It was one year ago Wednesday that Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler enjoyed his breakout performance with the United States men’s national team. He anchored a back line that shut out rival Mexico in a scoreless draw in Mexico City.
The anniversary came with some good news.
Besler and Sporting KC teammate Graham Zusi were selected to the national team roster for its friendly against Mexico on April 2 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Both players will still be available for Sporting Kansas City’s match on Saturday in Colorado.
The international friendly against Mexico comes less than three months before the national team will travel to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It opens against Ghana on June 16.
“This is an important game for us,” said Besler, who has became the regular starting left-center back for the United States. “Most guys are making cases for themselves to make the roster, but I think more important, as a team, we are trying to make a case for ourselves to learn how to play better with each other and get that chemistry.”
Zusi became a fan favorite in Mexico when he scored a stoppage time goal against Panama last October. The goal helped Mexico leapfrog Panama and eventually qualify for the World Cup.
Zusi was later dubbed “San Zusi” among Mexican soccer fans, which translates to Saint Zusi.
They likely won’t be so friendly Wednesday.
“It’s one of our big rivals,” Zusi said. “It’s another big test before the World Cup, so any opportunity where we can get on the field together is an opportunity to get better as a team.”