The Quest for Olympic Qualification Begins Wednesday for Sam Vines, Jonathan Lewis and the U.S. U-23 MNT -

On Wednesday, Sam Vines, Jonathan Lewis and the rest of the U.S. U-23 MNT will begin their quest toward Olympic qualification at the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.


Team USA is looking to qualify for their first Olympic Games since 2008. The team will begin competing March 18 and will have three total group stage matches. The top two teams in each group will then move on to the semifinal and the winners onto the final. Both finalists will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. As an international rule, the Olympics for the men’s side is for players age 23 and under, plus the availability for three additional players over 23.


It is likely that both Vines and Lewis will be heavily featured in the team’s upcoming matches. In their last call-ups with the full team, Lewis scored two goals, his first for the senior side, and played the full 90-minute contest against Trinidad and Tobago. Vines, a Rapids Homegrown, also started the match and added his first USMNT assist.


In January, U-23 head coach Jason Kreis spoke very highly of Vines’ recent progression.


“Sam is a really interesting player from my point of view because he really wasn’t on anyone’s radar about a year and a half ago,” Kreis said. “But through his production and through him stepping forward with his career in Colorado, through the opportunity he’s been given with the Rapids, he’s shown he’s quite a capable player, beyond his years, really, as an outside back in MLS. He pushed his way into the scene. Every time we’ve had him, we’ve been more and more impressed.”


And for Lewis, this is an opportunity for him to really make an impression on a big stage.


“Jonathan Lewis continues to be an interesting guy, and mostly because what he can bring for you in the attacking third, and what he can do for you mostly when the game starts to become more open,” Kreis said. “Some of his best performances with the Rapids have actually been when he’s come off the bench… The challenge for him going forward… is whether he can sustain those things in a starting role.”


Fans will have the opportunity to watch the matches on FS1. See the group breakdown and schedule below.


Group Stage


Group A

GP
W
L
D
GF
GA
GD
Pts
United States
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Mexico
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Costa 
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Dominican Republic
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Thurs., March 18
United States vs. Costa Rica
3:30 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Thurs., March 18
Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
6 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Sun., March 21
Dominican Republic vs. United States
5 pm MT
Estadio Akron
Sun., March 21
Costa Rica vs. Mexico
7:30 pm MT
Estadio Akron
Wed., March 24
Costa Rica vs. Dominican Republic
5 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Wed., March 24
Mexico vs. United States
7:30 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco

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Group B

GP
W
L
D
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Canada
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Honduras
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Haiti
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
El Salvador
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Fri., March 19
Honduras vs. Haiti
1:30 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Fri., March 19
Canada vs. El Salvador
4 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Mon., March 22
Haiti vs. Canada
4 pm MT
Estadio Akron
Mon., March 22
El Salvador vs. Honduras
6:30 pm MT
Estadio Akron
Thurs., March 25
El Salvador vs. Haiti
5:30 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Thurs., March 25
Honduras vs. Canada
8 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco

Semifinals

Sun., March 28
1B vs. 2A
4 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco
Sun., March 28
1A vs. 2B
7 pm MT
Estadio Jalisco

Final

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Tues., March 30
Concacaf Olympic Qualifying final
7 pm MT
Estadio Akron