Your U-23 Olympic Squad, Courtesy Caleb Porter

From US Soccer:

Gatt, who has apparently acquired the nickhname, "20-year-old Batman."

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Caleb Porter has named an initial 19-player roster for training camp that will convene March 13 to begin final preparations for the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.

The official 20-player roster will be finalized March 20, the due date for all participating teams to submit their rosters to CONCACAF. The U.S. will compete in Group A which kicks off March 22 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.


GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United; Annandale, Va.), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire; Lilburn, Ga.)

DEFENDERS (6): Josh Gatt (Molde; Plymouth, Mich.), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes; Durham, N.C.), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact; Lancaster, Pa.), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union; Potomac, Md.), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Mix Diskerud (Gent; Oslo, Norway), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz; Richardson, Texas), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy; Naperville, Ill.)

FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund; Berlin, Germany), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City; Prior Lake, Minn.), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; Bryan, Texas)

38 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/12 at 4:14 PM

    A very tight roster here…one that can be considered core with a lot of flexibility. Michael Stephens is a surprise edition, but to this writer he is the Jonathan Spector of the group–plays multiple positions, good to fit in somewhere in practice, won’t complain if he doesn’t play.


  2. Posted by Union on 2012/03/12 at 4:25 PM

    Looks like Duka got the call over Morales originally. But now that Duka is out, they have to be calling in Morales, right? They are announcing one additional player, once he is cleared by his club. I thought he had a great game against Mexico, you’d have to think it will be him…


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/12 at 4:31 PM

      To me, the club looks short on holding mids pending where Kitchen plays and I guess Stephens maybe — again a lot of flexibility. Maybe Lletget gets the call; maybe Morales. Not my full area of expertise.


      • Posted by Union on 2012/03/12 at 4:55 PM

        Forgot that Lletget was left off. I figured both Morales and Lletget would be ahead of Stephens on any roster, so I don’t really understand his call up. Also am not that high on Duka, who seems to have been on the roster until he got injured. Though, I get that Morales/Lletget/Corona/Jeffrey/Okugo all get a little redudant in terms of what they offer.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/12 at 6:18 PM

          Duka’s a solid player who’s held back by his playing for Columbus–a team that will only let foreigners play #10 (Eddie Gaven nods grimly.)

          Luis Gil is very close to getting on this team but I think it’s better for RSL to keep on doing what it’s doing
          to him.


        • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 10:08 AM

          i know you arent stressing lletget over stephens but other people are so i just wanted to say something here. lletget is a more attractive name to us soccer fans simply because he has a bigger upside. he could very well make a world cup, while stephens will never be capped in a real game for the states, and only has a slim chance of making a “camp cupcake” roster. however, this is a u-23 tournament, and stephens happens to be 41 MONTHS older than lletget, with much more professional experience. that’s hugely important for a youth team, and i don’t think it should be shocking that, at this instant, stephens is more highly rated than lletget.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/03/12 at 6:14 PM

      That assumes Morales was getting released. We don’t know if he was or will be released.


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/12 at 4:29 PM

    It’s a shame that both Eric Lichaj and CJ Sapong just narrowly miss the cut.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/03/13 at 4:23 AM

      Isn’t Lichaj 24? I would’ve loved for him to make some kind of roster, He’s back starting for the Villa reserves and makes the 18 now and then. Safe to say he’d be a 50-50 starter if CARLOS FREAKING CUELLAR wasn’t performing unusually well at LB. (wtf?)


  4. Posted by Dylan on 2012/03/12 at 4:42 PM

    My thoughts are that our U-23 midfield is stacked. That is good.

    My question is however, Will Jozy play in the Olympics in London? He is eligible, I realize U23 qualifying isn’t something that fifa requires a release for, but will he be called in? I think it would be good for him. He would play against a younger group, which I think would be great for his already growing confidence. And give us one of the best striking group in the tourny.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/03/13 at 4:25 AM

      NO. Not to be condescending, but we already know what Jozy has to offer. We need to tighten up our shot group for these young forwards we have i.e. more Boyd and Sapong, less Boon-boo-ree.


      • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 10:09 AM

        antonio: it’s not about finding out what people have to offer. it’s the olympics, something which us soccer has openly said to be very important to them. i would be surprised if we didn’t call in jozy, because we want the best possible team in order to possibly medal (assuming we qualify knock on wood)


        • Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/03/13 at 10:27 AM

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Jozy wasn’t brought in, he’s our number one striker. But more importantly, if he was in Porter’s original plans then he would have seen at least a small amount of time with the u23s, I think it would just mess up the team dynamic if he was brought it, IMO.


          • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 2:51 PM

            unfortunately, players like him, danny williams and tim chandler weren’t available for the u-23 camps. however, with those 3, alfredo morales, and 3 overage players on an 18-man squad, we’re going to see a much different team for the olympic games. the fact that he’s our #1 striker doesn’t mean anything except that we should have a good lineup for olympics. clubs are required to release their players, and i guarantee porter will call on the best available players, which obviously includes jozy, danny williams and timmy chandler.


            • Posted by Jared on 2012/03/14 at 5:49 AM

              I would be absolutely shocked if Chandler played in the Olympics. The only way I can see that happening is if US Soccer worked out a deal with his club for him to miss qualifiers at later dates in exchange for the Olympics. It’s tough enough getting him to show up for actual senior competitions.

              That may change though as he has been linked heavily with Stuttgart but I can’t see them wanting him to play in the Olympics if they sign in him the summer.

  5. Posted by Wixson on 2012/03/12 at 5:11 PM

    Let the gatt myth/legend begin. Will be anxiously awaiting his non-youtube performance. Hope he provides some skill with that speed, and some defensive know how.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/03/12 at 6:13 PM

      I am dying to see Gatt in something other than 2 minute YouTube clips. I am excited to see him and Boyd. I was excited for Gayu and he exceeded my expectations. Not sure how defensively sound it is but I could see Gayu as RW and Gatt at RB making defenders want to cry with their speed.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/12 at 6:15 PM

      Gatt is a skilled dribbler but his shot skills are poor. He’s a genuinely good player albeit a very lopsided one–he’s more naturally a winger than a RB though in Porter’s system he might be very good indeed in the latter position.


      • Posted by Crow on 2012/03/13 at 5:41 AM

        I’ve seen some really nice goals off some nice shots by Gatt, but honestly I haven’t seen him play much so maybe those were just the highlights. Is he a good crosser of the ball?

        Weird fact- last night I had a dream Gatt got injured just before the first game and people were complaining “see he always gets injured/ can’t depend on him”

        I really need to get a life.


        • Posted by Alex on 2012/03/13 at 10:07 AM

          You’re not the only one, I dream about the US beating Ghana in 2010 just about every other week


  6. Posted by Chef on 2012/03/12 at 5:30 PM







    Who I’d like to see at the Olympics(If players are healthy and released) Basically the future of the USMNT when the Dempsey/Donovan era is over.







    • Posted by Chef on 2012/03/12 at 5:31 PM

      If Morales gets called in I would place him ahead of Okugo.


    • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 10:11 AM

      very good lineups. i hope that we see 2 overage CBs and an overage outside back, however, reason being that i think diskerud could hold his own at CM better than opara at CB in the olympics.


  7. I’m very disappointed Morales was left off of team after his showing vs. Mexico.


    • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 10:13 AM

      the only reasonable explanation is that he wasn’t released by his club. i trust porter to know what he’s doing, and there’s no way morales wasn’t wanted by caleb. every other starter from that us mexico game is on the roster, so there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t also be on the roster if he was available. remember, he regularly makes the bench in the bundesliga.


  8. Matthew, any thoughts on who the 3 older/designated players will be? Seems to me like a goalkeeper is obvious, and a defensive midfielder.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/13 at 7:30 AM

      Goalkeeper and defensive midfielder are the two positions that definitely won’t be used for overage players. The gap between Tim Howard and Bill Hamid/Sean Johnson is much smaller than the gap between, say, Geoff Cameron and whomever we’re trotting out at CB.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/13 at 11:22 AM

        I highly doubt that it’s a definite that keeper won’t be used for an overage player.

        You have to figure that 3 keepers will be taken. Pretty poor idea to take two, one gets red card, etc.

        I don’t think anyone knows yet if Klinsmann–despite his messaging that the US wants to win–goes with proven A team talent, veteran talent or promising players near the age group.

        I think it’s quite possible as well–as he did with Feilhaber, Beckerman, Jones–that a CM or DM are easily an overage players.

        Many teams do this in many different scenarios — for example Bob Bradley using Brian Carroll and Logan Pause in a friendly in South Africa. Juan Veron being selected by Maradona for World Cup 2010. Riquelme at the 2008 Olympics.

        Etc. ETc.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/13 at 12:25 PM

          I don’t think you can afford three keepers in an 18-man roster.

          As to midfielders–I can see Dempsey or Donovan being selected as a #10 but given the quality options at #6 and #8, I just don’t see the point of wasting a player there–especially given the voids at CB and LB.


        • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 2:52 PM


          it is an absolute guarantee that only 2 keepers will go. only an 18-man roster for the actual olympic games, and you can look at rosters from past olympic games or even our current roster, which has 20 people but only 2 goalies.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/13 at 8:21 AM

      Great question and a think a lot of it will come down to who makes who available.

      It’s worth remembering that just last summer Tim Chanddler–despite not being in-season–wasn’t allowed to play even the Gold Cup.

      I agree, I think you’ll see a keeper and I’m willing to bet that keeper is Guzan.

      I think there’s a good chance that you may see a player like Jermaine Jones who can command a midfield and is out of favor with his club–maybe Ricardo Clark, but he doesn’t really dictate play as much.

      You could also see maybe a Carlos Bocanegra or Maurice Edu pending their club situation which is a mess right now. Another name I’d float is Zak Whitbread — experience and needs a look by the US if ready.

      So in other words…no idea….you could also see Porter go young with either Sapong or Lichaj.

      I don’t see Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley or Timmy going.


  9. […] Okugo and Freddy Adu were called up to the final 19-man U-23 Olympic camp in Nashville. The players flew directly to Nashville following the Union’s loss to Portland. Okugo and Adu […]


  10. Posted by Union on 2012/03/13 at 2:47 PM

    Ugh, Tony Taylor? He showed terrible against Mexico. Oh well, likely won’t see the field. I have to think Morales will be on the Olympics roster if they qualify. This might have been a situation in which the federation is being flexible with Hertha in order to get favors down the road. I think Morales has been making Hertha’s gameday 18, which can’t be said for any of the other European based players outside of Gatt and Mix.


    • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 2:55 PM

      yeah, not a huge fan of taylor but he shouldn’t get significant minutes. don’t worry, morales, alitdore, chandler, and williams will all be on the squad if we qualify. mathematically, only 11 of these players (maximum) should make the roster if we qualifying with the 4 i mentioned earlier plus 3 overage guys. since the top 11 of this bunch have a ton of talent, you have to think we’ll have a ridiculous squad for the olympics.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/03/13 at 3:18 PM

        Taylor is there because he’s versatile. Any player who can play any three of the forward spots is going to be highly useful in this tournament, with its tight turnarounds.

        I’d also caution against drawing too much from just one match where all sorts of idiosyncratic factors can disrupt a player.


        • Posted by Luke S on 2012/03/13 at 4:12 PM

          agreed. all fair points. let’s just say i don’t see him as a starter in the semifinal, or as a player making the olympic team. but i absolutely hope he does well.


  11. Posted by Union on 2012/03/13 at 3:47 PM

    Good point dth. I know you weren’t as high on Morales, but I think he’d be an asset. As would a few of these other U-23s playing well in Germany. Wooten/George both playing well. Wooten will be in gameday 18 this week.


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