Home / News / U.S. U-23 MNT Begins Road to London, Hosts Cuba on Thursday in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

U.S. U-23 MNT Begins Road to London, Hosts Cuba on Thursday in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

The USA opens with a 9 p.m. ET match against Cuba at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., televised on the Universal Sports Network, Mun2 and CONCACAF.com.

IN THE IMAGE: Juan Agudelo and the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team begin 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying on Thursday, March 22, against Cuba at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team

2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying – Group A

LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.

March 22-26, 2012


The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team opens Group A play in the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament against Cuba at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, March 22, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The match is televised live on the Universal Sports Network, Mun2 and CONCACAF.com. Fans can also follow the game via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. The U.S. will play three games in a five-day stretch, with group matches against Canada (7 p.m. ET, March 24) and El Salvador (9 p.m. ET, March 26) on the horizon. The USA is looking to advance to the 2012 London Olympics as the top two teams in CONCACAF will join a 16-team Olympic field.

Heading into Group A play, the U.S. had a combined 7-2-4 record against its three opponents: a 0-0-1 record against Cuba, 4-2-1 against Canada and 3-0-2 against El Salvador. All 13 previous matches have been during the Olympic Qualifying phase.

U.S. U-23 MNT 2012 Schedule

*CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Packet

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Bill Hamid (D.C. United; Annandale, Va.), 18-Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire; Lilburn, Ga.)

DEFENDERS (6): 2-Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes; Durham, N.C.), 3-Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; Huber Heights, Ohio), 4-Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), 5-Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact; Lancaster, Pa.), 13-Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), 19-Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union; Boston, Mass.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Jared Jeffrey (Mainz; Richardson, Texas), 7-Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union; Potomac, Md.), 8-Mix Diskerud (Gent; Oslo, Norway), 10-Joe Corona (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), 16-Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), 20-Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy; Naperville, Ill.)

FORWARDS (6): 9-Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), 11-Brek Shea (FC Dallas; Bryan, Texas), 12-Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City; Prior Lake, Minn.), 14-Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), 15-Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund; Berlin, Germany), 17-Tony Taylor (Estoril Praia; Jacksonville, Fla.)


  • Freddy Adu has played at nearly every tier for the U.S. National Teams, netting 16 goals for the U.S. U-17s, 16 goals for the U-20s, four goals for the U-23s and two goals for the senior team.
  • Adu scored all four of his goals for the U-23s during Olympic Qualifying for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Two of his goals came in the 3-0 semifinal win against Canada to qualify for the Games, and he was named to the tournament’s Best XI.
  • Thirteen players on the roster have played in at least one World Cup at the youth level, and four players – Adu, Jared Jeffrey, Shea and Sheanon Williams – have appeared in both the U-17 and U-20 tournaments.
  • The U-17 Residency Program developed 11 players who will represent the U.S. in Olympic qualifying: Adu and Michael Stephens from the 2003 cycle; Jeffrey, Amobi Okugo, Kofi Sarkodie, Shea and Williams from the 2007 cycle; and Agudelo, Joe Gyau and Kitchen from the 2009 cycle.
  • Juan Agudelo had 14 appearances and six starts while logging 683 minutes for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2011.
  • FC Dallas forward Brek Shea is the only player to earn a cap in all 10 matches under U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
  • Bill Hamid became the ninth goalkeeper in U.S. history to record a clean sheet in his first game with the U.S. MNT, making a save as the U.S. defeated Venezuela 1-0 on Jan. 21 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
  • Five players are plying their trade outside the United States, including midfielder Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Diskerud (Gent), forward Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), midfielder Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), and forward Tony Taylor (Estoril) Praia). Borussia Dortmund-based striker Terrence Boyd reports March 21 to Nashville.
  • Taylor was added to the training camp March 13 after Porter initially named a 19-player roster.
  • Joshua Gatt withdrew from the roster March 18 after being recalled by Molde when the club experienced several injury issues.
  • Williams became the 20th player on the roster March 20, the deadline day for submitting official rosters to CONCACAF.

4 Players who were coached by Caleb Porter at Akron (Teal Bunbury, Perry Kitchen, Kofi Sarkodie, Zarek Valentin)

4 Goals scored by Freddy Adu during the USA’s 2008 Olympic Qualifying
8 Players who have earned a cap with the U.S. senior team
13 Number of states represented on the roster
14 Players competing on MLS teams
54 Youth National Team appearances by Adu (15 U-17 games, 33 U-20 games and 6 U-23 games)


U.S. Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter is in his first full calendar year in charge of the U-23 Men’s National Team. Below are some of his past accomplishments as a player and coach.

  • Porter was named the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team head coach in October of 2011.
  • Porter is the head coach of the University of Akron men’s soccer team, where in 2010 he led the Zips to their first national championship in any sport.
  • Porter is 105-17-14 with Akron through six seasons, and he reached the century mark in fewer games (126) than Hall of Fame coaches Bruce Arena (140) of Virginia and Sigi Schmid (131) of UCLA.
  • Porter has recruited and developed 14 players who have been drafted into Major League Soccer in the past five years at Akron alone, including No. 1 overall selection Steve Zakuani (2009), No. 4 pick Teal Bunbury (2010) and No. 2 selection Darlington Nagbe (2011). Akron set an MLS record with five of the first eight selections in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and seven draftees overall.
  • Porter was an assistant coach at his alma mater Indiana for six years, beginning in 2000. The Hoosiers won five Big Ten Conference championships during that six-year stretch.
  • As a player, Porter won four Big Ten titles with Indiana and became only the second junior in Hoosiers history to captain the men’s soccer team. As a senior, Porter was the runner-up for the 1997 Hermann Trophy. Porter graduated from IU in 1997 with a degree in sports management.


The U.S. has fond memories of LP Field as four years ago the stadium hosted the game that allowed the team to change its title from U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team to 2008 Olympic Team. In the semifinal on March 20 against Canada, midfielder Freddy Adu scored a pair of goals and Sacha Kljestan added a third as the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 win and a spot in the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The U.S. lineup: 1-Chris Seitz; 2-Marvell Wynne, 3-Michael Orozco, 17-Jonathan Spector, 5-Nathan Sturgis; 16-Sacha Kljestan (14-Robbie Findley, 88) , 6-Maurice Edu (capt.), 10-Dax McCarty, 7-Stuart Holden; 11-Freddy Adu (20-Eddie Gaven, 82) 12-Jozy Altidore (9-Charlie Davies, 75)

In the other semifinal, Honduras triumphed over Guatemala 6-5 in penalties after a scoreless draw in regulation and extra time. Honduras went on to win the championship.


Football Association of Cuba (Asociacion de Futbol de Cuba)

Founded: 1924 (Joined FIFA in 1932)


  • The Cuban team arrived March 20 into Nashville, less than 48 hours before kickoff
  • Seven players from Cuba’s U-23 side are teammates with La Habana of Compeonato Nacional de Futbol.

USA Olympic History Against Cuba: The U.S. has faced Cuba only once in qualifying, the lone meeting coming at the start of the 2008 Olympic Qualifying process as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw on March 11, 2008, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Freddy Adu scored in the 14th minute to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Cuba’s Roberto Linares found the equalizer in the 42nd minute and both sides played a scoreless second half. Linares picked up a second yellow card in the 84th minute, but the USA could not find the go-ahead score with the brief one-man advantage.

Odisnel Despaigne, Julio Pichardo (La Tunas)

DEFENDERS (6): Yoisel Zalazar (Camaguey), Jose Cardenas, Renay Serrano Malblanche (Holguin), Felix Rondon (Granma), Adrian Diz Pe (La Habana), Dayron Blanco Joseph (Las Tunas)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Yosmel Lugo, Osay Martinez Domenech (La Habana), Ricardo Pena Dominguez (La Habana), Jorge Juara (La Habana), Maikel Chang Ramirez (La Habana), Carlos Francisco Serrano (Santiago)

FORWARDS (4): Daniel Saez (La Habana), Aricheell Mora, Heviel Cordoves Gonzalez (La Habana), Maykel Azcuy

Canadian Soccer Association

Founded: 1912 (Joined FIFA in 1913)


  • Seven players among the Canada U-23 roster are playing for MLS teams: Babayele Sodade of Seattle Sounders FC, Doneil Henry and Matt Stinson of Toronto FC, Bryce Alderson and Russell Teibert of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carl Haworth and Evan James of the Montreal Impact.
  • Canada’s Kyle Bekker completed his third season at Boston College in 2011, leading the team with seven assists and tied for the team lead with eight goals. Boston College advanced to the ACC Championship and participated in the NCAA Tournament, falling to Rutgers in the first round.
  • Midfielder Samuel Piette and forward Randy Edwini-Bonsu have played with Canada’s senior team.

USA Olympic History Against Canada: The U.S. has faced Canada seven times in Olympic Qualifying, posting a 4-2-1 record. During the qualification for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the U.S. put itself in a huge hole with a 2-0 loss on May 23, 1987. But one week later, needing three goals to avoid elimination, the USA found the back of the net just enough en route to a 3-0 win against Canada on May 30, 1987. Paul Krumpe had two goals and Jim Gabarra contributed the team’s third goal. The U.S. would win the next four matches and advanced to the 1988 Olympics.

The U.S. took on Canada in back-to-back games in 1992 Barcelona qualifying. The U.S. earned a 3-1 win against Canada on May 10, with Steve Snow scoring twice and Claudio Reyna adding another. The USA wrapped up qualifying with a 2-1 loss on May 17 as Snow scored the only U.S. goal, but the team already had qualified for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Canada and the U.S. played to a scoreless draw on April 25, 2000, during qualifying for the Sydney Olympics. Bobby Convey scored two goals on Feb. 5, 2004, to lead the U.S. to a 2-0 win against Canada during Athens Olympic Qualifying. And in 2008, the USA trounced Canada 3-0 on March 20 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., clinching a spot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Freddy Adu had two goals and Sacha Kljestan added a goal for the USA.

Adam Janssen (Minnesota Stars), Michal Misiewicz (FC Edmonton)

DEFENDERS (3): Andrés Fresenga (Racing Club de Montevideo), Nana Attakora (unattached), Doneil Henry (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Kyle Bekker (Boston College), Bryce Alderson (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Samuel Piette (FC Metz), Shaun Saiko (FC Edmonton), Philippe Davies (unattached), Sherif El-Masri (Courts Young Lions), Drew Beckie (unattached), Matt Stinson (Toronto FC)

FORWARDS (6): Marcus Haber (St. Johnstone FC), Babayele Sodade (Seattle Sounders FC), Lucas Cavallini (Nacional), Carl Haworth (Montreal Impact), Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Eintracht Braunsweig), Evan James (Montreal Impact)
Head coach: Tony Fonseca

Salvadoran Football Association (Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol)

Founded: 1935 (Joined FIFA in 1938)


  • Dustin Corea is a former U.S. U-17 international and played for El Salvador during Central American qualifying for the 2010 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
  • Lester Blanco has tallied four goals in the Salvadoran Apertura and three in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals for Metapan.

USA Olympic History Against El Salvador: The U.S. has faced El Salvador five previous times in qualifying, collecting an unbeaten 3-0-2 record. Monday’s matchup will be the first since the 1988 Olympic Qualifying tournament. The U.S. and El Salvador played three games during qualifying for the 1972 Munich Olympics. The sides played in two 1-1 draws on July 18 and Aug. 15, 1971. John Carenza had the USA goal in the first match and Manny Hernandez tallied in the second match. Al Trost scored the lone goal for the U.S. on Sept. 18, 1971, in the third meeting as the United States eventually qualified for the Olympics in 1972.

The U.S. offense was in top form during qualifying for the 1988 Seoul Olympics as it posted a 4-2 win on Oct. 18, 1987, followed by a 4-1 victory on May 25, 1988, in the second leg to earn their ticket to Seoul. In the Oct. 18 match, Hugo Perez had two goals and Brent Goulet and Frank Klopas each contributed one for the United States In the May 25 game, Goulet posted a pair of goals, Rick Davis added a third and the USA benefitted from an own goal.


GOALKEEPERS (2): Diego Cuellar (Atlético Marte), Jimmy Cuellar (Alianza FC)

DEFENDERS (4): Alexander Vidal (Atlético Marte), Moisés Xavier García (Firpo), Alexander Mendoza (UES), Milton Molina (Metapán)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Jaime Alas (Firpo), Richard Menjívar (Cal State Bakersfield), Darwin Cerén (Juventud Independiente), Elman Rivas (Alianza), Marlon Martínez (Firpo), Herbert Sosa (Alianza FC), Jorge Morán (Metapán), Edwin Sánchez (Metapán), Andrés Flores (Viborg), Diego Chavarría (Once Municipal)

FORWARDS (4): Jonathan Águila (Águila), José Gutiérrez (Águila), Dustin Corea (Blokhus FC), Léster Blanco (Metapán)
Head Coach: Mauricio Alfaro

* * *

On the field for USA:
Feb. 29, 2012 – FC Dallas Stadium – Frisco, Texas – International Friendly
USA     2   Agudelo 35, Diskerud 36
Mexico 0

USA : 1-Bill Hamid (18-Sean Johnson, 46); 3-Kofi Sarkodie, 2-Ike Opara (capt.), 4-Perry Kitchen, 5-Zarek Valentin; 6-Alfredo Morales (19-Amobi Okugo, 90), 8-Mix Diskerud, 10-Joe Corona; 7-Freddy Adu (17-Tony Taylor, 67), 9-Juan Agudelo (12-Teal Bunbury, 61), 11-Joe Gyau (14-Dilly Duka, 78)
Subs not used: 13-Jorge Villafana, 15-Jack McInerney, 16-Sebastian Lletget, 20-Michael Stephens
Head Coach: Caleb Porter

MEXICO : 1-Liborio Sanchez, 2-Israel Jimenez, 4-Nestor Araujo, 5-Darvin Chávez, 6-Ricardo Bocanegra (17-Javier Aquino, 46), 7-Javier Cortés, 9-Jeronimo Amione (19-Alan Pulido, 64), 10-Marco Fabian, 14-Jorge Enriquez (8-David Cabrera, 78), 16-Miguel Ponce (18-Hector Herrera, 46), 21-Ricardo Mier (capt.)
Subs not used: 11-Nestor Calderon, 12-Antonio Rodriguez, 13-Diego Reyes, 15-Jair Barraza, 20-Hugo Rodriguez
Head coach: Luis Fernando Tena

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