United States men's U-23 national team head coach Jason Kreis knew he wouldn't get his unfiltered pick of the best age-eligible Americans across the globe to help guide the team through the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying tournament this month, but is more than pleased with the squad assembled.
The U-23s were drawn in a group with Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and the host nation Mexico, kicking off with a match against Costa Rica on March 20. Prior to that first group stage match, Kreis noted that they'll face Haiti in a friendly on March 13.
The tournament runs from March 20-April 1, but FIFA's March international window closes on the 26th. Thus clubs aren't obliged to release players.
"I'm not going to talk about individual players (who were not released) but I think it's important to state the facts," Kreis told reporters on a conference call Monday. "Of course, there are clubs around the world and in MLS who denied requests for players. We always knew that was going to happen, it's happened in every single window and every trip. It is what it is. We're extremely happy with the squad we resembled, we have real quality, depth, versatility and experience to accomplish our objectives. We're very focused on the group that we have, we're not thinking about the players who weren't able to be selected."
Kreis was cautious not to speak in specific terms about the clubs out of respect, though Atlanta United confirmed to Yahoo! Sports' Doug McIntyre that their club policy is not to release players outside of FIFA mandated windows. Atlanta wingback Brooks Lennon spoke about it at training on Monday:
The Concacaf Champions League had a "heavy influence" on other teams' decisions, Kreis believes. Atlanta are still alive, as are NYCFC, who don't have a player on the Olympic qualifying squad after the likes of James Sands and Keaton Parks were on the provisional 50-man roster. As for non-CCL clubs, MLSsoccer.com can confirm the Burgundy Wave's report that the Colorado Rapids declined to release Sam Vines.
Kreis didn't rule out the potential of any players for the Olympics, should his side navigate qualifying. They will also be able to include three non-U23 players. He hasn't spoken to clubs about it and is just focused on the task at hand.
"We are only focused on qualification," Kreis said. "None of those conversations have happened yet and I don't want to even think about any of that stuff until we get our job done here."
US U-23 roster for 2020 Olympic Qualifiers
|GK||Freese, Matt||Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia|
|GK||Marcinkowski, JT||San Jose EarthquakesSan Jose|
|GK||Ochoa, David||Real Salt LakeRSL|
|D||Cannon, Reggie||FC DallasDallas|
|D||Glad, Justen||Real Salt LakeRSL|
|D||Gloster, Chris||PSV EindhovenPSV|
|D||Herrera, Aaron||Real Salt LakeRSL|
|D||McKenzie, Mark||Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia|
|D||Palmer-Brown, Erik||Austria WienAustria Wien|
|M||Aaronson, Brenden||Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia|
|M||Dotson, Hassani||Minnesota United FCMNUFC|
|M||Ledezma, Richard||PSV EindhovenPSV|
|M||Mihailovic, Djordje||Chicago Fire FCChicago|
|M||Pomykal, Paxton||FC DallasDallas|
|M||Yueill, Jackson||San Jose EarthquakesSan Jose|
|F||Ebobisse, Jeremy||Portland TimbersPortland|
|F||Ferreira, Jesus||FC DallasDallas|
|F||Lewis, Jonathan||Colorado RapidsColorado|
|F||Llanez, Ulysses||VfL WolfsburgWolfsburg|
|F||Saucedo, Sebastian||Pumas UNAMPumas|