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USA U-18s open Milk Cup against Israel


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The 2011 Milk Cup kicks off on Monday, and so does the the U.S. U-18 men's national team's title defense.

Led by Omar Salgado, Luis Gil and Cody Cropper, the United States will attempt to win a second consecutive Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. The Americans' tournament begins with a group stage match against Israel on Monday (1 p.m. ET) before taking on arch-rival Mexico on Wednesday.

Head coach Mike Matkovich will try to repeat the success of Thomas Rongen, who guided the U.S. U-20s to a championship victory in last year's edition of the tournament.

Here's the United States 18-man roster as well as a rundown of the group stage matches:


GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town; Athens, Ga.), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City; Leawood, Kans.)

DEFENDERS (8): Michael Ambrose (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Bryan Gallego (New York Red Bulls; Kinnelon, N.J.), Jordan McCrary (North Carolina; Marietta, Ga.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas; Edmund,Okla.), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United; Cantonsville, Md.), Javan Torre (Pateadores; Santa Monica, Calif.), Walker Zimmerman (Furman University; Lawrenceville, Ga.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bollingbrook, Ill.), Marcus Salandy-Defour (D.C. United; Kensington, Md.), Jose Villareal (Pateadores; Inglewood, Calif.)

FORWARDS (3): Jerome Kiesewetter (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Luis Rendon (FC Richmond Magic; Chesterfield, Va.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps; El Paso, Tex.)



7/25 Israel vs. United States

7/25 Northern Ireland vs. Denmark

7/25 Mexico vs. Georgia

7/27 Denmark vs. Israel

7/27 United States vs. Mexico

7/27 Northern Ireland vs. Georgia


What do you think are the chances that the U.S. U-18s win the Milk Cup? Who are you excited to see play?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Lacking in size can also mean his frame/build isn’t where it needs to be for him not to get pushed around, not necessarily referring to his height.

  2. ‘A pair of second-half goals from Omar Salgado and Jerome Kiesewetter helped the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team earn a 2-0 win against Israel to open its 2011 Milk Cup campaign.’

  3. There is probably not much overlap with the U20. On our side there is all of one player (Salgado) who played a (very minor) role with the U20s.

  4. Jen is a he, which puts your entire statement in doubt. And yeah, he’s 6′ 2″ but is pretty lightweight. I’d like to see him put it together though. I’m not tearing the guy down, I’m just restating what an accomplished soccer journalist said about it.

  5. Mexico is not taking this tourney seriously since they are involved in the U-20 World Cup. I guess the U.S. has to win this for redemption since they failed to qualify for the WC

  6. Actually, he doesn’t have an EU passport yet as Bulgaria has not yet been completely admitted into the EU. That will be in 2012, and until then, he is not EU. That’s partly why he was loaned out immediately to Genk, in Belgium, where non-EU laws are less stringent.

  7. No he didnt come out of nowhere, he has represented the USA at the US17 level, probably others too. I read he declined an opportunity to travel with a US super elite team. Dont know if that was the Milk Cup squad or not though. There’s a video of him on youtube playing for Liverpool U18s if you want to see the goals. While he definitely does well, it still looks like schoolboy play to me so it’s hard to judge. Unless I see something really special in these young players, I wish they’d just put some years in at a good college program.

  8. How many games has Jen Chang seen him play? Considering he’s 6 2 already the “size” thing is a moot point and puts the rest of her statement in doubt…

  9. Kiesewetter makes it 2-0 in stoppage time! He finished a low cross from Luis Gil to give the U-18 #USMNT some breathing room usssoccer Twitter

  10. Why is Mexico even in this tournament as they start play in the U20 World Cup on Friday.

    So they will be without the U17 that just won the world cup and without the one in the U20 group.

    Who will they be taking? U17 B team.

  11. I totally agree that having the passport helps a ton, but kid must have showed Liverpool a lot if they had him sign a first team contract and then sent him out to Belgian champs Genk.

  12. Jen may be right, but a funny thing you know…goal scorers come in all shapes and sizes. If the kid can put them away against quality competition, his pace / size really doesn’t matter. A good finisher is a good finisher.

    Best striker I ever played against was Joey Navarino (St Johns and LI rr)…small, a bit overweight, very avg pace…but all he needed was an inch in the box and it was a goal. The guy was lethal in the 18.

  13. I’d like to know what’s going on with Zahavi, as well. As for Huerzeler, I think he’s finishing school in Germany, which his parents have made his priority for the moment. Can’t blame them.

  14. I think the general consensus is that he’s not much to write home about. He has an EU passport so it’s a relatively low-risk deal for Liverpool. If he turns out to be a real talent, they’ve got him locked up, and if he doesn’t pan out, it’s no big deal. Jen Chang wrote that he’s a decent finisher, but lacks size, pace, and the touch/finesse necessary to make a real impact. Obviously, he could grow, and he has plenty of time to develop, but I’m not sure he’s the next big thing. Here’s to hoping he proves me wrong; I’ll always support a Yank in Europe.

  15. I think he basically just came out of nowhere. I’m hearing that he was given a blind trial by LFC at the suggestion of his agent? And he played in a U-18 game for them and had a first half hat trick and assist and I guess just really impressed.

  16. Ives, any info on this Villyan Bijev to Liverpool story? I don’t know much about him. Why would he not be selected to this squad?


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