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Besler and Zusi Called Up for World Cup Qualifiers

Half of Sporting Kansas City’s starting defense was named to the USA’s roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

MLS: Sporting KC at Columbus Crew SC
Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have been named to the US roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arena has named his roster for the United States’ men’s national team upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico. The 27 man roster will also have a friendly against Venezuela before the pair of important World Cup qualifiers. Two Sporting Kansas City players were named to Arena’s roster for the upcoming games, team captain Matt Besler and right back, Graham Zusi.

The US will train in Denver, Colorado, the site of the game against Trinidad on June 8th. Five days before the qualifier, the US will take on Venezuela in a friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. This cycle of World Cup qualifiers will finish on June 11th when the US will travel to Estadio Azteca to take on Mexico. Currently the USA sit fourth in the fifth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on four points through four games.

Besler is one of six center backs named to the roster ahead of the games (although Geoff Cameron can also play right back) while Zusi is one of three right backs brought into camp. With the roster currently at 27 there would seem to be a likelihood that players get cut loose before the World Cup qualifiers. Besler and Zusi are the two players with the most caps for their country while playing with Sporting Kansas City, Zusi currently leads the way with 46 while Besler sits on 39 at this time.

Should both players remain with the national team through the three games, the pair would miss two Sporting KC games, and return shortly before a third. The pair would miss next weekend’s home game against Minnesota United on June 3rd as well as the following week’s home game against the Montreal Impact on the 10th. After the US games are done, Besler and Zusi would likely get back just before Sporting takes on Minnesota again on the 14th in a US Open Cup match.

The call ups would leave Kansas City with a number of changes to make along their back line with Saad Abdul-Salaam and Igor Juliao likely to fill in for Zusi while Kevin Ellis would be the favorite to start next to Ike Opara. With Erik Palmer-Brown still with the US U20 team at the World Cup it does leave Sporting short at center back.