Richie Ledezma

Photo by Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images

U.S. U-23 boss Kreis calls up 24 including Ledezma, Carter-Vickers

Leave a comment

U.S. Olympic men’s soccer coach Jason Kreis has called up 24 players to his latest camp as the Americans look to qualify for their first Olympics since 2008.

This group will represent the U.S. later this month at the United International Football Festival in Spain. The U.S. will face Brazil on Nov. 14 and then play Argentina or Chile on Nov. 17.

[ MORE: Americans Abroad ]

Five of the call-ups will join the U-23s after their time at senior camp, including Mark McKenzie, Brenden Aaronson, Jonathan Lewis, Djordje Mihailovic, and Jeremy Ebobisse.

Seven of the players play abroad, including Stoke City’s Cameron Carter-Vickers and PSV’s Richie Ledezma.

Kreis’ men blasted El Salvador 6-1 last month in Miami, with Ledezma scoring a goal and adding two assists while Jonathan Lewis had a goal and an assist.

Olympic qualifying is between March 20-April 1.

U.S. U-23 roster

Goalkeepers: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Brady Scott (Koln)

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Christian Cappis (Hobro), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Alex Mendez (Ajax), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), James Sands (New York City FC)

Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake), Mason Toye (Minnesota United)

Questions, possible full squad for USMNT’s decisive November

Photo by Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images
Leave a comment

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has announced 20 MLS players vying to be a part of November’s decisive CONCACAF Nations League group stage matches versus Canada and Cuba.

The group will train Nov. 2-9 before being pared down, eventually joined by European-based players as well as several Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders players following the MLS Cup on Nov. 10.

[ MORE: Berhalter calls up 20 ]

Berhalter’s had a pretty notable week, earning the loyalty of Sergino Dest and apologizing to away supporters for his ignorance following October’s embarrassing loss in Canada.

It’s important to note that, knock on wood, Berhalter is going to have as rich selection of players as he’s had in some time with Dest in the fold and John Brooks returning to fitness.

We’re getting to the point, finally, when playing first team minutes for your club is no longer enough because there are so many players who qualify. Even without Adams and the injured Tim Weah, there is a legit 18 that can be formed without including a single domestic-based player*.

Here are the biggest questions to be answered when the rest of the call-ups come:

  • Is the camp injury that cost Miles Robinson his Atlanta United playoff run enough to further limit his participation?
  • Will Richie Ledezma, the teenage playmaker who made his first game day for PSV Eindhoven and is also eligible to represent Mexico, get cap-tied early? If Berhalter is comfortable in his job, there’s no reason not to take a look.
  • Can New England’s Matt Turner impress enough to knock Sean Johnson or Brad Guzan from the final squad once Zack Steffen is added, and is there another European goalkeeper on Berhalter’s radar?
  • Will Chase Gasper impress enough to knock Daniel Lovitz down the left back pecking order? Moreover, which defenders will get squeezed by the additions of Dest and Brooks? And is there room for Antonee Robinson?
  • Could Tyler Boyd’s relegation to thrice unused sub for Besiktas open up a spot in the forward corps?
  • Might Tyler Adams get a call-up even if he’s not fit to play a significant role? Same for Jozy Altidore?

Predicted USMNT roster

Goalkeepers (3): Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

Defenders (8): DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Matt Miazga (Reading), Sergino Dest (Ajax), Tim Ream (Fulham), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)

Midfielders (8): Weston McKennie (Schalke), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC).

Forwards (7): Tyler Boyd (Besiktas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC).


Spurned: Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Omar Gonzalez (Toronto FC)


*Here is an example of an 18 that does not include any MLS players, and I’m not saying this is the best 18 at all, as at least Jordan Morris, Jozy Altidore, and Sebastien Lletget all fit the bill for any 18: Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, DeAndre Yedlin, Sergino Dest, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Weston McKennie, Alfredo Morales, Julian Green, Duane Holmes, Lynden Gooch, Richie Ledezma, Christian Pulisic, Tyler Boyd, Josh Sargent.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.