KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Oct. 3, 2015) - The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team clinched a spot in the all-important Olympic Qualifying Championship semifinal with a 6-1 win against Cuba at Sporting Park.
The win, combined with the USA’s tournament opening victory against Canada on Thursday secures a top two spot for the team in Group A. With one group game left to play on Tuesday, Oct. 6, against Panama at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, the USA can claim top position in the group. The winners of Saturday’s two semifinals qualify directly for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, while the winner of the third place match will face Colombia in a one-game playoff for a final Olympic berth.
Jerome Kiesewetter bagged a pair of goals, and was joined on the scoresheet by Emerson Hyndman, Alonso Hernandez, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga. Luis Gil assisted on two of the scores.
The USA was dominant from the first whistle and nearly turned in a shutout, but conceded a consolation goal in the final moments of stoppage time.
Goal Scoring Summary:
USA-Cameron Carter-Vickers (Luis Gil) 16th minute: A foul set the U.S. up with a free kick from the left and Luis Gil stepped up to take it. The midfielder curled a confident ball into the box and Carter-Vickers jumped in front of his defender, rising high to head the ball down into the lower left corner to give the U.S. an early lead. USA 1, CUB 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA-Matt Miazga (Matt Polster) 35th minute: Following a corner kick, Matt Polster collected a half cleared ball out wide on the right and whipped in a strong, curving cross to the far post, where only Miazga could get to it. The center back directed his headed attempt back across goal and into the left side netting to double the USA’s lead. USA 2, CUB 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA-Jerome Kiesewetter (Jordan Morris) 38th minute: Just after the team had scored its second goal, Kiesewetter made it three. It started with Luis Gil, who threaded a ball up to the speedy Jordan Morris. Morris knifed through the box, drawing the goalie to the right side of the box before centering an unselfish pass to Kiesewetter, who tapped in for the third U.S. goal of the game. USA 3, CUB 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA-Jerome Kiesewetter (Marc Pelosi) 49th minute: Morris brought the ball down the left and got it to Marc Pelosi. The defense collapsed on Pelosi and he muscled a cross through the opposition, which found Kiesewetter, who again calmly tapped in for his second goal of the game. USA 4, CUB 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA-Emerson Hyndman (Luis Gil): Luis Gil and Emerson Hyndman combined around the top left corner of the penalty area to set up the score. Hyndman laid it off to Gil, at the left edge of the box and Gil quickly back-heeled to the breaking Hyndman. Hyndman confidently smashed a shot into the right corner to score his first goal with the U-23 MNT. USA 5, CUB 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA-Alonso Hernandez (Gboly Ariyibi): Ariyibi made a move to the right of the box and crossed back to Hernandez who was freed on the left. With ample time, Hernandez took a controlling touch and blasted a shot past the diving ‘keeper into the lower left corner USA 6, CUB 0 (SEE GOAL)
CUB-Daniel Luis: In the closing moments of the game, Luis took a chance from a distance, which was well placed and bent into the upper left corner. USA 6, CUB 1 FINAL (SEE GOAL)
-U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. U-23 MNT vs. Cuba
Date: Oct. 3, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship – Group A
Venue: Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Kickoff: 4 p.m. CT
Weather: 67 Degrees; Clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 3 6
CUB 0 1 1
USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers (Luis Gil) 17th minute
USA – Matthew Miazga (Matthew Polster) 36
USA – Jerome Kiesewetter (Jordan Morris) 38
USA – Jerome Kiesewetter (Marc Pelosi) 49
USA – Emerson Hyndman (Luis Gil) 69
USA – Alonso Hernandez (Gboly Ariyibi) 76
CUB – Daniel Luis 90+3
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 13-Matt Polster (20-Gboly Ariyibi, 60), 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 2-Boyd Okwuonu; 10-Luis Gil, 6-Wil Trapp (capt.), 15-Marc Pelosi, 8-Emerson Hyndman; 17-Jerome Kiesewetter (19-Maki Tall,53), 9-Jordan Morris (11-Alonso Hernandez, 60)
Subs Not Used: 5-Will Packwood, 7-Dillon Serna, 14-Fatai Alashe, 16-Gedion Zelalem, 18-Charlie Horton
Head Coach: Andi Herzog
CUB: 1-Sandy Mustelier; 2-Andy Ruiz, 6-Yosel Guillen, 15-Adrian Diz Pe, 18-Abel Colon; 4-Yolexis Mora (17-Pedro Anderson, 69), 7-Arichel Mora, 16-Daniel Luis, 19-David Soler; 9-Maykel Azcuy, 10-Hector Sanchez (20-Osmany Capote, 71)
Subs Not Used: 12-Elier Pozo, 13-Delvis Lumpuy
Head Coach: Raul Gonzalez
Stats Summary: USA / CUB
Shots: 16 / 6
Shots on Goal: 8 / 2
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 14
Offside: 2 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 6
CUB – David Urgelles (caution) 15th minute
Referee: Juan Carlos Guerra (GUA)
1st Referee: Ronaldo De La Cruz (GUA)
2nd Referee: Israel Valenciano (MEX)
4th official: Luis Santander (MEX)
Man of the Match: TBDRead more
2015 has been a year with a single focus for the U-23 Men’s National Team: qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a feat that could not be achieved without a great deal of preparation; and accordingly, the team has played a rising number of preparatory training camps and friendlies.
Now the team has reached year’s climax, which comes in the form of the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship that begins Oct. 1 in Kansas City and Los Angeles. A trip to the tournament final would earn the U.S. an automatic trip to the 2016 Olympic Games. A finish outside the top three and the road to Rio comes to an abrupt end.
The current U.S. team is made up of young talent, but possess an experienced core of 20 players who have grown up playing in U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Team program. They now find themselves on the verge of the biggest tournament of their budding careers.
“Playing at the Olympics would be unbelievable,” said midfielder Emerson Hyndman. “A similar feeling to the World Cup. This summer was my first time playing in the U-20 World Cup and, if I get the opportunity, next summer would be my first time playing in the Olympics. The Olympics has so much history. I’ve watched it on TV all the time. To think about myself playing in it and representing my country is a just a special opportunity.”
U.S. midfielder Emerson Hyndman made his first appearance of 2015 with the U-23 MNT when the team took on England in early September.
The stage is set for the U-23’s. Placed in Group A, the team will need to get through Canada, Panama and Cuba. Topping their group would hand them a semifinal matchup with the second place team from Group B, which includes Mexico, Costa Rica, Haiti and Honduras.
Should the U.S. advance to the tournament final, it would punch an automatic ticket to the Olympics. A second road also leads to Rio. That would require winning the tournament’s third place game and then a one-game playoff against Colombia.
“Obviously it’s a great honor for me to play for the U.S. and the goal is to do so in the Olympics,” said U-23 MNT forward Jerome Kiesewetter. “We want to achieve this really bad. All of our focus is on the qualifiers. It’s all we want to do. It’s all we play for.”
Jerome Kiesewetter (center) jumps through training drills during the U-23 MNT's September training camp in England.
The team comes in having defeated Qatar in its last game 2-0, and prior to that finished third at the renowned Toulon Tournament in France, where it defeated the Netherlands and England. Despite their accomplishments earlier in the year – that includes a 3-0 win against Mexico in April – the players only see success as qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“There’s a lot to accomplish still. We’ve been giving it our all in every session and putting our best foot forward to making sure we’re ready when we get to qualifying,” said Kiesewetter. “Last Olympics we didn’t make it, but that just motivates us. We have a job to do, to get our country to Rio next summer.”
While the U.S. failed to qualify for the Olympics the last time around, this time it boasts a completely new group and a new opportunity for 20 players who have been playing together for a little over a year.
“It’s awesome having been able to come through the ranks,” said midfielder Luis Gil. “This is kind of like the last group before making it with the men’s team and usually you do have four or five core guys that make it to the men’s team. You come up together and you play together and it always helps.
Luis Gil challenges teammate Emerson Hyndman during U-23 MNT training in the team's final camp before Olympic Qualifying begins Oct. 1
“This means everything. Your country, yourself, your clubs, your family, everything. This is a part of you and it’s a huge opportunity and something to be grateful for and it’s going to be fun. Qualifying for the Olympics is a big opportunity for all of us.”Read more
CHICAGO (Sept. 18, 2015) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has named the 20-player roster that will compete in the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, which will be played across the United States from Oct. 1-13. The USA will look to clinch a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A and opens with a pair of games at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, against Canada on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. CT and Cuba on Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. CT. The U-23’s will conclude group play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Oct. 6 against Panama at 7:30 p.m. MT.
“For us it was important that we find the right balance between attacking players and defensive-minded players,” Herzog said. “Because there are no FIFA dates for the first week of the tournament, there were challenges in getting players released. 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. 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 only17 field players, so they weren’t easy decisions. Now we have to be focused on the games and we have to win.”
Defending Olympic gold medalists Mexico are 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 clinch spots in the Olympics. The winner of the third-place game will qualify for a one-game playoff against Colombia in the final opportunity for an Olympic spot.
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, where 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 Summer Games in Sydney, when the team defeated Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event.
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.).
- 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.
- Eleven players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Alashe (Vardar), Gil (Pateadores), Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado), Hyndman (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy), Eric Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy), 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: Jordan Morris, Will Packwood, Gboly Ariyibi, Alonso Hernandez and Jerome Kiesewetter
- Two from the roster scored goals with the U-20’s in 2015: Emerson Hyndman and Maki Tall
- At just 17-years-old, Carter-Vickers is the youngest player on the roster.
- Eighteen-year-old Gedion 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 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 one 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.
- Luis Gil leads the U-23’s with four assists in 2015.
- Miazga made his U-23 debut with the team in their match against England in September, starting and playing 90 minutes.
- Morris has also had a big role with the senior team in 2015. He scored for the MNT in their 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.