Jackson Yueill - JT Marcinkowski - 2021 - Olympic Qualifying
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FEATURE: Yueill, Marcinkowski proving influential at Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship

The United States U-23 National Team, led by San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill and goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, punched its ticket to the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship semifinals on Sunday afternoon. The 4-0 victory over the Dominican Republic, which followed a 1-0 win over Costa Rica last week, assures the U.S. of at least a second-place finish in Group A with one match still to play.

Yueill, who turned 24 last Friday, entered the qualifying competition as the most senior player on the U-23s with nine full national team caps. Wearing the captain’s arm band, Yueill started and played 90 minutes and tallied an assist against Costa Rica last Thursday, and then started and played 80 minutes and scored the game-winning goal against the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

Marcinkowski, 23, also added his grain of sand to the Olympic squad. He started and played 90 minutes on Sunday, securing a clean sheet and maintaining the United States’ perfect defensive record in the tournament. He has also received prior senior national team call-ups (May 2019, January 2020, December 2020), and most recently appeared in all eight training camps for the U-23s cycle.

With a perfect 2-0-0 record after two matches, Team USA is currently in second place on goal differential behind first-place Mexico, their upcoming opponent. And although both teams have already qualified for the semifinals, it will determine seeding and give the winning side pride in the heated rivalry. A draw would be enough for Mexico to take first place in Group A.

“We will want to beat Mexico,” U.S. U-23 Coach Jason Kreis said after Sunday’s match. “We will want to win this group.”

Having qualified to the knockout round, the U.S. will face a team from Group B in the semifinals on March 28. With second group stage games on the line this Monday, Canada and Honduras are said to be the top candidates to advance, with one of them potentially going up against the U.S. Also in Group B is El Salvador, led by Quakes midfielder Eric Calvillo and Quakes Academy goalkeeper Damian Alguera, who maintain a chance to move to the next round.

A win on March 28 would confirm Team USA’s participation in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and see them move on to the tournament championship match on March 30.

Kickoff between the U.S. and Mexico from Jalisco Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 24. The match will be broadcast live on FS1 and TUDN.

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