With each U-23 men's national team camp, San Jose Earthquakes rookie midfielder makes a bigger and better impression on the U.S. coaching staff at all levels, especially head coach Andi Herzog. And this week, as the U-23 squad continues its preparations ahead of qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Alashe has been called in as part of a 20-player roster that will take on Mexico's U-23 team on Wednesday, April 22, at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Alashe, 21 years of age, was previously called into the national team's camp in late March for a pair of friendlies in Europe. The rookie out of Michigan State made his international debut as a substitute and scored his first goal in a 5-2 victory over the U-21 team of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A week later, he made his first USMNT start and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Denmark.
Prior to his first national team call-up, Alashe had already earned the trust of Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear and was a regular fixture in San Jose's starting lineup. In the club's debut game at newly opened Avaya Stadium, Alashe scored his first MLS goal against the Chicago Fire. The goal also marked the first goal at the Quakes new stadium.
The current U-23 camp will only last a few days and will culminate with the match against Mexico, the defending Olympics champions, on Wednesday. The match will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. PT on UniMás and Univision Deportes Network. Check for the match streamed live online here. Fans can also follow along on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.
Tickets are available and can be purchased at ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
This roster is charged with experience as nine of its players were part of the USA's 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup Team and 11 participated in the U.S. U-23 camp in Europe this past March. The U-23s last played Mexico in 2012, posting a 2-0 victory that featured goals by current MLS stars Juan Agudelo and Mix Diskerud.
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Jon Kempin (San Antonio Scorpions; Leawood, Kan.)
DEFENDERS (8): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), 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, Calif), Sam Strong (UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; Lawrenceville, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II; Holmdel, N.J.)
FORWARDS (5): 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, Calif.), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
Nine players were a part of the USA's 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cody Cropper, Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O'Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal.
Jordan Morris made his first start and scored his first international goal with the senior MNT during the U.S. Men's National Team's 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
Eleven players from this roster were on the squad that defeated Bosnia's U-23 team 5-2 on March 27, including all five U.S. goal scorers from that game: Fatai Alashe, Morris, Rodriguez, Joya and Hernandez. Other players returning from that roster are Christian Dean, Ocegueda, O'Neill, Sorto, Gil, and Alfred Koroma Shams.
In addition to Gil captaining the USA during the win against Bosnia, he also assisted on three of the five tallies.
Cropper, Dean, Gil, Kempin, Morris, O'Neill, Serna and Sorto have all been part of a USMNT senior camp this year.
Gil and Morris are the only two players from the roster to have earned a cap with the senior team in 2015.
MLS has sent nine players for this roster with two players each from the Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.
Four players on the roster play for Mexican-based clubs (Three from Liga MX and one from Ascenso MX).
The 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying championship will be played in the United States from Oct.1-13