European-based prospects Sebastian Soto and Ulysses Llanez, MLS products Jesus Ferreira, Jackson Yueill and Julian Araujo, and Brazilian-based midfielder Johnny Cardoso headline the 20-player squad chosen for the U.S. Men’s Olympic qualifying squad for the upcoming Concacaf qualifying tournament.
U.S. Under-23 head coach Jason Kreis whittled down his final 20 selections from a group of 28 that took part in a final training camp in Mexico ahead of the Concacaf qualifying tournament, which begins on March 18 with the Americans facing Costa Rica.
“We know that qualifying will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that we’re ready for,” Kreis said. “We’ll need all 20 players on this roster to contribute for us to achieve our ultimate goal of qualifying for the Olympics.
“We’ve had a productive training camp in Guadalajara and our players are hungry for the opportunity to compete. After starting this journey nearly two years ago, we’re excited to get started with the tournament.”
The final roster consist of 16 MLS players along with Soto, Llanez, Cardoso and UNAM Pumas midfielder Sebastian Saucedo.
Among the players who didn’t make the final cut were FC Cincinnati midfielder Frankie Amaya, FC Dallas striker Ricardo Pepi and Colorado Rapids playmaker Cole Bassett.
Also missing from the team is Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson, who had been expected to be a major part of the U.S. Olympic qualifying squad, but who was kept out after Atlanta United rejected the call-ups of Robinson, George Bello and Brooks Lennon.
The final roster features 11 players who have been capped at the senior USMNT level and 10 who have been part of a final roster at a FIFA Youth World Cup.
The Americans face Costa Rica on March 18 before taking on the Dominican Republic on March 21. The U.S. U-23s close out group play on March 24 against Mexico. The top two teams in both tournament groups will then take part in the decisive semifinal matchups, with the winners of those semifinals securing their spots in the Tokyo Olympics.
Here is the final USMNT U-23 national team roster for Olympic qualifying:
USMNT Concacaf Olympic qualifying roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes, Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompoc, Ca.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; Las Cruces, N.M.), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution; New York, N.Y.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire FC; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; Denville, N.J.), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Ulysses Llanez (Heerenveen/NED; Lynwood, Calif.), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal/CAN; Jacksonville, Fla.), Andrés Perea (Orlando City SC; Medellin, Colombia), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas/MEX; Park City, Utah), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (4): Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.), Sebastian Soto (Norwich City; San Diego, Calif.)