U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman just told me his organization hopes to release the Olympic qualifying roster today, but that it could be Tuesday.
At that point, it would be just as easy to tally up the bodies coming off planes at Nashville International Airport. Players are due to report there tomorrow for the training camp that takes them into next week’s group stage of final CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying.
“We are still finalizing the roster based on player availability,” Kammarman told me.
Why the continued holdup? I’m guessing it has to do with Dilly Duka’s hamstring injury, suffered early during Columbus’ loss to Colorado on Saturday.
Duka came on as a substitute in the recent 2-0 win over Mexico, the final official match before Caleb Porter’s team meets Cuba on March 22 at LP Field in Nashville to open qualifying for London. (U.S. officials told me last week they might schedule a close-door friendly or two, but would have no more official matches prior to the Cuba contest.)
If Duka is unavailable, then U.S. Soccer must secure the release of a replacement, and that’s the time consuming process. It’s easier if the replacement come from the United States, where business hours have just opened. If the stand-in player is from Europe, well, it’s already getting late over there, so gaining official sanction on the player’s release might not be forthcoming today.
Either way, the roster remains tentative pending a March 20 deadline. That’s when the 20-man rosters (with no alternates) are officially due, and U.S. Soccer does not plan to turn in the roster early.
The full U.S. qualifying schedule is here.