the United State The start of the U-20 team FIFA U-20 World Cup On Saturday with the opening of the group stage against Ecuador(2 p.m. EST, FOX Soccer Plus). matches vs Fiji And Slovakia Will follow later this month. And despite the absence of several age-appropriate players – including the first-team striker Ricardo Pepe Coach Mickey Varas and his players would love their chances to take a deep tour of Argentina.
“If your expectations are not trying to win them, I think that’s the wrong mentality,” Faras told reporters on a call Friday. “Our final first milestone is to get out in the group stage. And in order to do that, we need to start accumulating points.
“We are here to win,” he added.
The United States has never won the U-20 World Cup. At the same time, Americans have every reason to believe that on their first trip they can return to the event that has been held every two years since 2019. (The 2021 edition was canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic). They captured the Senior World Cup, this tournament is different. Ukraine She won it all the last time. GhanaAnd Serbia And Mexico Among the other last heroes.
And despite the lack of Pepi, a senior member of the team who can start at USMNT In the CONCACAF Nations League In next month’s semi-final against Mexico, as well as several other players who have yet to be released by their club teams for the tournament, Varas has a squad with surprising experience. Four members of the coach’s 21-man roster have actually played for the United States at the senior level, more than any other on the 24-team.
Besides, many of the participants had less luck assembling a full-strength combo; France, 2013 champion, no fewer than 28 release requests were rejected. For those who are approved, the trip can be invaluable. future stars from Diego Maradona to Lionel Messi to Erling Halland They were starred in previous editions. For most others, the U-20 World Cup is their only chance to represent their nations on the world stage.
“This is a great development opportunity,” Faras said. “But part of this development equation is finding ways to win.”
With that in mind, here are five US players you should keep an eye on when the action kicks off:
straight ahead: Kid QuillAnd San Jose Earthquakes
With 92 MLS appearances and 44 starts – including all 11 for the Quakes in 2023 – the physical winger has plenty of experience. He has already earned three senior caps for the American men and was the most dangerous offensive player on the USMNT squad in January’s 2-1 loss against Serbia. He also started last month’s 1-1 draw with Mexico.
Coyle was suspended for the Ecuador match for his role in a post-match altercation after a qualifying match against him Costa Ricabut Varas will be counting heavily on California when he returns.
Midfielder: Daniel EdelmanAnd New York Red Bulls
A highly dangerous defensive midfielder, Edelman has emerged as a starter for the Red Bulls this season. The USA captain arrived in Argentina after perhaps his two best performances as a professional: a 1-0 win in the derby last week New York City F.C and another against D.C. United in the US Open Cup. Edelmann scored 90 minutes in both 1-0 wins.
“I feel good now,” he said on the eve of Saturday’s opener. “Going into this camp after those two games, I feel like I was flying.”
Midfielder: Jack McGlynnAnd Philadelphia Union
with his former teammate Paxton Aronson Call-up rejected by the German club Eintracht FrankfurtLeft-footed McGlynn will be relied upon to make play in the midfield position between Edelman and the expected starter Darren Yabe.
“Philly is pressing, so he’s very comfortable because we tend to attack a little bit with longer possessions,” Faras said of McGlynn, who has made eight consecutive appearances in all competitions for the 2022 MLS Cup runner-up, including both legs of the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League semi-final against LAFC. “He’s a great player, he’s able to adapt and do what the coach needs to do.”
A goal keeper: Gabriel Slonina “Gaga”And Chelsea (England)
It is rare for a teenager to start every week at club level. For a guard, it’s almost unheard of. However, the 6’4″ Slonina, who turned 19 on Monday, did just that last season for Chicago fire. English giants Chelsea have tapped him for a $10m transfer fee, and although he is still far from being the Blues’ top-flight finisher, these delegates will be invaluable in Argentina.
“He’s one of the best pros I’ve ever met,” Varas said of Slonina, who was great in his USMNT debut early this year. “Having played so many games with the Chicago Fire he brings experience in terms of high pressure moments that the group will definitely benefit from.”
Defensive midfielder: Caleb WileyAnd Atlanta United
Wiley, then just 18, won his first international cap last month and has been a superstar with his club this season, scoring three goals and two assists in 12 MLS appearances (11 starts). Those attacking pieces will come in handy with a fellow defender/winger Kevin Paredes He is not due to arrive from Germany’s Wolfsburg until the knockout stage.
“We’ll see what he’s going to do with this club now in Atlanta,” Edelman said. “The ability to play left wing back, left wing, or frankly anywhere we need him to play, he’s just a guy who shows his leadership by example and does his talking on the field.
“We may be mixed up because some men are not there, or some men may come later,” Edelman continued. “But we are very confident in what we have here.”
Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports, and has covered the United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cup tournaments. Follow him on Twitter at @employee.
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