U.S. Under-23 Men's Team
Andi Herzog Names 19 to Under-23 Camp in Brazil
November 10, 2015
ANDI HERZOG on Monday announced his 19-player roster for the United States U-23 team’s two upcoming friendlies against Brazil on November 11 and 15, a pair of games that mark the team’s first time together since its unsuccessful Olympic qualifying tournament last month.
Herzog’s selections for the Brazil matches—which will serve as a great test ahead of the U-23s’ home-and-away playoff against Colombia in March—include many of the same faces from the Olympic tournament, as well as two noteworthy surprises. Here is the roster.
Cody Cropper (MK Dons; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Leeds United; Cleveland, Ohio), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City; Leawood, Kan.)
John Brooks (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), Shane O’Neill (Royal Mouscron; Boulder, Colo.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Dave Romney (LA Galaxy; Irvine, Calif.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wisc.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.)
Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC; Leander, Tex.), Maki Tall (FC Sion; Washington, D.C.)
Eleven of the players here were part of the Olympic qualifying team. More interesting, however, are two who were not: 2014 World Cup inclusions (and goal-scorers) John Brooks and Julian Green.
Some significant additions
Brooks, normally a regular with the full national team, was a World Cup hero for the United States with his game-winning goal against Ghana. But recently he has dealt with injuries as well as occasional periods on the bench at Hertha Berlin. Green, meanwhile, has only seen minutes with Bayern Munich’s U-23 side after a failed loan last season to Hamburg.
Going in the opposite direction, though, is Matt Miazga, who was called into the full team’s camp ahead of World Cup qualifying against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. A New Jersey native, Miazga had been an integral part of U.S. youth teams and has developed a strong partnership with Cameron Carter-Vickers.
One interesting question: Could Brooks and Miazga partner together in March?
Meanwhile, with Monday’s release, Dave Romney earned his first international call-up at any level, marking the latest step in what has been a remarkable rise in 2015.
After graduating from the University of San Francisco in 2014, Romney progressed from San Francisco FC to the Galaxy II to the Galaxy’s first team in one year. Now, he gets to add an international call-up to the U-23 team on top of it.
...And a Few Snubs Worth Noting
There are some surprising omissions here, too—and Tim Parker is at the top of the list.
The young central defender from Long Island, who just finished a very solid rookie season with Vancouver, would seem like a safe bet for March in the absence of Miazga and/or Brooks. Most MLS starters eligible for this age group have been given at least a chance by Herzog, but Parker remains on the outside looking in. I’ve learned that U.S. Soccer has been tracking Parker, but it’s still unclear why he was left off this roster.
In addition, the U-23s are thin at fullback, and it would seem wise to give another chance to Sporting Kansas City’s Amadou Dia, who looked sharp playing left back this season. Desevio Payne is another solid option at right back after a strong U-20 World Cup, but he is only now returning from a lengthy spell on the shelf with a foot injury.
The wing positions, as was evident during qualifying, are also thin, making Paul Arriola’s continued exclusion another head-scratcher. A natural winger who took on a lead role in the U-20 World Cup, Arriola has played for Tijuana’s first team in both league and cup fixtures.
Jordan Siebatcheu, meanwhile, is a recently uncovered multi-national who plays for Stade de Reims in France’s Ligue 1. Siebatcheu is also eligible for Cameroon and France, but a statement from his agent last month said that the American-born forward would consider playing for the United States if asked.
Without Morris, who will score?
One of the more glaring weaknesses on this roster for the Brazil matches is its apparent lack of strikers. Jordan Morris, who was a central part of this team in qualifying, isn’t here, while Maki Tall and Khiry Shelton have missed a lot of time in 2015 because of injuries.
Green and Jerome Kiesewetter are options, to be sure, but both have been more comfortable from wider positions. Kiesewetter, who formed a potent partnership with Morris during the qualifying tournament, will especially miss the Stanford junior’s presence.