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Morris double leads U.S. U-23s to victory over Canada in Olympic qualifying opener


KANSAS CITY, Kansas – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team is off to a ideal start to Olympic qualifying.

The U.S. defeated Canada, 3-1, in the opening Olympic qualifying match Thursday night at Sporting Park, as Jordan Morris scored a brace and Luis Gil added a penalty kick on the night to send the U.S. to the top of Group A.

Morris claimed the lead for the U.S. just 32 seconds in when he turned in a cross played into the box by Jerome Kiesewetter. Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau came off his line to claim it, but failed to make the save.

In the 73rd minute, Morris sealed the win with another finish, coming off of a Wil Trapp assist from midfield. Trapp’s pass was taken down by Morris, who battled past his defender and knocked his second of the night past Crepeau.

The Americans added a penalty kick goal in second half stoppage time. Luis Gil scored his spot kick to his right as Crepeau dove the other way. Kiesewetter, who recorded three shots on goal during the game, drew the penalty.

Michael Parasso pulled a goal back for Canada in the 81st minute. Christopher Manella’s corner kick was headed in at the near post by Petrasso.

The United States overpowered Canada in the first half, but could not add to Morris’s goal. The first half ended with the USA recording four shots on goal to Canada’s zero. However, in the second half, Canada established some more attacking prowess, and the game ended with seven shots on goal for Canada to the U.S.’s eight.

Also at Sporting Park on Thursday, Panama and Cuba played to a 1-1 draw. The U.S. now sits atop Group A with three points and plays Cuba Saturday at Sporting Park.


  1. We won, everything is rosy, we have the best prospects in CONCACAF, get it, all right. But, until the semis is won, this game means only a step in that direction. Congrats to the team.

  2. Morris looks like he’s spending too much time in the weight room. Not sure that’s necessarily a good thing — might weigh him down later.

  3. It was interesting to watch, because the style and type of players is a complete 180 from say world cup 2010. It was fun to watch how comfortable on the ball our midfielders were, but at the same time you have to think the lack of size and speed will catch up to them against the best teams. Zelalem was kind of a microcosm of this, he has a fantastic touch and ease of play, but got pushed off the ball far too easily and had no bite defensively whatsoever. Hyndman and especially Trapp were better defensively and showed much promise, but they are not ready for the senior level yet. Where we did have athletic advantages was at CB and striker. The CBs and Morris are probably ready for the senior team. Also Canada had some really good players and was better than I expected. Can’t remember the name but their left outside midfielder torched us over and over the entire game.

    • Interesting that you are talking about getting pushed off the ball. Tell me more. That was what I saw most in the World cup this summer… our kids just got manhandled by the Serb kids… so it is interesting to me that this has not been addressed.

      • The Serbs are giants at that age group and the Ukrainians and Colombians physically dominated us as well. Until we get our best physical specimens playing soccer we are going to have either skill, speed or size but not all three in one player. Those guys are playing baseball, hockey and american football at the skill positions. Morris is an elite physical specimen but lacks the gloss he would have if he went pro five years ago in europe. There is a reason Zelalem chose the US and it wasn’t out of his warm-heartedness. Hyndman is smart and classy but he is not an elite athlete. Kiesewetter is another guy who made a business decision. My point is we are dealing with a lower talent level than the elite programs but hopefully not for long. I like the athleticism and skill AND speed balance I am seeing in the U-18 groups and younger right now. I just hope Hyndman, CCV, Miazga, Steffan, Zelalem and Morris pan out. The rest are projects.

      • Tb

        “so it is interesting to me that this has not been addressed.”

        The Serbs were men vs boys.

        How would you address that? A well thought out steriod program?

        That’s up to the clubs not the USSF.

  4. Am i the only one having problems with lag on the website? It scrolls at a turtle’s pace and often jumps from place to place.

  5. Our back four won this game for us they let nothing get behind them except for a few mistakes. Canada’s back line was slow and lost the game for them. We started first ten minutes trying to keep possession but after that it was failed long ball after failed longball. Hyndman and Zelalem need to be deeper to keep early possession and link up the forwards more efficiently. Trapp’s lack of speed is going to hurt against a more proficient attacking team and the back four need to be able to quickly move the ball across the back line to keep the high press off of them. I was very disappointed with our midfield performance but our defenders and front speed and finishing were excellent.

  6. Well, another strange and largely consistent performance from another US national team. Consistent in that they start with plenty of enthusiasm, eventually look a bit listless and play more as 11 individuals than a team playing to their strengths, and give the ball away in the middle of the park as often as possible without it costing us the result. Luckily Canada played without any urgency whatsoever, even at 2-0 down after 75 minutes they were still content to walk about and play the ball backwards. The Canadian performance was overall detestable – they have absolutely no game plan and, again, were quite content to play in that manner. Their best opportunities spawned from US turnovers, which is becoming quite the trend. I guess that’s what happens when a program decides top to bottom, ” ok, we’d like to play out of the back from now on in an attempt to facilitate that possession oriented style we’re always harping about” – only issue is that our players clearly are not comfortable doing that quite yet, whether it be due to lack of skill or lack of understanding from the rest of the outfield players who should be providing options.

    This game didn’t tell us anything new, but rather served to confirm some things we’re very excited about as a fan base:

    CCV was virtually mistake free and nearly played another perfect game. He has a knack of getting ballside and denying passing/shooting lanes, along with his overall tremendous skill set both on and off the ball. Comfortable playing out of the back. Undoubtedly has potential to be the best US centerback to ever wear the kit. Miazga also continues to prove that he is the full package, playing out of the back with extreme confidence for the most part and is also defensively solid, very solid. Morris is also on a different level entirely and has proved as much almost every single time he’s taken the field for a televised game. Man against boys. Simple as that. Kieswetter was very good as well, but the things he excelled at against Canada are the same things we’ve seen better oppostion nullify , see the toulon tournament. All in all, we fielded an exceptionally talented youth US team and I’m excited to see them grow together over the years.

    • So you first say that our players are not able good enough to implement passing out of the back possession but then go on to praise both center backs for being comfortable playing out of the back. Right. Also this was the first game for the starting XI, obviously not going to be flawless out of the gates, not to mention Canada had some good players that will give other teams trouble as well.

      • didn’t get to watch the game, but i will say that mitch’s statement wasn’t self-contradictory, at least based on how i read it.

        yes, we have two centerbacks who are comfortable passers. but it takes a whole team effort to make that a viable system: the fullbacks need to provide the right amount of space and cover, and the mids need to decide who is making runs and who is showing for the ball.

    • This was a team that did not have a lot of time together and it showed.

      Herzog had said going in that that was a concern.

      It’s good they won and it is good it was close.

      Maybe that will keep them from the same overconfidence that plagued the last Olympic qualifying team.

      Perhaps they will get progressively better as qualifying rolls on.


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