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Eight MLS players named to US squad for 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship

The United States Under-20 team will have a little bit of Philly and Dallas flair as they look to defend their Concacaf crown.

On Tuesday, head coach Tab Ramos announced the 20-man roster for the 2018 Concacaf U-20 championship, and it consists of eight MLS players, including three from the Philadelphia Union and two from FC Dallas.

For the Union, defenders Mark McKenzie and Matthew Real and midfielder Anthony Fontana all made the cut, although a Union club representative said that McKenzie, a starting center back, will not join the team until Philly’s Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs run ends.

The tournament takes place in Bradenton, Florida from Nov. 1 to Nov. 21, while the Union’s first playoff game will be either Oct. 31 or Nov. 1.

Midfielders Brandon Servania and Paxton Pomykal will represent FC Dallas at the tourney, while defender Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City), midfielder Isaac Angking (New England Revolution) and forward Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC) were also named to the squad.

Lindsey's inclusion is a bit of a surprise considering he has featured in SKC's gameday roster for much of the season. Peter Vermes' team is playoff bound and will be in play until Nov. 11 if they are able to secure a first-round bye this weekend.

"The current plan is for Jaylin to stay with U-20s for the duration, but that could change," said an SKC spokesperson when reached for comment. "There’s definitely some flexibility to be had in terms of return date."

A record 34 countries will participate in the tournament, with the top four teams qualifying for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.

The tournament’s top seed, the Americans open vs. Puerto Rico on Nov. 1, before facing the U.S. Virgin Islands (Nov 3), Trinidad and Tobago (Nov. 5), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Nov. 7) and Suriname (Nov. 9) in Group A play.

Following group play, the top team in each of the six groups will advance to the qualification stage, where they will be divided into two groups of three. After a second edition of round-robin play, the two group winners plus the second-place finishers will qualify for the U-20 World Cup with the two group winners advancing to the tournament final on Nov. 21.

“I’m looking forward to this U-20 World Cup Qualifying challenge,” Ramos said in a statement. “This new format provides opportunities to many nations and makes the qualifying process much more difficult. Although our preparation will be short, we will be ready to defend our first-ever Concacaf title.”

US U-20 roster for Concacaf qualifying

Pos. Player Club
GK Brady Scott FC Koln
GK CJ Dos Santos Benfica
D Jaylin Lindsey Sporting KC
D Chris Gloster Hannover 96
D Mark McKenzie Philadelphia Union
D Matthew Real Philadelphia Union
D Manny Perez NC State
D Julian Araujo LA Galaxy
D Sam Rogers Seattle Sounders
M Brandon Servania FC Dallas
M Juan Pablo Torres Lokeren
M Alex Mendez Freiburg
M Paxton Pomykal FC Dallas
M Anthony Fontana Philadelphia Union
M Isaac Angking New England Revolution
F Justin Rennicks Indiana
F Ulysses Llanez Unattached
F Griffin Dorsey Indiana
F Ayo Akinola Toronto FC
F Frankie Amaya UCLA