Top Stories

Morris, Gil headline U.S. Under-23 squad to take on Mexico


Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports


Just one week after scoring his first U.S. Men’s National Team goal in a victory over Mexico, Jordan Morris will look to repeat the feat as a member of the U.S. Under-23 team.

Morris is one of 20 players that has been called in by head coach Andi Herzog for the U-23s’ first domestic camp of 2015. The camp will culminate in a friendly against the Mexico U-23s on April 22 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

“It’s a beautiful stadium and this is a huge rivalry,” Herzog said. “We had this experience with the senior team last week and it was a great atmosphere. For these players, it’s a huge opportunity and we want to see them make the most of it.”

The Stanford forward will be joined by six other players that have been called up to the senior team in the calendar year, joining Cody Cropper, Christian Dean, Luis Gil, Jon Kempin, Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna and Oscar Sorto.

Here is a look at the full U.S. U-23 roster:

GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton), Jon Kempin (San Antonio Scorpions)

DEFENDERS: Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy), Sam Strong (UC Santa Barbara), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)

MIDFIELDERS: Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna) , Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II)

FORWARDS: Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey), Alfred Koroma Shams (Unattached), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)


Which players are you most looking forward to watching? Any notable snubs? What do you expect from the game against Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Regarding Morris, did anyone else hear Twellman’s comment about his call up for the Mexico game? Twellman speculated that Klinsmann played Morris in order to thumb his nose at MLS. I consider that amongst the dumbest comments made recently. In thinking about this, and now seeing Morris being called up for the Olympic squad, I was hit with the idea that maybe a big reason Klinsmann has been pushing Morris is because he’s trying to persuade the kid to ditch Stanford for now and go pro. This makes more sense to me. If he has a lot of promise, his development is greatly restricted by staying in college. By putting Morris in the spotlight, Klinsmann can give him a nudge toward signing with Seattle after this semester ends.

    • I heard that too, if those were his half-time comments during Philly v NE match last night. I was on my couch falling asleep with it on MLS Live, when he made what sounded like a super weird comment like that. Weird because it started with something like, “Morris was really impressive and scored a goal and looked really good…. what do we make of that?” and then the _only_ thing he suggested as a possibility was that JK was trying to piss off MLS.

      It was like he came up with that monologue before the Mex match, and it would have made some sense if Morris was obviously horribly unprepared, and we didn’t know that Wondo was injured and unavailable. But as it was, it seemed really out of place. No, “maybe he actually is a real competitor for a spot” or “maybe JK thinks he’s got potential and wants to give him a taste to nudge him to go pro soon” or “JK is prepping him for the Olympic squad.” I mean, any are possibilities, but asking the question and only mentioning the one controversial possibility seemed really odd.

      Not to be conspiratorial, but between him, Lalas and a few others, it kinda seems like MLS-paid commentators have a bit of a party-line they’re pushing.

      • I thought the Morris and Ibarra callups were an attempt to thumb his nose at MLS. In other words saying that performances in college or NASL were just as relevant as MLS performances. The guy bashes MLS on a consistent basis yet calls up players playing at lower levels than MLS. Morris did well and he’s wasting his time and key development years playing college soccer.

      • considering how openly disdainful Klinsmann is regarding the limitations of the college system in terms of repairing young players for a world caliber schedule, he could simply be giving Morris as many extra hours of training as the kids can stand.

      • …Or MAYBE… he just sees a certain level of talent in Ibarra and Morris. He did it with Yedlin, Brooks, now Alvarado (22). To say he does not like MLS at all is being willfully spite of the obvious facts. He had more MLS on his World Cup roster than any other coach before him. He said he thought Dix’s move to the MLS was a good move. He has stated again and again that players should play the highest level where they can play. Sometimes that is MLS sometimes that is not. I don’t know why people cannot see that. Over the course of the last 1 yr and change, he has called in over 80 players. Sometimes players who do well in Europe are on the periphery (Kljestan, Ream, Lichaj) because he does not like he sees.

        Listen, we do not see what he sees in camp. He has an eye for talent. EVERY coach has favorites or passes over players who can obviously play, but don’t fit their system. Does he have issues with MLS. Yes, such as ignoring FIFA dates, no promotion system from low levels (no an issues with me) or level of play. I don’t agree with everything he does, but people need to chill with the conspiracy theories.

      • I’d say. Look no further then MLS’ website to see how biased the system is. Their ratings clearly lean favorably towards domestic players and are always posting critical articles towards Klinsmann in some manner. The only MLS player who received who received a proper rating was Zardes, which if had gone overlooked, would of looked extremely ridiculous on their part.

        Our defense posted a shut out, yet Venturo Alvardo gets a 6.5 rating, Greg Garza gets a 6, while Kyle Beckerman received a 6.5 on a day where he looked like crap and Brad Evans a 6.5 for 15 minutes!

        These things aren’t conspiracies theories when their so blatant, but just downright agendas that any person with a capacity to think critically can see through.

      • Ridiculous. I frequent all the websites: MLS, SBI, ESPNFC, PlanetFutbol(SI), ASN, Goal, SoccerAmerica, etc.

        There is no conspiracy theory or favoritism towards MLS players by the MLS website. Reminds me of how all the JK apologists get all worked up about ASN just because they don’t sing JK’s praises as much as they would like.

        The only thing you can bad-mouth MLS’s website about was for their lack of coverage of the labor-negotiations. That was to be expected though.

        There are plenty of people here that would disagree with each other over player ratings. So just because you disagreed with one writer there is some conspiracy? What a joke.

        Oh and writing, “just downright agendas that any person with a capacity to think critically can see through” does not make you correct. So anybody that doesn’t agree with you on this topic can’t think critically? Hilarious.

      • Bad timing for your argument Old Man.. I see MLS has an article on Danny Williams, praising his FA Cup performance. Not an MLS player.

      • And claiming to read every website makes you right? It’s been well documented how bad for business Klinsmann has been for MLS. It’s not a conspiracy and I never claimed it was. It’s a corporate agenda and just like anything else in this world, if something, or in this case someone, happens to be bad for business the propaganda machine starts rollling in on it.

        Do you not belong to this world? I mean someone really has to have their head stuck up their keister to believe that MLS, a business first and foremost, is separate and apart from the way everything else works in the world. You speak as if soccer is some untouchable sacred realm where that isn’t subject to share holdings and billions of dollars.

        You would think a person with apparently a college education would know as much, which isn’t as much hilarious as it is just down right sad and depressing. What is hilarious is how quick you are to take an antagonistic tone. Beyond that though, I mean do you even read the REAL news? Do you find time when your not reading every single article on every commercially owned american soccer website?

    • I am sure that Klinsmann and Seattle are trying and will continue to try and get Morris to leave Stanford. The issue with Morris is that for two years in a row now he had said that he values his Stanford education and wants to stay there. You don’t get your degree at the end of your junior year, so it is likely that we will see Morris be at Stanford for two more years.

      If he were to leave Stanford now, it would make his decision the previous two years pointless, because he still ended up not getting his degree. He would have forgone two or three years of professional development and hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for nothing. So actually, the longer he’s at Stanford, the more likely it becomes that he will stay at Stanford for the duration of his eligibility. Don’t expect to see Morris as a pro until he is between 22 and 23 years old.

      • As I pointed out after another article, I’ll bet he could arrange with Seattle to go to Stanford during spring semester and join the Sounders a bit late. Also, does Stanford have on-line courses? Anyway, you may be right, but how often have you seen young men tempted by possible fame and fortune and leave college early, even if it’s Stanford or Duke? I doubt anyone would fault him for it.

      • I don’t know if you watch First Take on Espn at all, but this reminds me of the frequent conversations that they have regarding race and social-class. You are right, usually you see college talent leave early for the fame and fortune. Probably 99% of the time. The few times we don’t see it though, its always a kid that comes from a wealthy, upper-class background (usually white). They have money already and have the mentality that they will continue to have money or find a way to make money, so they aren’t as tempted to go pro. All I am saying is that I would be surprised if he left before graduating, considering that he hasn’t done so already.

      • Dont the LA Galaxy have a deal with one of their Academy players or LA2 plaeyrs where they (LAG) are paying for his college while he trains and plays for them?

        Why arent more teams doing this for the younger players that want this option?

        Here is the link actually:

        Now, tuition at UC Santa Barbara and CS-Dominguez Hills are way cheaper than Standford, but if Seattle really valued Morris couldnt they do the same to lock him into their pipeline?

    • I heard Twellman’s comments, and also heard what Lalas had to say about it.
      Twellman’s comments were about the dumbest and most insulting verbal diarrhea I’ve heard in a long time. Gary Page is right.
      His premise is the “riff” between JK and MLS and US Soccer is much deeper than we all realize- and that’s why he sent out the tweet that started this.
      To me, he and Lalas have passed the point of reporting and delivering commentary, and are trying to Create the narrative. Between Lalas’ opening BS before the Mexico game, his comment that “It was made clear to me that Jurgen and I disagree on many things”… and Twellman’s comments yesterday- these 2 dopes just hate JK, and are gonna use their pulpits from espn and Fox as the 2 main voices- to continue this. That’s my opinion.

      Sorry to those who hate JK, or call me an apologist, but I’m going full steam to back JK here, and will use examples.
      The Two main issues that drive the narrative of this “riff” are:
      1- The MLS schedule,
      2- That MLS is not as competitive as Europe and he wants his best players playing at the highest level possible.

      1- The MLS schedule is what it is. It’s fact. It’s nobody’s fault, it just is what it is. How many fans have said the exact same thing? Wouldn’t all of you usmnt fans like to see everyone available during International breaks? So when JK is asked about it, what do you expect him to say? If you were the coach would you say differently?
      After this issue made its last rounds, Casey Keller was asked about it and he said the EXACT same thing as JK. But nobody pointed this out.

      2. The issue with the guys coming back to MLS/JK wanting his players to challenge themselves at the highest level.
      -When this came up & Garber exploded, was that the 1st time JK said these things?
      No, he’d said the exact same thing several times before.
      -I’ve asked this question on SBI many times, and nobody ever commented.
      How many of you actually saw the entire press conference when all this “riff” talk exploded? Did JK seem critical of MLS? NO
      Was he demonstrative in any way? NO
      Was he asked anything new? NO
      So what happened? A reporter asked him these same questions that had been asked previously many times, and JK gave the same answers. But for some reason this time it blew up and Lalas, Twellman, Wahl, McIntyre, & others acted as if this was a new revelation
      -What specifically is wrong with wanting your guys at the highest level? Would you want the same if you were the coach? It seems the same fans that criticize the “American’s Abroad” article each week are the same as those blasting JK-seriously- U can’t have it both ways

      A 3rd but less prevalent issue had to do with the training and conditioning in January.
      The day before the Mexico game, Brian McBride was on espnfc and asked about this: His response was EXACTLY the same as everything JK has been saying. Then on Fox they interviewed Yedlin and asked about the transition and difference. Guess what he said: The exact same things. So from one of the first to blaze the trail to Europe to the most recent, they say the EXACT same things as JK.

      Twellman’s comments were ridiculous.
      -If JK hated MLS so much, why does he call in so many of them?
      -Why did he give guys like Beckerman and Wondo and Davis and Evans their first real shots?
      -Why did he help resurrect DMB and EJ?
      -Do you think he randomly chose Morris out of the blue? No- He and Berti were impressed with him at the training and both saw something they liked…and Berti was shocked he wasn’t a pro yet.. He said so last week.
      -If you watched the Mexico game and didn’t know anyone, could you pick out the college guy?
      -Did Twellman and Lalas all of a sudden forget Jozy and Deuce were out? That AJ was across the pond? That Boyd and Gyua are out injured? He also called Wondo, Zardes, and Aguedelo… All MLS guys….
      -And what specifically is wrong with calling in a guy who is available who you want for your U-23 & Olympic team?

      Did you hear any of these things from Twellman or Lalas during their petulant rants?
      NO You Did Not…..

      • I agree with a lot of what you say. I am always leery of saying what is in someone’s mind. I will speculate based on words and actions, but not say definitively about someone’s thinking since we can’t get in someone’s head. Thus, I hesitate to say certain people are in on conspiracies, or similar. However, there are certain ways you can tell that some comments are gratuitous attacks, rather than analytical, fact based opinions. For me, the best example of that is the criticism that Lalas and Twellman keep making about the decision to play Bradley higher up rather than back in a more defensive role. I have yet to hear them say who should replace Bradley in the higher position. As I have argued, we don’t have anyone better than Bradley right now to play that role, so it’s immaterial whether or not it is his best spot. We do, however, have other players who can play defensively. This and the comment about Morris being played to thumb JK’s nose at MLS indicates very biased and really unthinking opinion. I really can’t stand these kind of attacks or extreme thinking. I have been called a JK fanboy, yet just the other day I engaged in a long argument with someone who said only coaches with a European background are any good and all US coaches, having come up through the NCAA system, are either incompetent or worthless. What I can’t stand are people who see things only in black and white when we live in a world filled with shades of gray.

      • Yes I’ve seen people make those comments to you, but I also remember your posts and opinions regarding LD’s exclusion- I wouldn’t have called u a fanboy then! Like I’ve said, either he’s the devil or you’re an apologist… most people have no in between.

      • Very passionate of you Bac, but this post was too long! Miraculously I read it anyways. You are both right and wrong in my opinion.

        You are wrong in saying there is no “riff”. There is. Garber pretty much made sure of it with his public comments responding to JK and the media storm that followed. Also, JK continuously says that he would prefer USMNT players/hopefuls play in a league above MLS. Let’s not pretend like there aren’t egos involved on both sides.

        You are right in saying that JK does not hate/dislike/avoid MLS players. Of course he still plays them, but then again, what choice does he have? If his best players are playing in MLS then he has no choice but to use them.

        Last thing I will say is that I am not a fan of, but also don’t dislike Lalas and Twellman. I don’t always agree with what they say, but they do the same thing that people like you, Gary Page, GW, etc. do here on SBI. They just go the other way and have a much larger platform than all of us do. Don’t get so worked up about it. I bet that whenever they say something nice about JK you say “that Lalas/that Twellman is a genius”.

      • I shouldn’t have singled you, Gary Page and GW out. I meant to say they do the same thing that we all do here, either having issue with something JK does or praising him/defending him. Just because you disagree with what they say, or with what someone says, does not mean they have some sort of an agenda.

        If you are ok with saying that, then you should be ok with someone like me saying that you are a JK apologist or fanboy, etc. I am sure you wouldn’t agree with that. Just like I don’t consider myself a JK “hater”. I just hate some of the things he does. There is a difference.

      • 1. You are correct that there is a riff and tension. I didn’t mean to come across that there isn’t one, IMO it’s been blown up “With Extreme Prejudice”(aka Apocalypse Now) & those guys are beyond commentary to the point of “creating a narrative”. Gary gave another example above.
        2. The difference between them and us is they’re the professionals, the prominent voices of soccer in the US. We’re passionate fans.
        I’ve gone beyond just disagreeing because I think they have gone beyond “commentary”. As I’ve told Beachbum before, being a Greek-American, Lalas was always my favorite guy for a long time… not any more. And I don’t call them geniuses, I think to myself they must hate to say something positive, and it usually shows in their expression.
        3. Yea it was long but daggumit I couldn’t say it any other way!

      • Of course, Twellman and Lalas want to generate controversy. Controversy gets page views and creates active comment sections and generates revenue for their employers. The last thing Lalas and Twellman want is a successful league and USMNT that everyone is content with, so they have to stir up the muck. Just doing their jobs. Unfortunately, the big loser in this scenario is Morris. Before he even starts his professional career, there is a large group of fans (call them “MLS Homers”) out there who think he is getting special treatment and taking a spot from an MLS player. It’s the same dynamic with Julian Green now faces. Every failure will be amplified. Every success belittled. His future prospects, even within the MLS, will be harmed because some teams will see him as a distraction not worth the effort or money and some of his future teammates will resent him because of the attention he’s gotten and the opportunities he’s had that they haven’t.

    • The reason he plays Morris is the guy is a stud and has potential to develop into a world class striker. He is fearless and lightening fast. He goes right after people and has a solid base.

  2. The game is on Univision Deportes at 11 pm eastern time. The roster looks like majority west coast guys for short midweek travel with only a few exceptions. It isn’t a FIFA date so US Soccer and the FMF have to have some goodwill from the clubs to put a team together.

  3. I think Dan Metzger is a waste of a spot. I don’t think he is quality enough to make this squad and actually contribute, but I guess we’ll find out what this squad is really made of once everybody eligible from Europe comes into the fold.

  4. Bummed not to see Wil Trapp’s name up there! I hope his concussion symptoms clear up before too long, he belongs on that Olympic team!!

  5. Definitely would like to see the likes of Morris, Rubin, and Green get their run-outs in the Olympics. Klinsmann did not lie; we were missed out huge not making the Olympics last cycle and it cost us development on a bunch of our younger players, guys who might have contributed if they had had some big International tournament experience under their belts. Truthfully when it comes time to consider overage players (I think you get 3 slots for the Olympics) I’d probably add Ibarra to this list as well…he’s over 23, but Klinsmann is obviously trying to jump-start him and this team would be a good venue for that. Keep hoping Zelalem’s citizenship clears too…this would be a really, really event for him to get into the mix as well.

    Another guy I wish was here, but probably won’t be because he’ll be with the senior team in the Gold Cup, is Juan Agudelo. The problem there is, when you call in a full-strength squad for the GC, it looks like Altidore/Zardes/Johanssen…and Agudelo, as your four forwards.

    • Talking about future youth players, I wonder if Marc Pelosi is still on the US radar. Before his broken leg, he was considered a top prospect by both the US and by Liverpool. Anyone have any ideas about him?

      • Marc Pelosi was in the January camp with an eye towards the Olympic Squad. He didn’t get any field time in January but then neither did Dean or any of the other U-23 players.

        To quozzel….Agudelo is not age eligible for the Olympic Qualification tournament. He could be added if/when we qualify as an overage players.

    • At some point JK needs to have a reality check on Zardes. Maybe someday he’ll be something but that day is not now. He rams around but does not really have the skill necessary to be fast tracked the way JK is trying to do. Of the 4 forwards listed above, I rate him 4th. Add more names and he’ll go lower

      • Couldn’t disagree more. Of the four forwards listed he is by far the best. He has looked out of sorts because he’s new to the National team. Zardes needs more caps. Of those four he is the best passer, has the best first touch, has the best speed, puts himself in the best position, and is the best dribbling. Not sure where your assessment is coming from. Zardes deserves to be in that list.

  6. No Julian Green? Disappointing…

    Kid needs to get on the field somewhere, no? Seems a waste to call him in for the senior national team against Mexico with no intention of getting him on the field and not call him in for the U-23’s.


Leave a Comment