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Besler and Zusi called up for U.S. qualifying

The World Cup veterans join Roger Espinoza as the latest SKC players to be called up for qualifying

United States v Costa Rica: Group A - Copa America Centenario
Graham Zusi celebrates scoring a goal against Costa Rica during a match in the 2016 Copa America Centenario on June 7, 2016.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

U.S. Soccer announced over the weekend the roster for the next round of qualifying. Sporting Kansas City and World Cup veterans Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are on the 26-player United States Men's National Team roster for the key matchups with Mexico and Costa Rica.

The Hexagonal kicks off this week to determine who will represent CONCACAF in the 2018 World Cup. The final six teams remaining play each other once home and away over the next year to determine which three countries make the World Cup. The fourth place team plays the fifth place team from the Asian Federation to qualify also.

The U.S. drew rival Mexico for their first match and will play them at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio at 6:45 p.m. CT. Klinsmann’s team will then travel to face Costa Rica just four days later at Estadio Nacional in San Jose. The match will kick off at 8 p.m. CT.

Besler, 29, seemed to be in and out of favor with manager Peter Vermes throughout the season but ended 2016 as the starter again. The veteran center back has played some left back for as well for both the U.S. and Sporting KC. He has earned 37 caps for the United States, including eight appearances in 2016. Besler started twice at the 2016 Copa America and scored his first international goal in a win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, the same day his daughter was born.

Zusi has 41 caps for the U.S. with five goals and six assists. The 30-year-old mid/winger played five matches at the 2016 Copa and also started in a 6-0 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2.

Fellow Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza was called up last week for Honduras. Honduras opens the Hexagonal with home games against Panama on Nov. 11 (2:35 p.m. CT) and Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 15 (4:05 p.m. CT). Both matches will kick off at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula.


GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough; 11/0), Ethan Horvath (Molde; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 32/0), William Yarbrough (Club Leon; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 8/1), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 2/0), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin; 0/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; 0/0), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt; 1/0), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca; 10/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach; 13/1), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana; 5/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United; 4/0)

MIDFIELDERS (9):Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 29/5), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; 0/0), Julian Green (Bayern Munich; 0/0), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids; 14/0), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 17/2), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; 3/2), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz; 1/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 14/3)

FORWARDS (4):Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 31/16), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen; 3/1), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg; 6/2)