Tuesday night marks a bit of a “warm-up” for the U.S. U-23 men’s team, which has already qualified for the semifinals of CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
So we don’t know whether or not you’ll get the latest look at a man who could one day solve the USMNT’s center back quandary: Spurs’ defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, who turns 18 on New Year’s Eve.
Our own Joe Prince-Wright profiled CCV — is this his nickname? It certainly should be — last month in this space after the 17-year-old continued his rise from Spurs Academy player to U-20 World Cup star to Olympic hopeful.
The son of 1983 NBA Draft first round pick Howard “Hi-C” Carter — another good nickname! — Carter-Vickers scored the opener in the weekend’s 6-1 clobbering of Cuba. And while you can see that undermanned Cuba didn’t supply much defense or goalkeeping on Luis Gil’s free kick into an obvious area on the field, the teen made little doubt of his chances (seriously, Cuba, what is happening here?!?).
Carter-Vickers is the focus of an Associated Press profile ahead of tonight’s match against Panama in Colorado. And he reveals that he’s open to anything to get him on the field in England, where he’s currently with the Spurs’ U-21 side.
“It’s all up to the coaches,” Carter-Vickers said. “I just have to stay focused and keep working. But obviously, the end goal would be to play for Tottenham, be a regular on Tottenham’s first team. If that means going on loan to get some experience, if the coaches think that would be helpful, yeah, that would be good.”
Carter-Vickers has been solid with New York Red Bulls youngster Matt Miazga in the center of the back line, and could be a part of the answer for the USMNT. From Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu, to Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler, to John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado, there has been a clear deterioration in the American attempts at a CB pairing.
The States need a win on Saturday to secure an Olympic spot, something they failed to do under Caleb Porter in a spectacular 2011 flameout. A loss on Saturday means the U-23s would need to win the third-place game and then beat South America’s playoff combatant, Colombia.