The call Matt Besler always dreamed about finally came Sunday as he was added to the U.S. men’s national team roster ahead of an international exhibition Wednesday with Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Besler, a Blue Valley West graduate, played for the under-20 national team during his college career at Notre Dame, but this is his first camp with the full national team.
Even better for Besler, an All-Star defender for Sporting Kansas City, he won’t be alone.
Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi also was included on U.S. men’s national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s roster, while fellow Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza was called up to the Honduras national team for its friendly with Argentina’s powerhouse Boca Juniors, which is Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
Besler and San Jose Earthquakes defender Steven Beitashour are the only players among the 22 invited to train who yet to make an appearance with U.S. men’s national team.
“I’ve been working hard to get the chance and it’s a blessing, so I hope I make the very best of it,” Besler said in a release from Sporting KC.
Besler and Zusi, who traveled to Mexico City on Sunday, could not be reached.
Zusi also trained with the U.S. men’s national team in January, making two appearances and notching the game-winning goal against Panama. He was invited back to training camp in May, but didn’t suit up for FIFA World Cup qualifying in early June.
He’s eager for another chance to make an impression on Klinsmann as the U.S. men play an international friendly on Mexican soil for the first time since 1984.
“It’s an honor to be called in,” said Zusi, an MLS All-Star and the league leader in assists (10). “Whenever you get the chance to really showcase yourself and a chance with the U.S. team, it’s a great opportunity.”
For Espinoza, who only returned a week ago from playing with Honduras’ under-23 national team at the Olympics in London, it’s the continuation of a whirlwind month.
“It’s exciting to go see a lot of the older guys,” Espinoza said. “And a lot of the Olympic guys just got called up because of what we did in the Olympics.”
And while he acknowledges that it’s odd to be playing a non-national team in a game nowhere near either Honduras or Argentina, Espinoza is eager for another monumental match.
“I don’t know why we’re playing a club,” Espinoza said. “It’s weird, isn’t it? But I’m OK with it, because Boca Juniors is one of the best teams in the world and one with the most titles. They’re a very good team with a lot of history.”
Sporting KC, which qualified for CONCACAF Champions League last week as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victors, vaulted into first place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win against D.C. United.
Returning to action this Saturday at Toronto FC, all three players are expected to be back and available for selection.