Jordan Morris has now scored five goals with the U-23’s this year.
  • Luis Gil, who has recorded four assists with the U-23’s this year, scored his first goal of 2015 tonight.
  • The assist was Jerome Kiesewetter’s first with the U-23’s.
  • Wil Trapp earned the start as the team’s captain and tallied his first assist of the year.

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U-23 MNT

Rising Aces

On the field, Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers are a working tandem. In this CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, the pair of center backs know that when they’re on the field they’ll need to combine together to stop the opposition. The two are youngest players on the team, but are ready to step up as the U-23’s, looking to punch their ticket to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, need them most.

If the pair share the field in the Qualifying tournament, it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done so in the red, white and blue.

“Cam and I have known each other for a while now,” Miazga said. “We worked together in the U-20 cycle for quite a while and played together in the U-20 World Cup and it was good. Now we’re up to the U-23 team and it’s another good step for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Earlier this year the pair proved to be a dynamic defensive duo, leading a stifling U-20 UMNT defense that advanced to the U-20 World Cup quarterfinals.

Miazga and Carter-Vickers
Carter-Vickers (center) and Miazga (left) helped the USA pitch three shutouts in five games at the 2015 U-20 World Cup.

Now they know they have another big challenge that comes in the form of Olympic Qualifying. For them it’s another opportunity to play together on the field. The two know that in their position at center back, chemistry is important. It is something they’re constantly trying to build, on and off the field.

“We get on really well,” Carter-Vickers said. “Off the field, we’re roommates and even when we’re not playing, we’re talking about soccer. That helps us understand each other’s game and makes us even better when we do step back on the field.”

“We’re really just comfortable with each other off the field so, on the field, it makes us that much better,” Miazga added. “It’s very helpful when we have to cover each other and give instructions and work together to organize the team.”

The two center backs continue to grow accustomed to lining up next to each other and got the opportunity to do so again in the team’s final Olympic Qualifying preparation camp this past September in England.

“The more a center back pair plays together, the better they’ll get,” Carter-Vickers said. “Each game coming into your position, you see how each other handles the opposition and you can work with each other.”

20-year-old Miazga and 17-year-old Carter-Vickers will be two of the youngest players in the tournament, but their youth, they say, won’t stop them from being leaders on the pitch.

“I think in general we’re both confident players, so we’re confident on the field and that helps us communicate with guys and organize and lead,” Miazga said. “Obviously we were leaders with the U-20’s and we’re going to try to lead and organize here as well because our position demands that. We’ll do our best and hopefully do well.”

“You also don’t just lead vocally,” Carter-Vickers, who captains Tottenham’s U-21 team said. “You can lead in the way that you play and in how much you give for your team.”

“We’re ready to give it all for our team,” Miazga concluded.

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U-23 MNT

USA Faces Northern Neighbor in Olympic Qualifying Opener

CHICAGO (Sept. 30, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team is set to play Canada at Sporting Park in Kansas City on Thursday, Oct. 1, in its opening game of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. The match will kick off at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on NBC Universo. Fans can also follow the action on twitter @ussoccer.

The U.S. was drawn into Group A of the tournament and opens with a pair of games at Sporting Park in Kansas City against Canada followed by Cuba on Oct. 3 (4 p.m. CT, Telemundo). The U-23’s will conclude group play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Oct. 6 against Panama (7:30 p.m. MT, NBC Universo).  

The USA has met Canada in each of the last four Olympic Qualifying tournaments and in six Olympic Qualifying tournaments throughout the history of both programs, compiling an overall 4-3-1 record. Since the Men's Olympic soccer tournament became an age-restricted event in 1992, the U.S. has a 3-2-1 record against Canada. Although the U.S. got the better of Canada in Qualifying for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, the most recent meeting in 2012 fell in favor of the Canadians. Overall, the U.S. has a 17-5-5 record in Olympic Qualifying since 1992. 

Meanwhile, defending Olympic gold medalist Mexico is joined in Group B by Costa Rica, Haiti and Honduras. The top two teams from each group will advance to the tournament semifinals. Winners of the semifinal games will advance to the finals and are awarded berths in the 2016 Olympics. The winner of the third-place game will qualify for a one-game playoff against Colombia in the final opportunity to claim an Olympic bid.

The U.S. enters the tournament having defeated Qatar in its final tune-up. In June, the team finished third at the renowned Toulon Tournament in France, defeating the Netherlands and England. The team is 6-4-0 in 2015, including a 3-0 win against Mexico in April.

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.).

Roster Notes:

  • 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).
  • Five players from this roster have scored goals for the U-23’s in 2015: Morris, Will Packwood, Gboly Ariyibi, Alonso Hernandez and Jerome Kiesewetter
  • 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.
  • Gil leads the U-23’s with four assists in 2015.
  • 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.

Canada Roster By Position: 

GOALKEEPERS (3): Max Crépeau (FC Montreal/CAN); Ricky Gomes (Atletico de Malveira/POR); Quillan Roberts (Toronto FC II/CAN)
DEFENDERS (4): Jackson Farmer (Vancouver Whitecaps FC II/CAN); Luca Gasparotto (Greenock Morton/SCO); Johnny Grant (FC Montreal/CAN); Skylar Thomas (Toronto FC II/CAN)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Dylan Carreiro (Dundee FC /SCO); Jay Chapman (Toronto FC/CAN); Mauro Eustaquio (Ottawa Fury FC/CAN); Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (FC Montreal/CAN); Chris Mannella (Toronto FC II/CAN); Sam Piette (Racing de Ferrol/SPA)
FORWARDS (7): Mo Babouli (Toronto FC II/CAN); Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton/CAN); Caleb Clarke (Vancouver Whitecaps FC II/CAN); Ben Fisk (Deportivo de La Coruna /SPA); Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact FC/CAN); Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto FC II/CAN); Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)

Roster Notes:

  • Canada missed qualifying for both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics by just one game.
  • The Canada U-23s tied fellow Group A side Panama 0-0 at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.
  • Goalkeeper Quillan Roberts is the regular starter for Toronto FC II.
  • Fourteen players from the roster have earned caps with Canada’s senior national team.
  • The group is an experienced one with 19 players having totaled more than 2,000 cumulative days in Canada’s youth soccer program.
  • Eleven players on Canada’s squad play for an MLS team or its USL affiliate.
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U-23 MNT

Herzog Q&A: “Now we have to be focused on the games and we have to win.”

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog spoke with ussoccer.com about the USA’s CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying roster and the journey to earning a spot in Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games.

ussoccer.com: How did you go about assembling this roster?
Andi Herzog: “For us it was important that we find the right balance between attacking players and defensive-minded players. Because there are no FIFA dates for the first week of the tournament, there were challenges. We had discussions with a lot of teams, and while some clubs didn’t release their players overall we received a lot of support, especially from MLS. Until yesterday we were focused on getting the roster together, and there was a lot of competition for spots. Of course a few players will be disappointed that they didn’t make the roster and I understand, but we can only have 20 players on the roster and only 17 field players, so they weren’t easy decisions. Now we have to be focused on the games and we have to win.”

ussoccer.com: Why is qualifying for the Olympics so important?
AH: “With every youth national team, it doesn’t matter if it’s the U-17, U-20, or with the Olympic team, you always want to compete at the highest level with the best teams in the world. For everyone, I think it’s a dream to participate in the Olympic Games and it’s a great opportunity for us. But first we have to do our job and win the first game against Canada, which would make it a little bit easier for us because with a good start you get more and more confidence.”

ussoccer.com: What are the strengths of this group of players?
AH: “I think over the last couple of months the players had a very good working attitude and a lot of passion. They did very well and worked really hard and made it easier for us. This is a real ambitious group of players and hopefully we do well in the qualification.”

ussoccer.com: You made a point of scheduling challenging friendlies over the course of the year. How important were those in getting this group ready for this tournament?
AH: “These games were important for the players to make an impression. We got a couple new players in after the U-20 World Cup, and we had a camp in England to see them and the other players together. The Toulon Tournament was very special and we finished third out of 10 good teams, so I was impressed. For us that tournament was important because we had four games in seven days, and playing every two days will be similar to the schedule we have in Qualifying. We play on Oct. 1 and Oct. 3, and then on Oct. 6, so that means we have to be ready to mix the players from game to game and we got a good training run at that in Toulon.”

usssoccer.com: How important will the support of the fans be in this tournament that is played on U.S. soil?
AH: “It’s huge. For sure there will be a couple of moments where we need support from the fans to push the team. Overall I think everyone is excited. After the Men’s National Team qualified for the World Cup in 2014, and with the Women’s National Team winning this summer, this would be the next big thing for U.S. Soccer. We have a younger group that wants to show that the players in the U.S. have a really good quality.”

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U-23 MNT
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