CONCACAF released the preliminary rosters for the eight teams competing in the 2020 Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. United States under-23 men’s national team manager Jason Kreis named a 50-player “non-binding initial” group. The final 20-player roster will be named on March 10th.
“We’re confident that each of the 50 players on this list can help us qualify for the Olympics,” Kreis told USSoccer.com. “Through conversations with Gregg, Brian and Earnie, we’ve identified the players that we think will be available to us in Mexico. We continue to have conversations with all the players’ clubs as we face the difficult task of selecting a final 20-man roster from this pool of 50.”
As noted by U.S. Soccer, there are several issues that may limit the quality of the final roster. Clubs do not have to release players for youth tournaments; they might be particularly less inclined to do so because the CONCACAF qualifying tournament lasts longer than the upcoming international window. Additionally, the senior men’s national team is playing two friendlies, which may result in further absences.
With very few teams earning a spot in the final tournament, Olympic qualifying has been a struggle for the program. The U.S. reached one of the past four Olympic Games, failing to escape Beijing’s group stage in 2008. In non-qualifying years, the under-23s fell in the semifinals of the CONCACAF tournament (2004, 2015) and failed to reach the knockout rounds in 2012.
This year’s CONCACAF qualifying tournament is in Guadalajara, Mexico from March 20th through April 1st. Kreis’ squad was drawn into Group A and faces Costa Rica (March 20th), the Dominican Republic (March 23rd), and Mexico (March 26th). The top two teams from both groups advance to the semifinals, with each winner earning a spot in the final and a trip to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
United States Olympic Qualifying provisional roster
Defenders: Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Christopher Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Auston Trusty (Colorado Rapids), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Erik Palmer-Brown (AK Austria Wien), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Luton Town), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas), Indiana Vassilev (Aston Villa), Jackson Yuiell (San Jose Earthquakes), Djordjie Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Alex Mendez (Ajax), Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Christian Cappis (Hobro IK), James Sands (NYCFC), Keaton Parks (NYCFC), Derrick Amaniampong (Nashville SC), Christopher Durkin (Sint-Truidense)
Forwards: Omir Fernandez (New York Red Bulls), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Benjamin Michel (Orlando City), Joshua Perez (Unattached), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg), Mason Toye (Minnesota United), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Sebastian Soto (Hannover), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro IK)