U-23 analysis

Robinson, Ledezma, Dotson, Mendez, Glad highlight strong U-23 roster

Jason Kreis has named his roster for the upcoming October U-23 camp in Miami. ASN's Brian Sciaretta chimes in and gives his thougths about what he thinks is a very strong roster. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
October 04, 2019
3:00 PM
UNITED STATES U-23 head coach Jason Kreis today unveiled his 25 player roster for the upcoming camp in Miami, Florida from October 6-15 that will conclude with a friendly against El Salvador

The roster is strong and consists of 14 players who have represented the United States in a youth World Cup. It marks the fourth camp of this cycle. There are planned camps in November and January as well as a possible camp before Olympic qualifying in March in Mexico.

Here is the roster along with some thoughts.

U-23 USMNT Roster

GOALKEEPERS (4):Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.), Brady Scott (Koln/GER; Petaluma, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (8):Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; New York, N.Y.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Montclair, N.J.), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; LasCruces, N.M.), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.),Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; Birmingham, Ala.), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC; Arlington, Mass.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)

MIDFIELDERS (7):Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; Katy, Texas), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; Porto Alegre, Brazil), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Chris Durkin (Sint-Truiden/BEL; Glen Allen, Va.), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Phoenix, Ariz.), Alex Mendez (Ajax/NED; Los Angeles, Calif.), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; Lemont, Ill.)

FORWARDS (6):Omir Fernandez (New York Red Bulls; Bronx, N.Y.),Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; Paradise Valley, Ariz.),Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.),Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Park City, Utah), Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER; Carlsbad, Calif.), Mason Toye (Minnesota United FC; South Orange, N.J.)

A Strong Roster

Of course, there were notable omissions. There are no players from FC Dallas here (Brandon Servania has a concussion, Paxton Pomykal is not at 100%, Reggie Cannon is with the full national team, Jesus Ferreira has eligibility issues). Jeremy Ebobisse was also not released. English-Americans such as Cameron Carter-Vickers and Antonee Robinson are also not here although both play for clubs that are struggling mightily in the Championship and release issues might be relevant. 

But overall, this roster does a great job capturing the U-23 eligible players both in the United States, Europe, and even South America.

In-Form players

A lot of players enter into this camp playing very well. Hassani Dotson is also a player who is coming off a strong camp and is concluding a season where he might win the 2019 Rookie of the Year for his work with Minnesota. He might be able to take an expanded role within this team.

Kyle Duncan is also having a very good couple of weeks for the New York Red Bulls. While the right back position on the U-23 team is likely going to go to Reggie Cannon (assuming he drops down from the full team at some point), Duncan looks like the obvious backup.

Miles Robinson also rejoins the team after spending the last international window with the full national team. He will likely be asked to take on a leadership role with that experience combined with a strong season for Atlanta.

Big Debuts

This camp will also mark the debut of several top prospects.

Richard Ledezma will make his U-23 camp after a nice start with Jong PSV and he will join his teammate Chris Gloster and Jong Ajax midfielder Alex Mendez. He has been singled out as one of the best players on Jong PSV and should take on a lot of the playmaking roles without Paxton Pomykal and Brendan Aaronson in this camp.

Christian Cappis is also going to make his U-23 debut. The Hobro central midfielder did not make the recent U-20 World Cup team but has enjoyed club success since that tournament.

One of the most interesting debutants is Johnny Cardoso. Born in New Jersey, Cardoso was raised in Brazil since he was only a few months old. The midfielder made his first team debut with Internacional in Brazil’s Serie A on September 15. As a 2001, he is one of two players (along with David Ochoa) also eligible for the 2021 U.S. U-20 team.

This will also be the first appearance of Chris Richards with the U.S. U-23 team. The talented central defender at Bayern Munich was one of the best performers of any team at the 2019 U-20 World Cup.

Somewhat under the radar, Colorado left back Sam Vines will make his debut despite being cut from the U-20 World Cup roster. The homegrown fullback has shown steady improvement this season and should provide depth in a position of need. 

The emerging core

This roster also shows that Kreis is continuing to build on a core group of players. It seems clear that he is going depend on players like Justen Glad, Hassani Dotson, Mason Toye, Jonathan Lewis, Sebastian Soto, Alex Mendez, JT Marcinkowski, Matt Freese, and Chris Gloster.

There are also safe bets that Reggie Cannon, Jackson Yueil, Paxton Pomykal, and Brendan Aaronson will drop down to the U-23s for qualifying.

Compared with previous U-23 cycles, this core is overall more established than previous editions. Many players are not only playing for their clubs, but are also impact players and difference makers.

This core and many of the players on this team will likely eventually be part of the full national team. While much has been made over the “lost years” of U.S. player development (players born from 1990-1994), this group is progressing at a nice rate. It is not there yet and it’s never a sure thing, but there is plenty to like about the progress of these players when compared with U-23 teams of the previous two cycles.

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