After getting his first taste of international action earlier this month, Fire rookie Matt Polster will get another shot at representing the United States at the Under-23 level.
On Friday afternoon, U.S. Soccer released the roster for 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. Head coach Andi Herzog included Polster - one of eight players from Major League Soccer - in the 20-man squad that will help the team vie for a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m honored to get another chance to represent my country and play with the Under-23s in the Olympic Qualifying tournament,” Polster said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to get back in with the team and play against some exciting competition in the group against Canada, Panama and Cuba.”
The tournament will take place from Oct. 1-13. The U.S. will commence Group A play against Canada on Oct. 1 before facing Cuba on Oct. 3 at Sporting Park. Herzog's group will wrap up the group stage with a match against Panama on Oct. 6 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
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If results bode well, the U.S. - which failed to advance past the group stage in qualifying for the 2012 Olympics - would progress to the knockout rounds in Salt Lake City. Mexico, the defending Olympic gold medalist, makes up Group B along with Costa Rica, Haiti and Honduras. The top two teams from each group will proceed to the semifinals. The tournament finalists - winners of the semifinals - automatically clinch a spot in the Olympics, while the third-placed team will face Colombia in March in a one-game playoff.
From Aug. 30-Sept. 8, Polster took part in the team's final preparation camp leading up to the October tournament, logging just under 30 minutes in a 1-0 loss to the England U-21s on Sept. 3 and playing the full 90 in a 2-0 win over Qatar on Sept. 8.
Polster will meet up with the team following the Fire's road match at Toronto FC on Sept. 26, and will miss the club's second-to-last home game of the regular season against the New England Revolution on Oct. 3.
The full U.S. U-23 roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Charlie Horton (Leeds; Cleveland Ohio), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).
Defenders (5): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.)
Midfielders (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wis.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).
Forwards (4): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Maki Tall (Scion; Washington, D.C.).