In a week, the United States men’s national team will travel to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and face its rivals in its most significant match since the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
A pair of Sporting Kansas City players will be there, too.
Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were named to the U.S. roster ahead of the team’s match against Mexico at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 10. The victor will be awarded a coveted spot into the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
“Our goal from the beginning of the year was to qualify for the Confederations Cup, and this is our opportunity to reassert dominance in our region and give the team additional opportunities to prepare for the 2018 World Cup in Russia,” Besler said in a news release.
Besler and Zusi, who both represented the U.S. in the World Cup last summer in Brazil, will join the national team after Sporting KC’s match Saturday in Portland. Sporting KC is on a bye next week, so their departure from the club won’t cause them to miss any MLS matches.
“It's an honor every time you get called up to the national team,” Zusi said. “Obviously, next week’s match against Mexico has added significance with the Confederations Cup berth on the line. I look forward to joining my teammates and getting in a good week of training ahead of the CONCACAF Cup.”
Besler last appeared for the Americans on Sept. 4 in a match against Peru — a one-game call-up that followed his debated absence in the Gold Cup. Zusi was part of the Gold Cup squad, which settled for a fourth-place finish in a tournament won by Mexico this summer.
On its home soil, the U.S. has a 10-2-4 record against Mexico since 2000, including an unbeaten mark over the past four years. The U.S. defeated Mexico 2-0 in April.
Besler and Zusi are two of four Sporting KC players selected for international duty during the bye week. Forward Krisztian Nemeth was called up to the Hungary men’s national team for its UEFA Euro qualifiers, and defender Marcel de Jong was called to join Canada for a friendly against Ghana.