Tab_ramos_-_asn_top_-_isi_-_2018_u-20_camp_-_casey_brooke_lawson Casey Brooke Lawson/ISI

U-20 team taking shape, Dallas - Bayern partnership at work, & more

Apart from the ongoing U.S. national team camp in Florida, there is still plenty of news going on in the world of American soccer. Particularly at the youth level where teams are taking shape and players could be on the move. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
October 10, 2018
5:00 AM
With the international break going, there is a lot of big-picture news surfacing for American soccer including at the U.S. youth national team level.

U-20 team begins to shape up

The United States U-20 team will assemble in two weeks to start preparations for its World Cup qualifying campaign which opens on November 1 in Florida. Head coach Tab Ramos has named his preliminary 35 player roster that must include four goalkeepers.

From the 35 player roster, Ramos will select his 20 player roster for the World Cup qualifying tournament and that roster is due October 22. After the first stage of the qualifying tournament, teams may make up to six changes and those added players must also come from 35 man preliminary roster.

Some clues are starting to emerge as to who could make up the roster.

Michael Lewis reported that Tim Weah and Josh Sargent are on the provisional roster and Tyler Adams is not on it. According to Ramos, Adams is “past” the U-20’s although he left the door open to him being involved at the U-20 World Cup next may depending on the minutes he earns in the Bundesliga next year.

The best guess here is that Tim Weah and Josh Sargent would be used as options to join the second stage of the tournament which falls in November’s FIFA international window.

In addition, here are a few things that ASN has learned about the U-20 team

Richard Ledezma is apparently signing for PSV Eindhoven and has been a big part of the U-20 team this cycle. He is currently out with an injury and it will be a close call if he can recover in time for the tournament.

Edwin Lara was previously with the U.S. U-17 team in 2015 but switch to Mexico where he played in the U-17 World Cup for El Tri. Now at Club Leon, the California-born left back is willing to return to the U.S. setup and is on the preliminary roster. His involvement in qualifying is not assured as Chris Gloster, Matthew Real, and Sam Vines are three left backs who have performed well for the team all year. It will be tough for Lara to surpass them.

Nordsjaelland’s Jonathan Amon is also on the preliminary roster. It is likely that he could be one of the six added players for the second stage – although it is possible he plays for the senior U.S. team instead. The best bet, however, is that he plays with the U-20s in the second stage of qualifying (assuming the United States makes it).

Schalke’s Nick Taitauge is also another name that gets mentioned as a possible addition to the team in the second stage. While very talented, Taitague has had to deal with many injuries in recent years and that has always hurt his chances to progress with club and country. 

The addition of Sargent, Weah, Amon and possibly Taitague in the second stage would certainly provide a ton of firepower in the team’s effort to qualify.

U-17’s head to England

The United States U-17 national team is heading to England for a the 2018 U-17 International Youth Tournament where it will face England, Russia, and Brazil in the cities of Shropshire and Chester.

Coached at the moment but U-16 head coach Shaun Tsakiris has called up 21 players for the tournament which is the important final preparation for the Nike Friendlies in November.

The team has a lot or recognizable names including Atlanta United left back George Bello and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.), Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; Calgary, Alberta)

DEFENDERS (8): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.), Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.), George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.), Mason Judge (Eintracht Frankfurt; Tampa, Fla.), Antino Lopez (Shattuck - St. Mary's; Las Vegas, Nev.), Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): William Reilly (Atlanta United FC; Decatur, Ga.), Daniel Robles (Seattle Sounders FC; White Center, Wash.), David Rodriguez (FC Dallas; Irving, Texas), Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.), Peter Stroud (West Ham United; Chester, N.J.)

FORWARDS (5): Sagir David Arce (Monarcas Morelia; Chihuahua, Mexico), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.), Andres Jasson (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.), Alfonso Ocampo Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.)

The schedule for the U.S. team is as follows.

Friday, October 12: England vs. USA 2pm ET
Sunday, October 14: Brazil vs. USA 12pm ET
Tuesday, October 16: USA vs. Russia 2pm

Hyndman makes SPL team of the week

Emerson Hyndman, 22, put on a very good overall performance for Hibernian on Saturday where he scored a goal in a 6-0 win over Hamilton Athletic.

For his efforts he was named to the Scottish Premier League team of the week.

Hyndman is a talented player but it is certainly understandable that it might have taken him a few weeks to get up to speed with Hibernian due to being so underutilized at his parent club AFC Bournemouth.

At the beginning of 2017, Hyndman established that he could be a very successful player in the Scottish Premier League after a successful loan with Rangers. 18 months later, he is still in the same league albeit with a lesser club. Rangers wanted to keep him but couldn’t afford Bournemouth’s asking price.

The good news is that there is still plenty of time for him to get back on track. His his buyout with Bournemouth is surely lower now. If he can play on a weekly basis and perform well, he can probably have solid options on the table.

Servania & Roberts to train with Bayern

FC Dallas’ partnership with Bayern Munich is off to a nice start. The first step was FC Dallas loaning homegrown and U.S. U-20 central Chris Richards to Bayern Munich’s U-19 for the season. Richards has been a regular for the club’s U-19 team and even played with the first team in preseason. As ASN was the first to report, Bayern holds an option to buy Richards.

Richards is currently training with Bayern’s first team during the international window (not necessarily earth shattering given most of Bayern’s first team plays for national teams during the international breaks).

But FC Dallas announced on Tuesday that two midfield homegrown signings Brandon Servania and Thomas Roberts were heading to Bayern for a 10-day training stint. That should perk people’s ears because a 10 day training stint is what started the process of Richards going on loan to the German giants.

There are certainly things to watch for in this training stint. Servania, 19, is a member of the U.S. U-20 team and is likely to be part of the qualifying team next month. He is of the age where a loan with Bayern could materialize in January and possibly run up to the U-20 World Cup.

Roberts, 17, is very talented but is still too young to play meaningful games abroad and won’t turn 18 until May. So the 2019/20 season is the earliest he could go on loan. If Bayern has interest in Roberts, it is probably part of a long-term play.

That being said, the partnership agreement with Bayern has been interesting for FC Dallas but it will be interesting to see where this leads. If Bayern exercises its option to purchase Richards and if it acquires and option on Servania, it will be nice to see Dallas cashing in on young players after losing Weston McKennie for free.

But FC Dallas is likely to have a USL team next year. Does it have plans to get use out of any of its top prospects or is that only going to come if Bayern declines to exercise a loan?

The FC Dallas – Bayern partnership is productive but what is the longer term play here? Bayern is one of the best teams in the world but it is not right for every player. If an FC Dallas player wants to move abroad, is Bayern the only option? What access to Dallas players do other European clubs have? For example, if Paxton Pomykal plays well at the U-20 World Cup and is wanted by another Bundesliga club, how does that affect the partnership with Bayern?

Finally, is there going to be any traffic coming to the United States? When the partnership was announced, it said that players were going to be going both ways. It wasn’t just going to be young Dallas homegrowns getting auditions with Bayern. Are any young Bayern players going to join Dallas on loan?

San Jose makes a splash

As is well known by now, San Jose hired Argentina’s Matias Almeyda to be its next coach. It is one of the most high profile announcements an MLS team has made in recent year. San Jose has been going absolutely nowhere hiring Almeyda will grab plenty of headlines.

Almeyda, 44, has coached River Plate back from despair and recently won the CONCACAF Champions League with Chivas de Guadalajara. It probably was attractive to San Jose that Almeyda has inherited bad teams and helped them improve right away.

As a player, he played for Argentina as a defensive midfielder at the 1996 Olympics and the 1998 World Cup.

San Jose is a team that needed to do something, anything to turn around its league-worst record in 2018. Almeyda is certainly something and it is worth a shot.

Almeyda can be an attractive selling point for TAM players and designated players. But he can only do so much within MLS. Unlike many top teams in the league, San Jose has gotten very little from its homegrown pipeline. Its current roster needs a huge overhaul and there are more restrictions on MLS teams than what Almeyda is used to.

San Jose needs a lot of work and Almeyda can’t do it all. Almeyda could turn out to be a huge piece of the equation but a lot needs to change at the club if it wants to turn around its dire state.

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