Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi were named to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster on Monday for a pair of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. “It’s an honor to be selected again, especially as these two games are very important,” Zusi said via press release. “There’s very little margin for error because you only have 10 games to qualify. We’re going to Colorado looking for all three points.”
Besler, the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, made his international debut earlier this year in a scoreless draw against Canada and was on the game day roster for the United States first-ever win on Mexican soil in an international friendly last August at Estadio Azteca.
“It’s exciting every time you get the opportunity to play for your country. Now I’m more focused on the team. I just want to go and win the games,” Besler said. “I feel like I’m definitely a part of this team and I’m ready to contribute.”
Zusi is becoming a regular for the U.S. and has appeared in each of the United States last four World Cup qualifiers. Zusi led MLS with 15 assists in 2012 and currently sits atop the assist charts with two.
Former Kansas City Wizards’ forwards Herculez Gomez and Eddie Johnson were also called up.
Klinsmann forced to use different players
The U.S. team has been hit with a string of injuries as eight players who were likely call ups are unavailable. Edgar Castillo (facial fractures), Timmy Chandler (hamstring), Steve Cherundolo (knee), Tim Howard (back), Fabian Johnson (hip), Jonathan Spector (ankle), Jose Torres (hamstring) and Danny Williams (illness).
Injuries is not the only issue, two more key players from previous years were not on the list as well. Longtime U.S. Captain Carlos Bocanegra has not been playing with his team so Klinsmann did not call him up and Landon Donovan is still searching for his soccer motivation and has not been practicing with his club.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals) – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa - 5/3 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire – 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake – 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake – 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 6/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 1/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby – 5/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes – 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla – 26/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake – 2/0), Michael Bradley (Roma – 20/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana – 1/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 10/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 – 6/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City – 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 4/0)