Justin_rennicks_-_asn_top_-_isi_-_u20_wcq_2018_with_tab_ramos_-_roy_k._miller Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos
U-20 analysis

U-20 Stockwatch: Which players are rising and falling ahead of Poland?

In roughly five weeks, Tab Ramos will name his roster for the U-20 World Cup. He has already submitted his 50 player provisional roster and now the competition will be intense for players to make the final cut. Here is the first installment of the ASN U-20 stockwatch. Which players are making a case to be part of the final 21?
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
April 10, 2019
10:00 AM

HISTORICALLY, the final U-20 World Cup rosters are submitted 10 days before the tournament’s first game. With provisional rosters already in, the competition over the next five weeks to make the roster for the United States team will be intense and how the players are performing with their clubs will go a long way to determining which players make it.

No matter what, Tab Ramos will have tough decisions to make and quality players will get left off. With that said, here is the latest stockwatch ASN will be running on a weekly basis until Ramos names his final 21 player roster.

In the feature, ASN will track noteworthy performances (good or bad) or injuries to those players likely on the team or within a realistic chance of making it.


David Ochoa:
Ochoa is playing terrific soccer to start 2019 and despite playing up a cycle, he looks to be the team’s starter. Signed to the Real Salt Lake, Ochoa is the starter for the Real Monarchs where he has conceded just three goals in five games. (STATUS: Trending Up)


Sergino Dest
: Since getting promoted from Ajax’s U-19 team to the reserve team, Jong Ajax, Dest has been a regular starter. There have been a few hiccups along the way (see Jong Ajax’s 6-0 loss to Cambuur on April 1). But Dest went a full 90 on Friday in Jong Ajax’s 3-1 win over Helmond Sport. He is without a doubt the starting right back for the United States in Poland, but how much momentum he has heading into the tournament will be interesting to track. (STATUS: Holding)

Julian Araujo: When right back Jaylin Lindsey went out with an injury last week that will keep him off the World Cup team, Araujo seems like the most logical replacement because, like Lindsey, he can also play central defense in addition to his preferred right back. But Araujo is very young (playing up a cycle) and needs to play). He’s been an unused substitute for the Galaxy the last two games and has just one appearance in five games. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Manny Perez: Perez is the other option to take Lindsey’s spot but Perez really can only play right back and perhaps right wing. He can’t cover in central defense and that is needed. Playing for North Carolina FC in the USL Championship on loan from Celtic, Perez has one start and three appearances for NCFC. That one start came on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Memphis where NCFC was down a man for the final 28 minutes. (STATUS: Trending Down)

The door is open for Perez if he can play well but NCFC apparently his performance left manager Dave Sarachan unimpressed and Perez will have to step it up. (“I didn’t think it was a great night for either [Perez or Chester],” Sarachan said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort. Maybe a little bit of nerves, maybe the group not being together for a game yet.")

Chris Richards: One of the top central defender in the pool, Richards is now with Bayern Munich’s U-19 where he is a regular starter. He suffered a scare on Saturday when he was removed from the starting lineup just prior to kickoff by ASN was told the injury is not serious. It will be interesting to see if he will miss any time but nothing will change his status as a starter for Tab Ramos. (STATUS: Holding)

Mark McKenzie: A huge cause of concern for Tab Ramos as McKenzie was a starting central defender in the CONCACAF championships and played nearly 2500 minutes for Philadelphia this season. But McKenzie has lost his starting spot to Jack Elliot and hasn’t played a first team minute. Being on the bench for the Union has also hurt his availability to play for the Bethlehem Steel in the USL. It is critical that McKenzie see the field over the next few weeks or else Ramos could be forced into a tough decision. (STATUS: Trending Down)

Aboubacar Keita: The Columbus Crew homegrown has impressed Ramos since joining the U-20 team in January. He’s now had two strong camps in a row and could be firmly in the mix for central defense. On loan with the Richmond Kickers in the USL League One, Keita has not played in the team’s first two games. If he can play regularly, he will likely go to Poland – at least as a backup. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Chris Gloster: A regular starter at left back for Hannover’s reserve team, Gloster will hope to be a regular first team player next season when it will be in the 2.Bundesliga. Gloster started for Hannover II on Saturday in a 2-0 loss to Werder Bremen II. The New Jersey native was substituted at halftime after both goals have been scored. Between Hannover II and Hannover U-19 this season, Gloster has played over 1100 league minutes with 13 starts. (STATUS: Holding)

Matthew Real: As a backup left back and backup central defender, Real’s versatility gives Ramos options. The Philadelphia Union homegrown has been a regular starter for Bethlehem Steel to start 2019 but was sent off on Saturday in second half stoppage time in a 4-3 win over Swope Park Rangers. (STATUS: Holding)

Midfielders, Forwards, Wingers

Chris Durkin
: While he was not part of the team for November’s CONCACAF Championships, Durkin has been a standout for the U-20 team for the two 2019 camps. That likely punched his ticket to Poland since he is normally solid as the No. 6 but can also serve as a backup central defender. But to be a lock starter, Durkin needs to play for DC United and that has been difficult. In the early parts of the season, he has just 30 minutes as he sits behind Russell Canouse and Junior Moreno. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Brandon Servania: The FC Dallas homegrown played well for the U-20’s at the CONCACAF Championships but has not played much for the first team at Dallas. Normally, the USL minutes for North Texas would be okay but Edwin Cerrillo has been the starter for Dallas and he is U-20 eligible as well. Servania made his MLS debut on Saturday when he was a late sub – and was on the field when Philadelphia hit a late winner. (STATUS: Trending Down)

Juan Pablo Torres: A regular throughout the cycle for Ramos, Juan Pablo Torres has probably seen his stock slip since moving to NYCFC where he is yet to play for the first team and sits behind U-20 eligible James Sands.  (STATUS: Holding)

James Sands: The starting defensive midfielder for NYCFC, Sands has never gained much traction for Ramos and it is unclear if he is on the provisional roster. But Sands has earned a lot of minutes so far for New York and can provide cover in central defense. On paper he looks like he’d have a chance with the U-20’s and he’s well known inside of U.S. Soccer as a veteran of the 2017 U-17 World Cup team but he doesn’t seem to be in Ramos’ plans. But if he is on the provisional roster, he might be able to make a push if he keeps playing and others falter. (STATUS: Holding)

Edwin Cerrillo: While he’s never been called up by Ramos this cycle or with the U-18 or U-19 teams, Cerrillo has started three games for FC Dallas and has leapfrogged Brandon Servania. He brings a physical edge to the No. 6 that Ramos might appreciate and could be a surprise inclusion if he stays in the starting lineup. His stock has certainly surged. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Paxton Pomykal:
One of the most in-form players in the U-20 pool, Pomykal has been on the Team of the Week twice so far in MLS for FC Dallas. He’s scoring, assisting, and is a big part of the team’s offense. He’s carrying a lot of momentum heading towards Poland. (STATUS: Trending up)

Frankie Amaya: While a regular with the U-20 team in 2018 and a member of the CONCACAF Championship team, it will be tough for Amaya to make the U-20 World Cup team. He made his professional debut on March 30 for FC Cincinnati in a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia but hasn’t played since. He is useful for Ramos in that he can play several positions but this team is very deep. He will need to play more, he’ll need to play well, and he’ll needs some breaks. (STATUS: Holding)

Richard Ledezma: He’s one of the most talented played in the U-20 pool but injuries and a lack of playing time with a move to PSV has limited his minutes. On Saturday, he made his first appearance in an official game since last June (then for the Real Monarchs) when he played 30 minutes for PSV’s U-19 team. To make the World Cup team, Ledezma will have to play regularly and show that he can go 90 minutes as he’s missed a lot of time. (STATUS: Trending up)

Brenden Aaronson: One of the best stories in the U-20 pool, Aaronson, 18, has seized a starting spot on Philadelphia Union and is playing very well in the team’s midfield. He’s made four starts but Saturday’s outing in a 2-1 win over Dallas was his first full 90 of his professional career. He’s been part of the U.S. U-18 team but never the U-19 team. To make the roster for Poland, Aaronson will need to continue to play and play well. There is a lot of impressive competition in front of him (likely Christian Cappis) and it’ll be an uphill climb, but he’s trending in the right direction in a significant way. (STATUS: Trending up)

Alex Mendez: The SC Freiburg attacking midfielder had a monster game on Saturday for Freiburg’s U-19 team in a 3-3 draw. Mendez scored two goals – including one from long distance. Ramos rates Mendez highly and Mendez was critical in the team’s run to the CONCACAF title where he was the tournament’s best player. It’s just a question of him performing well over the next month to have momentum heading into the World Cup. (STATUS: Trending up)

Christian Cappis: One of the surprises in 2019 for the U-20 team, Cappis had a very impressive camp in March with big goals against France and Japan. Following that, he earned his first professional start for Hobro. That surge, has him trending upward and probably on the inside of the bubble. The Texan went as an unused sub for Hobro over the weekend but more appearance at the club level could sway Ramos. It’s is indeed a nail-biter for Cappis. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Ulysses Llanez: One of the players also eligible for next cycle, Llanez announced his move to Wolfsburg last week on the day after his 18th birthday. He is talented and was a key part of the run to CONCACAF title, but Llanez is not in great spot at the moment as he is not playing official games for Wolfsburg’s youth teams since he only signed for the club after the registration date had passed (he can’t play until next season). As a result, he’s not going to be as sharp as he could be and it will be tough for Ramos to evaluate his form. (STATUS: Trending Down)

Konrad de la Fuente: On the heels of a strong first camp with the U.S. U-20 team, de la Fuente struggled in his first game back with Barcelona’s U-19 team but then returned with a solid performance over the weekend with an assist. He’s not moved himself into a lock for the final roster. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Jonathan Amon: While the South Carolina native enjoyed a quick and dramatic rise in 2017 and 2018 (where he earned a USMNT cap), the new year has not gone his way as Amon has struggled mightily for minutes at FC Nordsjaelland and lately hasn’t been making the bench. Amon was sharp off the bench for the U-20s in last month’s camp but Amon will need to get back on the field for Nordsjaelland to seal his ticket for Poland. (STATUS: Trending Down)

Andrew Carleton: As one of the more puzzling players in the U-20 pool, Carleton has talent but lacks minutes for his club, Atlanta United. That has him on the outside, looking-in for the U-20 camp in Poland. He had a nice camp in March but there is a lot of attacking talent on the U-20 team right now and Carleton will need to seize the moment with any opportunity he gets with Atlanta.  (STATUS: Holding)

Nick Taitague: Tab Ramos rates Taitague very highly but unfortunately, the Richmond native cannot stay healthy and is injured again. He is on this list because if he can return to the field for Schalke’s U-23 team, Ramos will probably take him as the door is always open for a player of his talent level. But if he’s healthy is always a big “if” for the winger. (STATUS: Trending Down)

Ayo Akinola: Akinola is different than other attacking options in the U-20 pool as he brings a physical edge to him and can play on the wings or up top. Akinola is playing for Toronto right now (three appearances, one start, one goal) and that should be enough to punch his ticket. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Justin Rennicks: The rookie for New England earned minutes at the start of the season and looked decent. But he is currently out with a hamstring injured he suffered at the March U-20 camp. Ramos likes him and Rennicks was important to the team in the run to the CONCACAF title and appeared to be ahead of Soto at that time. To remain the starter for the U-20 team, he has to get back on the field soon as Soto made his Bundesliga debut last weekend. (STATUS: Trending Down)

Sebastian Soto: The Californian made his Bundesliga debut over the weekend in a late cameo for a bad Hannover team and it will be interesting to see how the next coach views him and how he will adjust to life next year in the 2.Bundesliga. For now, he needs to continue to take advantage of his opportunities and look dangerous on the field. Between his first team debut and a solid season with the club’s U-19 team, it’s been a good season for Soto. Now the U-20 World Cup should be a nice test. Soto should be useful for Ramos even though he wasn’t great for the team at the CONCACAF Championships. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Tim Weah: Weah could play for the U-20 team in Poland as his minutes with Celtic probably don’t have him in the Gold Cup picture. Whether or not he is released will depend on Celtic, its run in the Scottish Cup (which could interfere with the U-20 World Cup), and Paris St. Germain. He has played in the team’s last two games and scored a goal. So he is continuing to produce when on the field. (STATUS: Trending Up)

Post a comment