CHICAGO (Sept. 30, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team is set to play Canada at Sporting Park in Kansas City on Thursday, Oct. 1, in its opening game of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. The match will kick off at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on NBC Universo. Fans can also follow the action on twitter @ussoccer.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A of the tournament and opens with a pair of games at Sporting Park in Kansas City against Canada followed by Cuba on Oct. 3 (4 p.m. CT, Telemundo). The U-23’s will conclude group play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Oct. 6 against Panama (7:30 p.m. MT, NBC Universo).
The USA has met Canada in each of the last four Olympic Qualifying tournaments and in six Olympic Qualifying tournaments throughout the history of both programs, compiling an overall 4-3-1 record. Since the Men's Olympic soccer tournament became an age-restricted event in 1992, the U.S. has a 3-2-1 record against Canada. Although the U.S. got the better of Canada in Qualifying for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, the most recent meeting in 2012 fell in favor of the Canadians. Overall, the U.S. has a 17-5-5 record in Olympic Qualifying since 1992.
Meanwhile, defending Olympic gold medalist Mexico is joined in Group B by Costa Rica, Haiti and Honduras. The top two teams from each group will advance to the tournament semifinals. Winners of the semifinal games will advance to the finals and are awarded berths in the 2016 Olympics. The winner of the third-place game will qualify for a one-game playoff against Colombia in the final opportunity to claim an Olympic bid.
The U.S. enters the tournament having defeated Qatar in its final tune-up. In June, the team finished third at the renowned Toulon Tournament in France, defeating the Netherlands and England. The team is 6-4-0 in 2015, including a 3-0 win against Mexico in April.
The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when it posted a 1-1-1 record but did not advance past the group stage. The USA’s best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Games in Sydney, when the team defeated Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event.
U.S. Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Charlie Horton (Leeds; Cleveland Ohio), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).
DEFENDERS (5): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wis.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).
FORWARDS (4): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Maki Tall (FC Sion; Washington, D.C.).
- Six players from this roster were a part of the U.S. U-20 World Cup squad that advanced to the quarterfinals in New Zealand: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Emerson Hyndman, Matt Miazga, Zack Steffen, Maki Tall and Gedion Zelalem.
- Eight players from this roster were a part of the U-23 team that finished in third place in the renowned Toulon Tournament in France in June, matching the best finish for the USA at the event.
- Eleven players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Fatai Alashe (Vardar), Luis Gil (Pateadores), Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado), Hyndman (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy), Eric Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids Academy), Steffen (Continental FC DELCO) and Wil Trapp (Crew SC Academy).
- Five players from this roster have scored goals for the U-23’s in 2015: Morris, Will Packwood, Gboly Ariyibi, Alonso Hernandez and Jerome Kiesewetter
- Two from the roster scored goals with the U-20’s in 2015: Hyndman and Tall
- At just 17-years-old, Carter-Vickers is the youngest player on the roster.
- Eighteen-year-old Zelalem, who recently completed a loan move from Arsenal to Rangers, made his U.S. debut for the U-20’s in this summer’s U-20 World Cup.
- The roster is a diverse mix with players coming from club teams of various leagues around the world. Eight players from this roster represent MLS clubs, four come from English teams, two from German clubs, a single player each from Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and Scotland, and one is unattached, while one plays in college.
- Alashe has scored a pair of goals in 23 starts with the San Jose Earthquakes this season, including his most recent on Saturday, Sept. 12.
- Ariyibi scored on a stunning volley in the 86th minute of the last game for the U-23’s, a 2-0 win against Qatar.
- Gil leads the U-23’s with four assists in 2015.
- Miazga made his U-23 debut with the team in its match against England in September, starting and playing 90 minutes.
- Morris has also had a big role with the senior Men’s National Team in 2015. He scored for the MNT in its 2-0 win against Mexico in April, assisted on the game-winning goal against Netherlands and was a part of the play that led to the game winning goal against Germany in June.
Canada Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Max Crépeau (FC Montreal/CAN); Ricky Gomes (Atletico de Malveira/POR); Quillan Roberts (Toronto FC II/CAN)
DEFENDERS (4): Jackson Farmer (Vancouver Whitecaps FC II/CAN); Luca Gasparotto (Greenock Morton/SCO); Johnny Grant (FC Montreal/CAN); Skylar Thomas (Toronto FC II/CAN)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Dylan Carreiro (Dundee FC /SCO); Jay Chapman (Toronto FC/CAN); Mauro Eustaquio (Ottawa Fury FC/CAN); Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (FC Montreal/CAN); Chris Mannella (Toronto FC II/CAN); Sam Piette (Racing de Ferrol/SPA)
FORWARDS (7): Mo Babouli (Toronto FC II/CAN); Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton/CAN); Caleb Clarke (Vancouver Whitecaps FC II/CAN); Ben Fisk (Deportivo de La Coruna /SPA); Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact FC/CAN); Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto FC II/CAN); Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)
- Canada missed qualifying for both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics by just one game.
- The Canada U-23s tied fellow Group A side Panama 0-0 at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.
- Goalkeeper Quillan Roberts is the regular starter for Toronto FC II.
- Fourteen players from the roster have earned caps with Canada’s senior national team.
- The group is an experienced one with 19 players having totaled more than 2,000 cumulative days in Canada’s youth soccer program.
- Eleven players on Canada’s squad play for an MLS team or its USL affiliate.