At halftime of the Union’s impressive 3-3 draw at LAFC, news broke of who will be representing the USMNT for the Olympic qualifying tournament down in Guadalajara Mexico. Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie, and Matt Freese all made the roster and will report to the national team immediately!
These Union youngsters are on their way to help the US qualify for the Olympics. USA Men’s Soccer has not qualified for the Olympics in the last two cycles, meaning they have not made the Olympics since 2008. Can the three Union players on the roster help the US get over the hump?
Aaronson and McKenzie have been starters in MLS for the past two seasons, while Freese has had limited minutes. Aaronson has some competition in attacking midfield on this roster, but he could impress and find some minutes in this tournament. McKenzie is the penciled-in starter at one of the centerback spots for this tournament! Freese has looked solid in limited time but will have his shot to impress and fight for minutes.
All three Union players have a great opportunity to represent their country, and also help the USA qualify for the first time in eight years. They and the rest of the squad have 10 days to prepare for their first match against Costa Rica. Here’s a look at the full roster and when the USMNT will play in the group stage of this important tournament!
GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
FORWARDS (5): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas)
Olympic Qualifying Schedule:
|Date||Match||Kickoff (EST)||Venue||TV Info|
|Friday, March 20||USA vs. Costa Rica||7 pm||Estadio Jalisco; Guadalajara, Mexico||FS2, TUDN|
|Monday, March 23||USA vs. Dominican Republic||7 pm||Estadio Akron; Zapopan, Mexico||FS1, TUDN|
|Thursday, March 26||USA vs. Mexico||11 pm||Estadio Jalisco; Guadalajara, Mexico||FS1, TUDN|
As we get closer to the tournament, we’ll take a look at this US squad, the Olympic qualifying tournament and also, the tough group matches the USA will play! Stay tuned and get ready for these young players to show what the future of US Men’s soccer will be!
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports, Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports & Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.