(National) duty calls
Graham Zusi and Matt Besler head to Cleveland on Monday morning, where they will hook up with the U.S. men’s national team ahead of five upcoming matches.
“It’s a big month with three qualifiers and a couple tune-up games before then,” Zusi said.
The U.S. plays Belgium in a friendly Wednesday in Cleveland before a showdown with Germany on Sunday in Washington, D.C., as part of U.S. Soccer’s year-long centennial celebration.
The real work begins June 7 against Jamaica in Kingston when qualifying resumes for the 2014 World Cup.
The U.S. plays host to Panama on June 11 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle and wraps up the qualifying window June 18 against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
“We’re leaving tomorrow morning, so it’s a quick turnaround,” Besler said. “You have to change mindsets as quick as you can, take care of your body and get ready. It’s a different team and a different group of guys.”
• Right back Chance Myers returned after missing the last two games. He entered as a halftime substitute for Mechack Jerome.
“I wanted someone to get forward a lot more and I just didn’t feel like Jerome was,” coach Peter Vermes said. “Chance is very good going forward and we needed that in the second half to get back into the game.”
Forward Kei Kamara came on during the 52nd minute for midfielder Peterson Joseph in an effort to inject some life into the attack — a move that paid off with the 68th-minute equalizer.
• Roger Espinoza made an appearance during a pre-game ceremony.
Espinoza, who transferred to Wigan Athletic of the English Premier League on Jan. 1, first turned up at training Friday.
“It was great to see him around,” Besler said. “It was really fun to watch him play over in England this year and win the FA Cup.”
Unfortunately, Wigan also finished 18th among 20 teams in the EPL and relegated to the second division for next season.
| Tod Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org