USA Olympic men’s soccer roster: Paxton Pomykal, Reggie Cannon lead U-23 squad into Tokyo 2020 qualifiers

U.S. Soccer officially announced the U-23 men’s team roster for upcoming Olympic qualifying as the red, white and blue look to qualify for Toyko 2020. With the women having already punched their ticket, the men’s team hopes to do the same with a squad featuring 20 players in total — 75 percent of whom come from MLS. The U.S. men haven’t been in the Summer Olympics for soccer in 12 years and have participated in just two of the five Summer Olympics since the turn of the millennium.

The squad is highlighted by young U.S. men’s national team prospects like midfielder Paxton Pomykal of FC Dallas, midfielder Jackson Yueill of the San Jose Eathquakes and FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon. The squad also features some of the top young players from overseas like PSV’s Richie Ledezma and Wolfsburg’s Ulysses Llanez.

Talented central defender Chris Richards is not on the squad to the surprise of some. Sources told CBS Sports that Bayern Munich chose not to release him for the competition. He has been training a bit with the Bayern first team over the last couple weeks. Also missing are Konrad de la Fuente of Barcelona and Ajax’s Alex Mendez. Dortmund talent Gio Reyna is not on the team as he’s expected to earn his first call-up to the U.S. men’s national team later this month. 

The 20-man squad will play in the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship from March 20 to April 1 in Mexico, with the top two teams qualifying. In all, 10 of the players have been capped by the USMNT.

Here’s the roster from U.S. Soccer:

Roster by position (Club; Hometown):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; Grapevine, Texas), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Montclair, N.J.), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; Las Cruces, N.M.), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT; Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United; Federal Way, Wash.), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Phoenix, Ariz.), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; Lemont, Ill.), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Texas), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (5): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; Lynwood, Calif.), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas/MEX; Park City, Utah)

The U.S. will face Costa Rica on March 20 at 7 p.m. ET to open up the competition. Then the U.S. faces the Dominican Republic on March 23 at the same time before facing Mexico on March 26 at 11 p.m. ET. All of USA’s matches will air on fuboTV (Try for free).

The competition features two groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semifinal round. From there, the two teams that make the final qualify for the Olympics. 

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