SAN ANTONIO, TX – APRIL 15: Jordan Morris #8 of the United States advances the ball against Mexico during an international friendly match at the Alamodome on April 15, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
The U.S. under-23 men’s national team won its first game in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Thursday, beating Canada 3-1 in Kansas City.
A brace from Stanford’s 20-year-old star Jordan Morris sent the United States to the top of Group A. Morris scored in the first minute and the 73rd minute while Luis Gil tacked on a penalty goal in extra time.
Canada got its lone goal in the 80th minute.
Cuba and Panama, the other two team in Group A, played to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Women’s soccer is more important to the Olympics than men’s soccer with the tournament devoted to U-23 teams, most world powers all but ignore it in favor of the World Cup and media coverage is at best subdued.
While the U.S. anonymously opens its campaign against Canada tonight on a minor TV channel in the Midwest, El Tri will take center stage in the nation”s largest Latino market, Southern California for the next 10 days, a span that will also include the massive Confederations Cup playoff in Pasadena.
Also, tickets for a pair of doubleheaders set for Oct. 2 and 4 involving 2012 Olympic Gold medalists Mexico go on sale 10 a.m. Friday.
Here’s more from the press release:
A total of eight teams will compete in the tournament: three from North America (direct qualifiers: Canada, Mexico and the United States), three from Central America and two from the Caribbean. The USA was seeded as the tournament host in Group A. Mexico, the defending Olympic Qualifying Tournament champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was seeded in Group B.The rest of the teams will be placed into the groups at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament draw, which is set to take place Aug. 18 in Los Angeles.
Winners of the semifinal matchups will qualify for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and advance to the Oct. 13 final, while the losers will meet in a third place match.The third-place winner will qualify for the CONCACAF – CONMEBOL playoff, where it will face Colombia in a final opportunity to qualify for the Olympics in Rio.
In six matches between the U.S. U-23’s and Mexico since 1992 (when Olympic soccer was first designated as an Under-23-tournament), the USA has gone 5-2-0, including a victory during the squads last matchup on Feb. 29, 2012 by a score line that has become familiar for these two rivals: 2-0.
Mexico, the defending Olympic champion, went an undefeated 10-0-1 in its 11 matches in 2012 on the way to the gold medal and will look to continue that success with the 20-man roster it has brought to Carson for this match.
The 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship will be played in the United States from Oct.1-13.
Magic Morris: After scoring the winner on his USMNT debut against Mexico, Jordan Morris will attempt to repeat the feat Wednesday in Carson for the U-23 team (AP Photo)
In a move that should add a twist of intrigue to Wednesday’s U-23 pre-Olympic qualifying tune-up in Carson against Mexico, USMNT and Stanford star Jordan Morris was named to the roster Monday along with the Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal and Oscar Sorto.
Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Jon Kempin (San Antonio Scorpions; Leawood, Kan.); defenders: Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles), Sam Strong (UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; Lawrenceville, Ga.); midfielders: Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove,), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II; Holmdel, N.J.); forwards: Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Alfred Koroma Shams (Unattached; Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood.)
Tickets are still available; the game is also live at 8 p.m. on UniMas.
Robbie Rogers, who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and became the first openly gay athlete in MLS when he signed for the Galaxy earlier this year, has addressed the issue of Russia’s anti-gay laws against the backdrop of the forthcoming Olympics in this USA Today column.