Cannon, Llanez and Ledezma headline U.S. squad for Olympic qualifiers

Reggie Cannon, Ulysses Llanez and Richie Ledezma headline the U.S. under-23 men’s national team squad for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament.

A total of 20 players have been called into the U.S. squad, with 10, including Cannon and Llanez, having previously featured for the senior side.

Additionally, the team also boasts 12 players that have represented the U.S. at a youth World Cup, while Cannon, Djordje Mihailovic and Jonathan Lewis have senior tournament experience having featured for the USMNT at last summer’s Gold Cup.

The U.S. will be looking to qualify for the team’s first Olympic tournament since 2008, having fallen short in Concacaf qualifiers in each of the last two cycles.

In 2012, the U.S. was eliminated in Concacaf group play before losing in a qualifying playoff against Colombia in 2016.

However, head coach Jason Kreis’ team faces a difficult road in qualifiers this time around, as the U.S. was drawn into a group alongside Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and rivals Mexico.

“With a lot of games in a short amount of time, we will need the contributions of all 20 players on this roster to achieve our ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,” Kreis said.

“This is our sixth time together with this U-23 group, so I think we have a real firm understanding of how we want to play and who we want to be.”

The U.S. begins qualifying on March 20 against Costa Rica before facing the Dominican Republic three days later.

After that, they’ll close out group play on March 26 against Mexico, with all three group matches are being played in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Here’s a closer look at the full squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)
 
DEFENDERS: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien)
 
MIDFIELDERS: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

FORWARDS: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers.), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas)