Sporting Kansas City’s departures for national team duty added another name to their list today when it was announced that Sporting KC forward, Soony Saad had been called up by Lebanon for their Asian Cup qualification match against Malaysia on the 13th. Saad joins Matt Besler, Tyler Pasher, and Graham Zusi on international duty this coming week (Roger Espinoza pulled out of his call up for Honduras due to back spasms). The four players will miss Sporting’s league game this weekend against the Montreal and Impact and likely next Wednesday’s US Open Cup fourth round match against Minnesota United.
Saad has appeared eight time for his country, scoring three goals since choosing to represent Lebanon. Currently Lebanon is trying to qualify for their first AFC Asian Cup since 2000 when they hosted the tournament. After only one game in their group, Lebanon sit on top after a 2-0 win over Hong Kong. A win over Malaysia would put Lebanon in a good position to qualify for the tournament in January of 2019, with the top two from the group qualifying. The fourth team in their group is North Korea.
With Saad’s absence added to the list of players unavailable due to national team duty, it’ll force Peter Vermes to make two changes to the team that beat Minnesota with both Saad and Besler being unavailable. The return of Dom Dwyer should help fill Saad’s spot while the returning Erik Palmer-Brown or new signing Amer Didic would seem to be the favorites to replace Besler.