Jordan Morris, Matt Miazga named to U.S. U23 team for Colombia matches

U.S. Soccer announced its roster for the two-game playoff against Colombia that will determine the final berth for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Manager Andi Herzog has called in 23 players to his U23 side, including most of the big names, a list that includes Chelsea FC defender Matt Miazga, Fulham FC midfielder Emerson Hyndman and Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris.

The first match will take place on Friday, March 25 at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez in Barranquilla, Colombia, at 5 p.m. ET. The return leg will be played on March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 p.m. CT.

"The perfect result is we win these two games against Colombia and then we go to Rio," said Herzog via a press release. "We have now two or three days to train our group, and then we will do our best to have a really good game and especially a really good result in Colombia."

There had been some speculation that age-eligible players like Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks and Sunderland defender DeAndre Yedlin would be included on the U23 roster. But U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann had hinted strongly that this wouldn't be the case given the U.S. senior team has World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala on the same days that the U23s are playing.

Neither Brooks nor Yedlin were named on the U23 roster, and are now almost certain to be named to the senior team.

Herzog received a blow when defender Cameron Carter-Vickers was ruled out due to injury. Also absent are FC Utrecht forward Rubio Rubin, who just returned from injury, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic, and Gedion Zelalem, who has been on loan at Rangers FC and is also dealing with injury.

While club teams are required to release players for international fixture dates at senior level, the same is not true for youth sides. However, Herzog said he encountered little resistance in terms of getting players released.

"The clubs, especially in MLS, did a good job supporting us, because everyone knows we have two very important games ahead of us," said Herzog.

The U.S. finds itself in this position after finishing third in CONCACAF's Olympic qualifying tournament last October, with a 2-0 semifinal loss to Honduras preventing the U.S. from qualifying automatically. Herzog is especially eager for his players to put that defeat behind them.

"We had a really bad game against Honduras, and it's all about what we have to do better because now it's perform or we're out," he said. "We have to have two really good games with a lot of personality on the field that can deal with very tough, physical opponents.

"We have to be prepared for everything, and that's where we struggled against Honduras a lot."


GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Milton Keynes Dons), Ethan Horvath (Molde KJ), Zach Steffen (SC Freiburg) 

DEFENDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC), Eric Miller (Colorado Rapids), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen), Shane O'Neill (Cambridge United), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Luis Gil (Queretaro), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC) 

FORWARDS (3): Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Monchengladbach), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC)