The U20 United States Men’s National team roster was released Tuesday for the upcoming CONCACAF Championship and it includes IU forwards Justin Rennicks and Griffin Dorsey.
The tournament runs from November 1 through November 21 meaning if the US team were to make a deep run, the Hoosiers could be without these three in the Big Ten Tournament and early rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Rennicks and Dorsey have been two of IU’s most dynamic players in 2018 combining for nine goals and three assists. Both have been integral parts of IU’s success. Rennicks has appeared in all 15 matches this season while Dorsey has missed just one from when he was called into the U20 roster in early September.
Only four collegiate players were chosen and IU had two of them.
How to fill the void of Dorsey
Dorsey might be the most difficult of the two to replace. There are worthy replacements in the starting XI for the Evergreen, Colorado native, but no one possesses the exact skill set that Dorsey provides for the Hoosiers.
What makes him so good is his ability to run downhill at defenders and make things happen in and around the box. He always has a knack for creating space on the wings and can unlock defenses with his speed.
Looking at the VCU match where he didn’t play, it was a bit of a shift on the wings. Cory Thomas moved to the right wing while Spencer Glass filled in on the left. With Glass starting, it shortens the IU bench, but there is still plenty of quality to replace Dorsey.
How to fill the void of Rennicks
The easy answer for replacing Rennicks will be to slot in AJ Palazzolo at striker. He’s started there in past matches when Rennicks started in the midfield and the Hoosiers didn’t really miss a beat.
What Palazzolo brings that Rennicks lacks is an aerial presence. What the Hoosiers will miss is Rennicks’ foot skills and passes in the box that he has been so good at this year. On multiple occasions, Rennicks has used his skill to evade defenders and get out of tough situations. That will no doubt be missed.
But if Palazzolo needs a break or isn’t producing, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Ian Black come off the bench or Trevor Swartz move higher up the pitch and maybe act as a false nine.
There is no doubt that losing these two players will hurt the Hoosiers. They are two of IU’s most important players, but there is still more than enough quality for the Hoosiers to get by. The heart of the midfield and the entire backline is still in place.
IU’s “next man up” mentality will be in full effect in arguably the most important few weeks of the season. The Hoosiers have all but wrapped up the Big Ten regular season title, but still have their eyes set on winning the Big Ten Tournament. There is a chance they also miss the first round or two of the NCAA Tournament.
Yeagley knew this would be a possibility that this would happen and now that it’s here, they will have to get by without the U20 duo.