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Soto, Llanez, Cardoso headline 31-player USMNT Olympic Qualifying camp squad


Norwich City striker Sebastian Soto and Heerenveen winger Ulysses Llanez are two of a handful of foreign-based players called in to take part in the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team’s training camp ahead of Concacaf Olympic qualifying.

USMNT U-23 head coach Jason Kreis has called in a 31-player group that is taking part in camp in Mexico ahead of the Olympic qualifying tournament, and while the group is predominantly made up of MLS players, there are a handful of players from outside MLS who are in camp as Kreis prepares to select a 20-player squad for the qualifying tournament.

Internacional midfielder Johnny Cardoso and UNAM Pumas midfielder Sebastian Saucedo join Soto and Llanez as the foreign-based players taking part in the camp.

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill and FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira headline the MLS contingent, a group that that will not include Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, George Bello and Brooks Lennon, who were called in, but not released for the camp by Atlanta United.

The group features a total of 15 players who have earned at least one senior national team cap, including Andres Perea and Tanner Tessmann, who recently made their USMNT debuts.

Among the players not included in the squad are Efrain Alvarez, who was expected to be part of Mexico’s Olympic qualifying squad, and Portland Timbers striker Jeremy Ebobisse, who was left out in favor of striker options such as Soto, Ricardo Pepi and Jesus Ferreira.

The Americans kick off their Olympic qualifying campaign on March 18 against Costa Rica.

Here is the full 31-player squad for Olympic qualifying camp:

USMNT U-23 Olympic qualifying training camp Roster

GOALKEEPERS: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), Jonathan Klinsmann (LA Galaxy; Munich, Germany), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes, Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.)

DEFENDERS : Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompoc, Calif.), Marco Farfan (LAFC; Gresham, Ore.), 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.), Austin Trusty (Colorado Rapids; Media, Pa.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)

MIDFIELDERS : Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati; Santa Ana, Calif.), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; Littleton, Colo.), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; Denville, N.J.), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Andrés Perea (Orlando City SC; Medellin, Colombia), Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas; Hoover, Ala.), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; Alexandria, Va.), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; Bloomington, Minn.)

FORWARDS : Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.), Ulysses Llanez (Heerenveen/NED; Lynwood, Calif.), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal/CAN; Jacksonville, Fla.), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas/MEX; Park City, Utah), Sebastian Soto (Norwich City/ENG; San Diego, Calif.)


  1. Couldn’t help it. ‘I wanted to see what it looks like on paper.’ Olympic squad- the 20! GKs-(3)- JT, JK, Ochoa, CBs-(3)-Glad, Trusty, Pineda, Fullbacks-(3)-Araujo, Vines, Herrera, Midfielders-(5)- 6s- Yueill, Perea, L&R Midfield 8s- Cardoso, Williamson, Tessmann, Wingers-(3)-Llanez, Saucedo, Lewis, False 9-(1)-Ferreira, CF/9-(2)-Soto, Pepi
    Starting XI- 4-3-3 CF/9- Soto, LW-Saucedo, RW-Llanez, LM-Williamson, RM-Cardoso, 6-Yueill, LB- Vines, CB- Trusty, Glad, RB-Araujo, GK- JT There’s a couple of omissions (Dotson & Mihailovic) were difficult cut decisions for me. Both can play multiple positions.

    • Three goalies seems excessive in a 16 team tournament? An added field player could be more beneficial. Especially a mid that can play both 6 and 8 or multi tooled forward who can play wide.

      • I do agree. Twomile! If it was 2 GK – JT & Ochoa!! Did you see the talent that was on the roster last March that’s not on it this year? EPB, Pomykal, Ledezma (injured). Cannon, McKenzie, Aaronson are starters for their European clubs. Ebobisse (Surplus cut). …And Gloster, who’s PSV job is like “What’s going on ?!” *Hopefully, he’s included in friendlys. Need more depth @ LB.

  2. I don’t understand why they aren’t bringing in Ebobisse unless they consider him a lock for the team and are looking at others for backup roles.

    • It’s either down to CCL or injuries….Atlanta United didn’t release either of Bello, Lennon or Miles Robinson even though they were listed on the above roster! So, if I had to put money on it, that’d be it more so than injuries tbh

    • Portland is in the CL the first week of April so it might be they are letting him stay longer with his club or that they aren’t releasing him at all.

      • The article mentioned the players Atlanta withheld, so if that was the case, why didn’t it say Ebobisse was being held back by his club? In the article about the Timbers currently posted here, Ebobisse is quoted and there is nothing to indicate he is injured and their CL games don’t seem to preclude the March camp.

    • I don’t know 4 sho, but trying to put myself in Kreis shoes. You can only have 20 players, 3 GK, 3 CB, 3 FBs, 5 midfielders, so that means 2 CF/9 and 4 wingers. Versatility is more of priority with the roster size. I think, it comes down to the system. Soto & Pepi fit better as the CF/9 in a 4-3-3. As we’ve seen, Ferreira can play a false 9, or in the midfield. Ebobisse can play on the wing also, but it seems attacking 10s play out wide (Mihailovic, and omissions like Reyna & Ledezma) in this formation. Is Ebobisse a better playmaker than Saucedo, Llanez, Lewis, or Mihailovic on the wings? Mihailovic & Saucedo can play in the midfield too. I’m glad Benji is in camp, but he won’t make the squad. The side is 2 deep at wings & forwards. I like Jeremy’s game, but I think, he would have a better chance if it was a 23 man squad.

      • Quote on MLS website:
        “Coach’s selection,” said Kreis. “We know that they’re going to end up with a roster with probably two No. 9s. He’s a player that I felt in the past was a player that could play winger and also play 9, but through working with him in the January camp I walked away from that camp feeling very strongly that he is a No. 9. For us at the moment we have two No. 9s that we prefer. So that’s the decision.”

    • Upon further review why would Portland release Williamson but not Ebobisse. Maybe we’ll get an answer in the coming days. He didn’t make the final roster for the Jan camp either.

    • Interesting quote Reg Chapman since Pepi, Soto, and Ferreira are all #9s. Ferreira plays elsewhere for FCD of course but only as a 9 for NT.


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