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Aaronson, De La Fuente and Reynolds among 48 players named to USMNT Olympic qualifying preliminary roster

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The 48-player list that makes up the preliminary roster for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team’s Olympic qualifying squad features several names that would be welcome sights if they are actually allowed to take part in Olympic qualifying.

Brenden Aaronson, Konrad De La Fuente, Bryan Reynolds and Sebastian Soto are just some of the higher-profile European-based contingent of players included in Jason Kreis’ preliminary 48-player list for the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament in March.

Kreis will have to cut down to 20 players for the tournament, which takes place in Mexico starting on March 18. The final roster isn’t limited to players from the preliminary list.

Clubs are not obligated to release players for Olympic qualifying, which is what makes the inclusion of so many European-based players somewhat surprising. MLS players are expected to be released for the qualifying tournament, which the MLS season not set to begin until April.

The inclusion of players such as Aaronson, De La Fuente and Reynolds suggests there is a possibility they could be allowed to take part in the Olympic qualifying tournament. Not all of the top age-eligible candidates were included on the preliminary list, with standouts such as Chris Richards, Mark McKenzie and Erik-Palmer Brown not on the list (USMNT stars such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Gio Reyna are age-eligible but were never expected to take part in Olympic qualifying, and will instead take part in the USMNT March friendlies).

U.S. Soccer has been working with foreign clubs to sort out availability, and some of that work could help pave the way for some top European-based prospects being part of Kreis’ setup. Here are some of the foreign-based players who could take part:

Konrad De La Fuente – hasn’t been featuring for Barcelona’s first team, and could therefore be made available.

Sebastian Soto – His recent USMNT call-ups helped him secure a UK work permit, which could lead Norwich City to return the favor by letting Soto play in Olympic qualifying.

Bryan Reynolds – Has yet to debut for AS Roma since his loan move, and could be allowed to take part in Olympic qualifying if he isn’t in Roma’s first-team plans yet.

Johnny Cardoso – The recent USMNT newcomer could see his club team (Brazilian powerhouse Internacional) season conclude in time for him to take part in Olympic qualifying.

Ulyssses Llanez Jr. – Llanez’s loan to Heerenveen has not gone well, and U.S. Soccer’s relationship with Wolfsburg — Llanez’s parent club — could pave the way for him to play in Olympic qualifying.


Another of the more interesting developments is the inclusion on the list of LA Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez, who was also included on Mexico’s preliminary roster. Alvarez has represented Mexico in international competitions, and thus would require a one-time FIFA Change of Association in order to play for the United States. Under new FIFA regulations covering dual nationals, Alvarez would not be cap-tied to Mexico if he took part in Olympic qualifying.

Here is the full 48-player USMNT Olympic qualifying preliminary roster:

USMNT OLYMPIC QUALIFYING PRELIMINARY ROSTER

goalkeepers

Drake Callender, Matt Freese, Jonathan Klinsmann, JT Marcinkowski, David Ochoa, Brady Scott

DEFENDERS

Julian Araujo, George Bello, Kyle Duncan, Marco Farfan, Justen Glad, Chris Gloster, Aaron Herrera, Aboubacar Keita, Henry Kessler, Mauricio Pineda, Donavan Pines, Bryan Reynolds, Miles Robinson, James Sands, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines

midfielders

Brenden Aaronson, Efrain Alvarez, Frankie Amaya, Cole Bassett, Gianluca Busio, Caden Clark, Johnny Cardoso, Hassani Dotson, Brooks Lennon,  Djordje Mihailovic, Keaton Parks, Andres Perea, Brandon Servania, Tanner Tessmann, Eryk Williamson, Jackson Yueill

forwards

Cade Cowell, Konrad De La Fuente, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Jonathan Lewis, Ulysses Llanez Jr., Benji Michel, Ricardo Pepi, Sebastian Saucedo, Sebastian Soto

Comments

  1. With a 20 man roster I think you have to look at guys that can play multiple positions and/or both sides. Dotson CM/RB, Lennon RB/RW, Servania DM/CM/AM, James Sands DM/CB, Herrera can play RB/LB, and Ferreira can play as a CF or Am.

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  2. 1)-This is a stacked team!, Tim Weah, Emmanuel Sabbi, Christian Cappis, Joel Sonora, Daryl Dike and even a player like Johan Gómez (Porto B) aren’t on the pre-lim roster. That means there’s still an abundance of talent to be utilized if we qualify. 2)-Olympic squad has always been majority college players & MLS players for qualifying. This is the 1st, I mean, the 1st time!; there isn’t a current college player in the 48!!! 3)- Messi ‘04, and Neymar ‘12 played in the Olympics. Am I wrong but both players were @ Barca, so Barcelona OK’d it, right?! This notion Euro clubs don’t release players for the Olympics isn’t true. Each club is different when it comes to their players. 4)- Not a fan Jason Kreis, but if he picks the 20 that can beat Mexico, I’ll be happy.

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    • Gabe’s convo thread is pretty long but I feel like I gotta drop a few more thoughts…
      Imperative Voice- The U20s were canceled this year so Cade Cowell, Caden Clark, Johnny, David Ochoa, Ricardo Pepi and Busio were added. Owen Otawasie (Wolverhampton), Joe Scally, Aidan Morris, Cameron Harper, Matko M, Leo Sepulvida, Tomkinson (Canaries) could’ve easily been added, GB & staff are incorporating the U20s. (Misspellings all over the place!) Gloster, Servania, Reynolds and Llanez (family reasons) are in Europe and aren’t playing. Soto (U23s Canaries), Saucedo (LG MX), & Johnny (Brasilero A) are rotational squad players. MLS hasn’t even started preseason so this club form Vs call ups, stuff you’re on doesn’t apply for the Olympic squad. They flew Gloster across the Atlantic just for Camp Cupcake and he didn’t play against T&T. This is different not backwards. I guarantee you when Ives puts up an article about the 20 chosen for Olympic qualifying, imperative voice will still complain.

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      • I’m not sure you follow my argument. My point, which is a little complicated, is essentially you might get on U23 some of the interesting players who barely got a sniff of a senior cap — because the career progression status that bothers GB in terms of his misguided senior selection criteria ironically tends to make them available as U23s. Age group or II team players, or out of favor on a first team. My argument is basically we ironically get some people who should be with the senior team, precisely because their slow career progress makes them available as U23s. I get cranky because I think our best players of any age should be with the senior team. I’d rather have them in the senior friendly. eg if Soto can score a brace in senior team why is he with the Olympics squad.
        But with the way we run our pipeline it makes them ideal age group players. Which I think is backwards is my point.

      • I seriously doubt a team taking very seriously trying to qualify included U20s because the lower age group tournament was canceled. They got picked because they are perceived as prepared to handle the level and help us win an age group up. Re MLS it’s a fair point we have a late start but the season starts the next week and I am not sure European teams would let you have their first team players right up to opening day for an age group tournament.

      • I am picky about my rosters because I think scouting and selection is the most important factor in deciding how things go. More talent wins often enough. That aside, I don’t get the Olympics obsession overriding the worse failure to make Russia. In terms of your “roster beef” comment, my main focus is the senior team, and the purpose of age group ball is to develop senior team players. My real beef here is if several good players end up in U23 and then I get to watch Roldan Zardes Jozy etc. called for Northern Ireland. There is a lot of focus on “availability” as a hurdle for the U23s but some of our problem is actually “graduation,” that Pulisic McKennie etc. type players are typically “graduated” beyond playing U23 or even sometimes U20 as teenage senior team players. I would rather have some of the people who shined in recent friendlies with the senior team in March. If that makes it harder for U23 to qualify, that’s priorities. I’d rather have the best young senior team and fewer veteran trash players.

      • IV- David Ochoa, Araujo, & Johnny are the only ones, of the U20s, I think that are capable of making the final 20. Look at the midfield, what does your scouting say of Busio & Clark’s chances? Does Cade Cowell or Pepi (forwards) have a chance of making the Olympic squad? You can seriously doubt the U20s would not have been called in but that’s exactly what happened. In the article, Ives pointed out the age eligible U23s that are N the senior team. The guy you discovered, Gio Reyna, is also included. No disagreement about Soto. If I was coach, he would be starting with or without a club. I think Lleget starting as a false 9, while he was available was a lil’ slim shady from GB if you ask me. I can agree! Club form isn’t that important as playing for country either, but you and I ain’t GB. As you & I have already discussed, if the US isn’t consistently qualifying for the Olympics, the old guard stays on guard. The O squads, who failed ‘12 & ‘16 are GBs “guys!” (Steffen, Arriola, Morris, & K. Acosta etc). Since you’re are informed, you would know we haven’t won any regional youth tourneys, as a country until Ramos’ U20 won back 2 back CONCACAF titles. With your scouting senses, tell me how many Champions are in this 48? I understand some of your points, I just think you’re oblivious to the depth of talent in the Olympic player pool. Full stop. Repeat. THERE ARE NO CURRENT COLLEGE PLAYERS IN THE PRE-LIM ROSTER! This should not be hard for anyone. You can prove me wrong, by looking up the past squads.

    • IV the issue with your thoughts though is that because of the pandemic Berhalter essentially ran all three camps as combined U23/NT camps. This has been done by other managers during Olympic years as well usually during Jan camp. Both Klinsmann and Bradley did this. If Altidore, Zardes, Sargent, and Morris had been available Soto wouldn’t have been called but with MLS playoffs US choose to not call them and Sargent was not allowed to by local govt. restrictions. You could say the same of Tessman if McKennie, Adams, Reyna, Musah are available he isn’t playing against TnT. Camps don’t happen inside a vacuum there are more moving parts than my top 23 go to the NT, the next 23 between 21-23 go to Olympics, and so on. It just doesn’t happen that way. Michael Bradley played in the Olympics after having double digit caps, as did Feilhaber also on that team, Mo Edu also had some caps, so did Altidore, and Kljestan. Even Freddy Adu had a couple full NT caps before 2008 Olympics. This isn’t a Berhalter thing it is how it is done.

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      • Pulisic hasn’t been sent to age group ball since U17. McKennie’s last involvement with age groups was something like 2016. There are people we could play at age group but do not. “Graduates.” What do we call youth development here? “ODP.” The whole idea is funnel the best players upwards. The whole idea is age group ball prepares one to play senior ball. I think it’s a tad insecure and myopic to treat U23 as an end in itself. Re Soto, Chile and Mexico want him for their senior team. Have you considered that GB’s estimate of him, Richards, Weah, Reyna, Efrain, is perhaps just off? To me wanting Dest before Richards is a sign one is a bit daft. It is only possibly justifiable during a period of about a year where one player was in the far more difficult and prestigious Bayern system while the other could start at Ajax. By next year Richards will be starting in Germany and Dest will be out of favor in Barca. I am just trying to save you the wasted year and point you to the correct choice to begin with. Quit reading resumes and actually watch them play. And my point here is all things being equal, if I have age group eligible players who shine in a senior game, they should be with the senior team and screw U23. The whole idea is the performing talent funnels upwards. You have it backwards wanting to make a stronger U23 team. You maximize the senior team and the U23s are what is left…..

    • According to Wikipedia the only college players to make the rosters for Concacaf Olympic Qualifying since 2000 are Conor Casey in 2000 and Jordan Morris in 2000. I didn’t how many pro matches some of those guys played but they were under contract. Even Morris was a pro by the time they played the playoff in 2016 vs Colombia.

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      • U20 “had been” the last age group where college players were sneaking into the rosters. I think that is pretty much ending as so many players now sign at 18. By the time you hit U23, once MLS started, you could corral a professionalized unit from draft picks alone. That being said, knowing full well that Jordan Morris exists, the arrogant absolutism of the argument is clearly unjustified. The reality is if there was a special case like Klinsi found, GB would miss it with his head buried in first team statistical spreadsheets. To find a special case would require an actual eye for talent and going out physically watching people.

      • JR- Provisional roster specifically!! Steffen was only a few months removed from Maryland b4 going to Freiburg. (Similar to the time when Adams transfered to Leipzig. 3 months in, SOME fans were saying he was a Bundesliga vet). Morris was playing for Stanford while affiliated with the Sounders. Remember?! Plenty of people were surprised when JK called him in for a friendly, while he was still in college. …and Dillon Serna was 2 years removed, even though I did say current. IV was correct, when talking about U20s, being the last college holdovers.

    • I couldn’t even find provisional rosters for prior years, probably weren’t even reported on. I did find some U23 rosters from friendlies leading up to qualifying and there weren’t any college guys listed except Morris. As I mentioned in my comment it doesn’t necessarily mean the guys were regular players at the pro level just that they were signed at the time.

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    • IV: Bayern was trying to buy Dest to start this season so your idea that Berhalter and “club form snobs” are the only ones who would bring in Dest while waiting for Richards is an absolute fallacy. Other big European clubs were also in on Dest yet in January when Bayern was looking to loan Chris, did any major suitor come calling no. Largely because they are completely different players, Richards as CB needed to mature physically whereas Dest as a FB was already at size. As a FB Dest is awarded leeway because of his offensive skill. I understand as a former defender you disagree with that, but that’s the modern game. Dest has largely had a successful year at Barca. He’s held his own for the most part, did he get owned by Mbappe, of course he did largely everyone does and Sergino was coming off injury as well.

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    • I can see a scenario where maybe Aaronson is involved. Austria has an unusual season where the regular season ends 3/21 and the championship round robin follows for the top half of the teams. 3/22 through 3/31 is an international window. Despite all the hype Aaronson’s usage pattern is starts one game subs the next. RBS is up 6 pts in the standings with a month to go and if that margin holds or grows perhaps Marsch does us a favor and makes him available for some part of the 3/18-3/30 tournament. Lets him miss the last regular season game and leave 3/14 or so. The semis on 3/28 decide who qualifies and the final is a formality. So he heads back before the final, assuming. He then plays in the Austrian playoffs which start when he returns. The combination of friendly American coach and Austria’s season structure perhaps create an unusual window of availability, particularly if March indulges the last regular season game off.

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    • St. Polten will likely be in the Austrian Bundesliga Relegation Round so Booth would likely not be released. Balogun would have to file a switch and be tied to the US which seems unlikely at this point in his career.

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  3. Any thoughts as to why some European-based players who are within the age requirement like Chris Durkin and Luca de la Torre, both who are playing regularly in the first team, have not been included? My first thought is that maybe there’s a sense that the clubs wouldn’t release them, but if that’s not the case it would be really confusing to me, especially when you take a player like Llanez who hasn’t gotten any loan minutes and has left the team already. I’d be interested to hear if these players are rated in the US program. Given their young ages and the inclusion of some other players, particularly some in MLS who aren’t quite starters every week or players like Llanez who have effectively been down for an entire season, unless there is some obvious reason not to list them, I’d be interested to hear the reasons.

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    • the US is backwards right now. we seem to slow-walk the senior team involvement of prized players who are on slower career trajectories at better clubs while we promote the NT careers of players who are lesser talents but also regular players at lesser clubs. however that is reversed at U23 where the very fact you aren’t first team may aid your availability for quali. i think you are neglecting our strong midfield at that age but more definitively i think for our purposes here, their being non MLS first teamers excludes them from availability for age group ball. the club regulars we prelim-listed were generally MLS which is a special relationship.

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      • Imperative voice, I have heard arguments like yours before. I don’t think it is at all true. There are numerous videos on GB’s selection process and often specific example of why certain players do or don’t get called in. Often it’s a players club situation which dictates when they will or won’t get their first callup. No need to fly a kid across the Atlantic for a 2 week camp and a 2 min cameo on the field. I remember a guy ranting because his pet player wasn’t called etc. It turned out that the players himself had asked not to come to that camp. The truth is that we are fans not coaches and we don’t have all the information.

      • TK, my theory certain players were left off for lack of availability is likely spotless. A first team player in any of the high divisions — outside of the MLS special relationship — will likely be told no for the Oly quali during the season. It’s not even certain they get released for the full Olympics, but this much is crystal clear. They don’t have to release and outside MLS they likely won’t.

        I doubt there are many spots on my other point, either, which is basically that we should be primarily promoting the elite U20 performers as opposed to the hype players or ones who got their career going fastest. What I think you will see over time is the superior players like Richards and Reyna moving to the forefront on performance. But in the interim I get to listen to people yack about Dest and Robinson and the like “because club form.” Then they have lousy club games and people do a rethink. The only difference is I told you a year ago you had it backwards, and you want to learn the hard way. I think over the next year the players who took harder paths will begin to find their career way, and “club form” theories will cancel out. I think it’s insane people think Richards is worse than Dest. I think it will take a year to learn that lesson fully and my complaint is it’s a waste of time contrary to what anyone who watched U20 would have said. The best U20 didn’t suddenly become lesser because he has a harder path to club game minutes at the best team in Europe. He is now playing at Hoffenheim on loan. Y’all will figure it out, it’s just going to take a while.

    • There are 48 players invited and 20 make the team(although I think 18 actually make it) . Club team politics aside those that show up will compete. Based on merit and what fits for the teams best chemistry will be chosen
      Should really be a great chance for a lot of individuals to show case their talents.

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    • Llanez left the team for family emergency, his father was ill and his grandfather passed away per his father’s Twitter.
      ————————
      I think your take is accurate that guys not on the list clubs have said no.

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      • I don’t think the players said no, I think the teams said no. Think Sargent vs Wales. If you get a “player no” I would expect it to be a dual national instead. Efrain, Soto, someone like that. Players who might want their options remaining open and feel like U23 is not an exciting incentive to go with us over other suitors. Individual players might say no for personal reasons but I’d think that would be more of a senior team response a la Nagbe. Most kids either in MLS or some age group situation abroad would be tickled to be in the Olympics and I can’t see a bunch of them saying No thanks. If there was ever an ego issue — like this is beneath them — you’d also probably be talking about a Euro starter whose team will tell you No first.

    • Well, that’s just it, players like Durkin and de La Torre are first team players so there ability to be released is next to none, and I’m sure Kreis and Co. have talked to their clubs about potential call ups for OQ. You have to give a little, to get a little, and what I mean by that is you play nice and don’t press the issue for OQ with those players club teams in the hope that you can get them released for the actual Olympics. If we can’t qualify for the Olympics with the players listed on this preliminary roster, then we’re in real trouble, but I’ll take a leap of faith and say that group gets it done, then we can have a conversation about the roster for the actual Olympics which I believe will feature more of the euro players like Durkin and DLT being involved from lesser teams in european leagues! Players like Cardoso, Llanez and Soto are on this list because they have been released before to participate in Olympic Qualifying preparation camps, meaning the US staff has built a good report with their clubs and getting them released is more than a possibility

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