U-23's Meet Qatar in Final Match Before Olympic Qualifying

NEWS Sep 8, 2015

The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team is set to play Qatar in Europe for the second time in 2015 and again the stakes are high. In June, the U-23's defeated Qatar 1-0 on the way to a third-place finish in the renowned Toulon Tournament in France. This time the teams square off in a match that is the U-23's last before the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, where they'll look to punch their ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET at Gigg Lane in Bury, England and fans can follow the match on Twitter @ussoccer.

The match concludes the U-23 training camp in Manchester that began on Aug. 30. On Sept 4, the team battled to a narrow 1-0 defeat against England at Deepdale Stadium in Preston, England. A hard-fought defensive effort was spoiled when England's winning goal came after the Young Lions played a quick free kick that beat the recovering U.S. defense down the left side.

With their eyes on Rio, the U-23's will look to put in one last solid performance before they reconvene for the Olympic Qualifying tournament at the end of the month. The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 Games in Beijing, where it posted a 1-1-1 record but could not advance past the group stage. The USA's best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, when the team advanced past Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event.

The 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying championship will be played in the United States from Oct.1-13. The U.S. was drawn into Group A and opens with a pair of games at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, against Canada on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. CT and Cuba on Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. CT. The U.S. will conclude group play at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Oct. 6 against Panama at 7:30 p.m. MT. [TICKETS]

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).
DEFENDERS (7): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O'Neill (Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Benji Joya (Club Necaxa; San Jose, Calif.), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wisc.), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).
FORWARDS (5): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Scion; Washington, D.C.).

Roster Notes:

  • Emerson Hyndman, Zack Steffen, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Rubio Rubin and Matt Miazga, who each participated in the 2015 U-20 World Cup for the U.S., made appearances in the match against England.
  • Gboly Ariyibi, Matt Polster, Eric Miller, Steffen, Miazga, Carter-Vickers, Hyndman and Wil Trapp made their first appearances with the U-23's in 2015.
  • Shane O'Neill made the start as captain.
  • Gboly Ariyibi, Matt Polster, Eric Miller, Steffen, Miazga, Carter-Vickers, Hyndman and Wil Trapp made their first appearances with the U-23's in 2015.
  • Cody Cropper, Matt Miazga and Wil Trapp returned to their clubs, while Gedion Zelalem joined up with the team on Sept. 6.
  • Five players from this roster have scored goals for the U-23's in 2015: Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Jerome Kiesewetter, William Packwood and Mario Rodriguez.
  • Three from this roster scored goals with the U-20's in 2015: Hyndman, Rubin and Tall.
  • Shane O'Neill was a force for the squad on the backline in the Toulon Tournament, and earned honors as the Third-Best player in the tournament.
  • Hernandez and Joya both scored penalties in the third-place playoff of the Toulon Tournament. Hernandez's strike was the first score of the game and Joya's proved to be the game-winner.
  • Rodriguez returned to the mix to the mix after missing the Toulon Tournament and started at forward in the match against England. The strong striker plays at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the same club as Men's National Team defender Fabian Johnson. The North Hollywood-native has scored twice in as many games in 2015.
  • Louis Gil leads the team with four assists in 2015.
  • Defender Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur) and midfielder Hyndman (Fulham) did not have far to travel for this camp, coming over from their nearby English club teams.
  • Eighteen-year-old Gedion Zelalem, who recently completed a loan move from Arsenal to Rangers, made his U.S. debut for the U-20's in this summer's World Cup.
  • The roster is a diverse mix with the players coming from club teams of various leagues around the world. Nine players from this roster represent MLS clubs, three come from German club teams, four from English teams, two from Mexico, and a single player each from leagues in Cyprus, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, and Switzerland.
  • Ten players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado), Emerson Hyndman (FC Dallas), Benji Joya (De Anza Force), Eric Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy & Pateadores), Zack Steffen (Continental FC DELCO)