Three Sporting Kansas City players have been called into camp for the U.S. for the final two games in the Hexagonal. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have been regulars with the U.S. Men’s National Team but the addition of Benny Feilhaber was a bit of a surprise.
Besler, Feilhaber and Zusi were named to the U.S. Men's National Team Sunday that will face Panama and Trinidad &Tobago in their last two World Cup qualifying matches. The USMNT hosts Panama on October 6th and then travel to face Trinidad & Tobago on the 10th.
"It's a roster we've selected that we believe will give us success in these next two games. We have a pretty balanced roster with experienced players," Arena said via press release. "The players always give the commitment, that's never an issue. The issue is whether we get the results we need, and I think we're positioned to do that. I think if it comes down to where we need four or six points in our last two games, I think that's fine and we'll get it done."
Wins over Panama and Trinidad & Tobago would ensure the U.S. a top-three finish and an eighth consecutive World Cup appearance. A fourth place finish would see the U.S. face an Asian conference team in a two-legged playoff in November.
Besler and Zusi have been regulars under Arena and Jurgen Klinsmann before him but Feilhaber last played in a qualifier in 2009. The Sporting KC midfielder was called up by Arena for a pair of friendlies in January where he performed well in friendlies with against Serbia and Jamaica. Feilhaber got the assist on a Morris goal in the 1-0 win over Jamaica.
The trio will miss Sporting KC’s match against Minnesota on Oct 7th and will presumably be unavailable for the match in Houston on the 11th.
The Houston match on the 11th may be perfectly timed for Zusi who received a red card Saturday night against Vancouver. While on international duty a player cannot serve a suspension but Zusi’s international duty would be over and he should be able to serve that suspension in a game he would not play in anyway.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals)
DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 35/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 12/1), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 24/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 16/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 4/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; (8/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 20/3)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 5/0), Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 0/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 5/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 9/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 38/7), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City; 6/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 9/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 11/5), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 4/1)
** Zardes was called up ha withdrawn due to injury suffered Saturday night **
Three other Sporting KC players called up for international play
Sporting Kansas City forward Soony Saad and midfielders James Musa and Kevin Oliveira have been named to their respective national teams.
Saad again joins the Lebanon Men's National Team for a 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea. Saad came off the bench for a 2-2 draw at North Korea on Sept. 5.
Musa earned another call from New Zealand for a friendly with Japan on October 6th. The All Whites won the OFC Playoff Final when they rolled over the Solomon Islands 8-3 on aggregate in September.
As the OFC Champions, they will play the fifth-place finisher form CONMEBOL (South American region) to determine which team will go to the World Cup. The All-Whites are using this friendly to prepre for that match-up.
Oliveira joins the Cape Verde Men's National Team for a World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Oct. 7 in Cape Verde.
Oliveira has appeared for the Cape Verde U-16’s previously and was called up for Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Uganda but did not appear in the match.