Potential National Team Duties for Sporting KC Players in 2013

Christian Petersen

A look at the possible players from Sporting KC who may be called up to play for their national team as World Cup qualification gets more intense.

As qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil heats up in 2013, some players from Sporting Kansas City may answer the call to play for their national team.

First let's take a look at the potential call-ups for the United States National Team, who will be competing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as the hexagonal stage of World Cup Qualification.

United States

Graham Zusi

The Sporting KC midfielder has been called up six times in the past for the US National Team, getting to play in World Cup qualification matches and friendlies in 2012. He started in 5 matches in 2012, including qualification matches against Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Guatemala.

Zusi has scored one goal, the lone goal against Panama in a friendly in January 2012. However, Zusi was still a force, picking up multiple assists in the 2012 matches.

After the performance Zusi turned in in 2012, It is very likely he will be called up once again to help the United States in their 2013 matches.

Matt Besler

Another Sporting KC player who came onto the national team scene in 2012 was defender Matt Besler. While Besler didn't make quite the impact Zusi did, I wouldn't be shocked to see Besler called up again.

Besler was part of the squad that went into Mexico and won the first match for the United States at the famous Estadio Azteca ever. Besler didn't get into the match, but the honor of simply being a part of the roster is a stepping-stone.

While his place on the team is not as cemented as Zusi's, I wouldn't be shocked to see him called into camp and possibly featured in a couple of early Gold Cup matches.

Chance Myers

Chance Myers is another young defender who may get some national team experience this year. While the senior national team hasn't called up Myers yet, he has experience with some of the youth national teams, playing for the U-18, U-20 and U-23 teams, playing a total of seven matches.

Myers' play in 2012 in helping Sporting KC have one of the best defenses in the league may be rewarded with a call-up in 2013, but don't be surprised if it doesn't happen. But who knows, he may be this year's Graham Zusi.

CJ Sapong

CJ Sapong gained two caps in 2012 when he played in two early friendlies against Venezuela and Panama. He came in as a sub both matches.

Sapong was riding high going into 2012 after his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2011, and was called up for that. However, it doesn't look like he impressed too much as he wasn't called up again for the remainder of the year.

He might be called into camp in January, but I would be surprised if he is on the roster at the end.

Teal Bunbury

Teal Bunbury is coming off of a huge injury that will make him likely unavailable for the start of the 2013 Sporting Kansas City season, and will make him unavailable for January camp.

Because of this, and the emergence of other forwards such as Eddie Johnson into the picture, it is unlikely Bunbury will see any significant time. He may be called up for the Gold Cup, but that is the extent of it.

He is still eligible for the U-23 team, so he may see some action there.

Ike Opara

The new Sporting KC man saw some significant minutes for the U-23 team in 2012 as the United States failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. Even so, he won't be eligible for the team starting in February, and probably won't come close to sniffing a spot on the senior team.

His past experience with the team, however, still makes him a long shot candidate, but I wouldn't count on it.

Benny Feilhaber

Another newcomer with national team experience is Benny Feilhaber, who actually has the most national team experience out of anyone on Sporting KC.

Feilhaber has been featured in 31 matches for the US team since 2007, including getting minutes in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. However, he was only in one match for the USMNT in 2012, the January friendly against Venezuela.

While he has a ton of experience with the national team, his recent history points to him not being a big part of the team in 2013. If he does indeed get called up, it will most likely be for the Gold Cup.

And Sporting KC better hope Feilhaber and Zusi aren't called up at the same time.

Jon Kempin

Kempin is still eligible for the U-20 and the U-23 teams, so he may get some playing time there. Otherwise he probably won't be getting any national team time.

Other Countries

Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone)

Kamara was called up for three matches in 2012 for Sierra Leone, two World Cup qualification matches, and one match for qualification into the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations against São Tomé e Príncipe, against which he scored two goals.

He was also called up for a match in October Cup of Nations qualifying match against Tunisia, but did not play.

Since Sierra Leone is still in contention for qualification to the 2014 World Cup, Kamara will probably be pulled a couple of times this summer for matches.

Peterson Joseph (Haiti)

The "Haitian Xavi" will almost certainly be called up this summer for Haiti's venture into the 2013 Gold Cup, for which they are qualified.

Joseph has 11 caps for Haiti since 2008, and was part of the squad that placed third in the 2012 Caribbean Cup.

Joseph played in all five matches in the 2012 Caribbean Cup, so it can be assumed that he will be an integral part of the Haitian squad at the Gold Cup this summer.

Lawrence Olum (Kenya)

Olum generated some interest from the Kenyan national team in November for the CECAFA Cup, but was eventually dropped from the squad and wasn't featured in any matches.

It is doubtful that Olum will be called up again as he wasn't on the squad that tried to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, but may garner some more interest for some secondary cups, like the CECAFA Cup, in the future.

Sporting KC players could be very busy in 2013 on the international scene. There are many different regional cups and many different teams still trying to qualify for the 2014 World Cup that many players may be called up for this summer. Hopefully the excess amount of players potentially being called up won't effect Sporting KC's season too much, but it's fun at the same time to be able to lay claim to this many potential international players.

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