Crew midfielder Wil Trapp and the United States begin their 2013 U-20 World Cup Qualifying campaign against Haiti on Monday night in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships in Puebla, Mexico. The Homegrown product from Gahanna, Ohio has been a mainstay in Head Coach Tab Ramos' camp leading up to the tournament, and figures to be an influential figure in the United States' midfield.
The U.S. features in Group A of the 12-team tournament with Haiti and Costa Rica as the top four nations will advance to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer.
Monday night's match against Haiti can be found on FOX Soccer Channel, and will be shown live at 6:30 p.m. ET.
While Jairo Arrieta will join the Crew's preseason camp in Orlando, Fla. in the coming days, another player has left the Black & Gold for International duty.
Homegrown rookie midfielder Wil Trapp left Columbus Thursday morning for Puebla, Mexico, the site of the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Trapp has been a mainstay in the U.S. U-20 National Team's midfield over the last two years, as the Stars and Stripes hope to qualify for 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer. The top four teams in Mexico will move on to the big stage in Turkey. The U.S. failed to qualify for the last World Cup in 2011.
"It's going to be big," Trapp said before leaving Columbus. "I'm excited just because the 20s as team last time did not qualify [for the World Cup]. We want to kind of make-up for that and do well and qualify for the World Cup. It's a huge stage. I just want to make it, big time."
Trapp spent 10 days with the U.S. U-20 National Team in Puebla in January to prepare for the altitude issues the team will face in the tournament before joining the Crew for its preseason trip to Bradenton, Fla. The United States has been placed in Group A of the tournament with Costa Rica and Haiti. Trapp and the U-20s will kick off play on February 18 against Haiti.
Costa Rica advanced to the Final of the 2013 Cope Centroamericana on Friday night following a 1-0 win against El Salvador. Crew striker Jairo Arrieta started the match and played 65 minutes before being subbed off for Portland TImbers defender Rodney Wallace. Wallace scored the winner six minutes later to propel La Sele to the championship match.
Costa Rica will take on Honduras in the Final at the Estadio Nacional at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Crew striker Jairo Arrieta and Costa Rica completed group play in the 2013 Copa Centroamericana Tuesday night with a 1-1 draw against Guatemala. Arrieta tallied his second goal of the tournament in the 12th minute to help La Sele finish at the top of Group A.
The Ticos will resume play in the semifinal of the tournament against El Salvador on Friday. Costa Rica previously claimed a spot in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with its 2-0 win over Nicaragua on Sunday. Cities and venues for the 2013 Gold Cup will be announced on Wednesday.
Costa Rica solidified its place in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 2-0 win against Nicaragua on Sunday night. Crew striker Jairo Arrieta entered the match as a 66th minute substitute on Sunday after providing the difference-maker in Friday's 1-0 victory over Belize.
With the win, La Sele sits atop Group A in Copa Centroamericano. The TIcos will complete group play Tuesday night against second-place Guatemala.
MATCH REPORT: Costa Rica 2 - Nicaragua 0
Costa Rica kicked off play in the 2013 Copa Centroamericano late Friday night, with Crew striker Jairo Arrieta providing the difference in the host country's 1-0 victory over Belize. Arrieta's 55th minute tally was his first goal for La Sele in five career caps.
The Ticos will resume play in the tournament on Sunday against Nicaragua. Copa Centroamericano runs until January 27 and the top five teams in the seven-team tournament qualify for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, Arrieta may not report to Crew training camp at that point as La Sele begins the Hexagonal round of 2014 World Cup Qualifying in Panama on February 6.
Match Report: Costa Rica 1 - Belize 0 (in Spanish)
Photo Credit: Imagenesencostarica.com
Costa Rican Olman Vargas rejoined the Crew at training in Obetz on Thursday after spending the past week and a half representing his country in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. The striker feels he has grown with his experience on the International level.
"It was a really good experience, especially with World Cup Qualifying," Vargas said Thursday through a translator. "The games are different. It made me grow as a player. I hope I can help the team and be called-up for the next qualifying games."
The transition from the Costa Rican national team back to the Crew is a smooth one, Vargas said.
"It's not really difficult, because I know the way that Robert wants me to play," he explained. "The way the team plays is like the way the national team plays. It makes it easy because I was here earlier in the year and adapted to the system and with the group. The transition isn't that complicated."
Vargas came on as a substitute in La Sele's 2-2 draw against El Salvador last Friday, but was unused in Tuesday's win in Guyana.
The striker is fit and says he's ready if called upon by Robert Warzycha on Saturday night.
It's never to late to scout the enemy.
Check out highlights from Toronto FC's 1-1 draw against Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions League last night:
Crew rookie Kevan George and the U23 Trinidad & Tobago National Team will kick off CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying against Mexico tonight in Los Angeles. George scored in the Soca Warriors' final preparation match against Clarema United on Sunday. Friday night's match vs. Mexico can be found on Universal Sports Network and streaming online at CONCACAF.com. Kickoff is slated for 11:30PM EST.