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Sporting KC trio called into US national team for January camp, friendly

The Sporting KC trio of Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Benny Feilhaber were included in Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the U.S. national team's January camp and January 29 friendly with Canada.


The passage of Sporting Kansas City's American talent making its way onto the United States national team roster moved full speed ahead on Sunday when U.S. national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann announced his squad of 25 players that would participate in this month's U.S. national team camp in Carson, CA, culminating with a friendly against Canada in Houston, TX on January 29.

Newly acquired Sporting KC midfield playmaker Benny Feilhaber headlines the trio of Sporting KC players included on the roster. Previously called-up midfielder Graham Zusi and defender Matt Besler will also participate and state their cases for upcoming World Cup qualifying roster spots.

The rest of the roster, from US Soccer:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

DEFENDERS (9): Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (out of contract), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Feilhaber, 27 years old and capped 31 times for the USMNT, was acquired by Sporting in December in exchange for allocation money and a pair of future draft picks. More so than the other two from Sporting, Feilhaber's performances in training and friendly will be a direct evaluation in Klinsmann's mind to determine Feilhaber's merit for a World Cup qualifying roster spot. Zusi, Mix Diskerud, Brad Davis and Alejandro Bedoya are all players that could play a similar role to Feilhaber against Canada, but it would be quite a shock if the veteran isn't the starter and given 60 to 75 minutes.

Zusi, 26 years old and 6 caps, is a player that entrenched himself on first team rosters for some time to come with stellar World Cup qualifying performances against Jamaica and Guatemala last fall. Given his first starts and meaningful first team minutes, Zusi burst onto the scene in a big way, especially against The Reggae Boyz in Columbus, OH on September 11. His long term future with the national team lies in the wide areas, whether it be on the right or the left side, something to which a positional shift with Sporting could prove an asset.

Besler, 25 and still in search of his national team debut, has considerably less national team experience than Zusi - translation: he's yet to see a minute's playing time for the Yanks - but will be one of a handful of players on this particular roster able to make a serious case for consideration when the final round of World Cup qualifying kicks off February 6 in Honduras, and resumes in late March against Costa Rica and away to Mexico.

Barring any injury setbacks, Besler and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez should be the centerback pairing chosen to take on The Canucks later this month. A standout performance from either of the two could see the duo make a case for a first team starting spot alongside Geoff Cameron in just a month's time, given captain Carlos Bocanegra's current injury situation.