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With Gil to join U-20s for training camp, a look at busy season ahead

With Luis Gil joining the national U-20s for a week-long training camp before the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, a look at what could be a hectic season for him — and for Real Salt Lake.

Rich Schultz

As expected, Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil has been called up to the USMNT U-20s for a week-long training camp. He's one of a few MLS players involved and is certainly one of the more senior players of all involved.

It's set to be the first in a string of youth national team departures for the youngster, and it's expected that he'll miss a big chunk of preseason as the US U-20s attempt to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Should the U.S. advance from the three-sided group with Costa Rica and Haiti as opponents, they could be involved in action until the final on March 3.

Qualification for the U-20 World Cup would ensure Gil misses a considerable chunk of the summer MLS fracas, with the tournament running from June 21 to July 13. All group stage matches would be completed by June 29.

With Gil likely to be absent for significant swathes of the season, Real Salt Lake's midfield depth seems likely to be tested. With Javier Morales' future at the club still hanging in the balance, Jason Kreis could find himself grasping at straws once again come the season opener. That season opener is set for March 2, according to a Real Salt Lake press release.

With Yordany Alvarez recently pegged by RSL GM Garth Lagerwey for a spot in the outside of the midfield diamond, the problem may not be as significant as it would seem. Additionally, Sebastian Velasquez, David Viana, Enzo Martinez, and newcomer Cole Grossman could provide depth in Gil's absence, as he's expected to play a significant role in 2013, his fourth season at the club.

Kreis and Lagerwey will certainly be watching the U-20s with bated breath, but it would be near-impossible to deny Gil the opportunity to represent his nation on the world stage. The experience for Gil and perhaps the long-term effects on his confidence and abilities would be worth the short-term pain it might cause.

Key dates

2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship

Group stage: Feb. 18: Haiti v. U.S.; Feb. 22: U.S. v. Costa Rica

Quarter-finals: Feb. 26 & 27

Semi-finals: March 1

Finals / Third Place: March 3

From a Real Salt Lake press release:

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Tomas Gomez (Georgetown; Webster Groves, Mo.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (6): Dakota Edwards (Maryland; Sayville, N.Y.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Unattached; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (Wake Forest; Chevy Chase, Md.), Daniel Metzger (Maryland; Holmdel, N.J.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool FC; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Wil Trapp (Akron; Gahanna, Ohio)

FORWARDS (7): Brandon Allen (Georgetown; Old Bridge, N.J.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Darius Madison (Virginia; Philadelphia, Pa.), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)