U.S. U-23

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U.S. U-23 men learn group opponents for Olympic qualifying

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The United States knows the opponents on its path to a first men’s Olympic berth since 2008.

Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica will be the Yanks’ group stage opponents between March 20-26 in Mexico.

Honduras, Haiti, Canada, and El Salvador comprise Group B.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Jason Kreis’ U-23 side will need to finish first or second in its group and then win its semifinal to clinch a spot in Tokyo 2020.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Richie Ledezma, and Jonathan Lewis were in Kreis’ last group of call-ups, while players like Miles Robinson, Josh Sargent, and Timothy Weah are among the eligible.

Andreas Herzog’s Yanks cruised through group play in 2015 before being stunned by Honduras in the semi, then losing a two-legged playoff with Colombia.

The U.S. didn’t even escape the group stage in 2012 under Caleb Porter.

Women’s qualifying begins Jan. 28 in the United States, the ladies facing Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti in group play.

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

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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.

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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)

U.S. U-23s have talent, experience to exorcise Olympic qualifying demons

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Let’s begin here: If the United States fails to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in men’s soccer, it should probably abandon the U-23 program.

That’s pretty haughty considering the Yanks have failed to qualify in three of the last four tournaments including the 2012 Games in the United Kingdom and 2016 edition in Brazil, but consider the talent on show for this March’s friendlies against Egypt and the Netherlands in Spain.

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There are Bundesliga upstarts Josh Sargent and Haji Wright, not to mention Celtic’s Tim Weah. Chicago Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is in the fold, as are defenders Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), and Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson.

And, oh yeah, they’ll get to add three Over-23 players while also potentially including several eligible players currently with the U-20s, full USMNT, or not called into March camp (Jonathan Lewis, Erik Palmer-Brown, Jonathan Amon, Luca de Torre). Even if the opposite happens and guys make the full USMNT or get injured, there’s depth here and plenty of it.

There have always been names when the Yanks have failed in qualifying, but hardly these degrees of depth and experience. In 2016 qualifying, Matt Miazga, Wil Trapp, and Emerson Hyndman were on the squad which couldn’t get the job done. 2012 saw Joe Gyau, Terrence Boyd, and Bill Hamid.

But this group could be special, favored not just to qualify but to rival others for a spot on the podium. The hiring of longtime MLS boss Jason Kreis to oversee the group is another good decision, and he’ll have this crop of players (and more) from which to select his lineups.

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose)

Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Jack Maher (Indiana University), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United), Donovan Pines (DC United), Lucas Pos (Lausanne), Antonee Robinson (Wigan), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)

Midfielders: Derrick Jones (Philadelphia), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago), Keaton Parks (NYCFC), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose)

Forward: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland), Josh Perez (LAFC), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Tim Weah (Celtic), Haji Wright (Schalke).

Colombia ends U.S. Olympic dreams 2-1; Yanks finish with 9 men

AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Roger Martinez scored a powerful pair of road goals to lift Colombia into the Olympics with a 2-1 win, 3-2 on aggregate, over the United States on Tuesday in Frisco, Texas.

The Colombians were dominant, only conceding on a goofy own goal, while the Yanks barely survived most of the match thanks largely to goalkeeper Ethan Horvath.

The U.S. have now missed three of the last four Olympics in men’s soccer, including two-straight cycles.

Any hopes of a comeback were effectively sealed when substitute Luis Gil picked up a pair of needless yellow cards within 10 minutes of subbing on. The second came thanks to embellishment from Colombia.

Then Matt Miazga was given a straight red for a last man back foul just before stoppage time.

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Colombia has the best early chance to score when Desevio Payne slipped while trying to dribble out of the back, allowing Quintero a chance on goal that Horvath parried well.

It was Miagza’s time to make a pretty huge error on a diagonal ball in the 11th minute, but Colombia was unable to capitalize on the second ball back into the mixer.

Five minutes later, it was Wil Trapp with a big hiccup that gave Colombia a break on goal, but Horvath made an incredible single-paw save to deny an opener.

A Colombia goal had the aire of inevitability. It came in the 30th minute, off an extremely poor spell of defending. A missed clearance and marking that was nearly as bad allowed Martinez to blast a left-footed shot past Horvath.

The U.S. met its attack late in the first half, as Colombia’s aggression got the better of it for a 10-minute period leading right up to halftime, but it remained 1-0 heading into the break.

Colombia forward Roger Martinez (17) works against U.S. defender Kellyn Acosta (2) for space during the first half of an Olympic qualifying soccer match Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Andi Herzog brought on Jerome Kiesewetter in the second half, hoping the striker’s chemistry with Jordan Morris might liven up the attack. Paul Arriola came off.

[ MORE: Plane flies “#FireKlinsmann” banner over USMNT match ]

As the U.S. kept momentum up in the second half, we saw why Kellyn Acosta is dangerous on the wings. Still, the Yanks could not get inside the mature Colombian defense.

An otherwise stellar Tim Parker was fortunate not to pick up a straight red card for an early second half stamp. He picked up a yellow for his troubles.

Soon after, the U.S. tied it on an own goal when Emerson Hyndman’s lofted pass was headed into the Colombia goal.

An essentially invisible Jordan Morris was pulled for fellow MLS youngster Khiry Shelton in the 62nd minute.

The deadlock was short lived, and Colombia’s second goal gave the game an academic feel. Parker was beaten by Martinez, who sliced a shot past Horvath to give Colombia a second road goal.

The U.S. was very close to equalizing the leg when Acosta totally fluffed a header across goal.

The States managed a pair of red cards in the second half. One was a second yellow for Gil and the second to Miazga with a meltdown tackle in a game that saw meltdowns from both teams.

U.S. lineup for Olympic playoff qualifier sees Payne, Arriola in for Miller, Gil

AP Photo/Fernando Vergara
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Andi Herzog is switching up his side just a little bit for the second leg of the United States U-23 national team’s Olympic qualifying playoff against Colombia.

The Yanks drew Colombia 1-1 on Friday in Barranquilla, with Mario Rodriguez linking up with Luis Gil for the U.S. goal.

A win or 0-0 draw will put the U.S. through to the Olympics, while a 1-1 draw would force extra time.

[ PHOTO: Plane flies “#FireKlinsmann” banner over USMNT match ]

But Gil is on the bench to start the home tie this evening, as is Eric Miller, as Paul Arriola and Desevio Payne move into the starting lineup.

Payne will likely play outside back, moving Acosta to his club position of mid (though Matt Polster could slot in there as well).

Ethan Horvath came through the injury that forced him out of Friday’s draw, and will start in goal for the Yanks.

US U-23: Horvath; Payne, Miazga, Parker, Polster; Trapp, Acosta, Hyndman, Arriola; Morris, Rodriguez