Matt Besler controls the ball against Honduras; Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Zusi, Besler and US Soccer vs. Jamaica

Jun 18, 2013; Sandy, UT, USA; USA midfielder Graham Zusi (19) controls the ball while defended by Honduras defender Arnold Peralta during the second half at Rio Tinto Stadium. USA won 1-0.     Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night in Kansas City, The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will take on Jamaica to finish the qualification for the World Cup. The U.S. qualified in September, but manager Jurgen Klinsmann says that these matches are not to be taken lightly,

For the rosters against Jamaica, the thought process was the same as all the previous qualifiers. We want to win these games. We want to finish off the year on a high note, but we also want to make the game against Jamaica a special one. It’s our last home game of 2013, and we have had tremendous support from all the fans throughout the country wherever we have played. [link]

Among the players representing the Stars-and-Stripes will be Sporting Kansas City’s own, defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi. Klinsmann had good things to say about the Sporting players, “Both Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are really great examples of how you can break through to the highest level through hard work, through total commitment, and through quality,” he said “For them, it will be a very special game in front of their home crowd.”

Matt Besler will most likely start at center back. He has started in seven of the eight qualification games the Yanks have played so far and has gained the trust of U.S. Soccer fans over the past seven months. Besler was thrown onto the field during the Costa Rica match back in March and hasn’t given anyone a reason to doubt his ability.

Besler’s usual center back pairing is with Omar Gonzalez of the LA Galaxy, but Gonzalez will be out with a hip injury. Michael Orozco Fiscal, of team Puebla in the Liga MX, will replace Gonzalez on the depth chart, but it will most likely be Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron who will start next to Besler.

Graham Zusi will surely get the start at right wing in front of his hometown crowd, but he was not in the starting lineup of the Mexico match. Zusi’s talent as a good passer as the right side wing has come to define his role for the international team.

The Kansas City locals will not only see its local players on the field, but also its team’s manager. Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes will be honored in pregame ceremony commemorating his induction into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame  for his time as a player from 1988-1997.

The 18,467 seat Sporting Park will host the event. Tickets were sold out within minutes. It will be another great event for Kansas City soccer, as Sporting Park also hosted this years MLS All-Star Game.


The roster for the next two games (the other at Panama on Tuesday) was revealed earlier this week. The italicized players are who I think will be getting the start.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo, Brad Evans, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Clarence Goodson

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Aleandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Graham Zusi, Brad Davis

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Landon Donovan, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski


Interesting Note: LA Galaxy has requested the return of Landon Donavan.


Tags: Graham Zusi Matt Besler Sporting KC

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