Shelton, Brooks, Green, Zelalem Headline U-23 Roster for Brazil Friendlies

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Deny Gallagher

After a disappointing CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Andy Hertzog has called in an eclectic group of players for his 19-man roster that will feature in a pair of friendlies against Brazil this week.

“These matches against Brazil are a huge opportunity for us,” Herzog said. “On one hand you have a strong challenging South American opponent in Brazil, with a playing style that’s similar to that of Colombia, and on the other we’ll get to experience playing in Brazil, which is where we hope to be next summer for the Olympics.”

In the roster is New York City FC’s Khiry Shelton, who began the 2015 season as a real revelation for the Bronx outfit, but finished the season only making 17 appearances after battling injury issues. On the U-23 level, the forward has made two prior appearances with Hertzog’s side in 2015.

The side called in for the upcoming friendlies is a mix of players with senior team experience and those who have become regulars in the Olympic team.

A major talking point in this roster reveal is the inclusion of John Brooks. The player, who has been called into the U-23 team for the first time, appears to have been dropped from the senior team after not receiving a call up for World Cup Qualifying. The decision to use the center back in a pair of friendlies against Brazil rather than in World Cup Qualifying will certainly be a topic of debate in the coming weeks.

Another headline grabber will be the inclusion of two of the United States biggest prospects. The potential pairing of Julian Green and Gedion Zelalem in the midfield will give fans plenty of reason to be excited for the upcoming slate of games.

In addition, the return of MK Dons backup keeper Cody Cropper to the fold will be a big boost for Hertzog’s side, as the U-23s look to get back on track against Brazil.

The first of two matches will take place on November 11 in Recife at 6 p.m. ET.

Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (MK Dons; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Leeds United; Cleveland, Ohio), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City; Leawood, Kan.)

DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), Shane O’Neill (Royal Mouscron; Boulder, Colo.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Dave Romney (LA Galaxy; Irvine, Calif.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wisc.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.)

FORWARDS (3): Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC; Leander, Tex.), Maki Tall (FC Sion; Washington,


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