A four-year World Cup cycle encompasses lots of changes. A roster from the beginning of the period is never the same as the end, players switch clubs and then the personal moments of marriage or having kids takes place as well. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and midfielder Dax McCarty are two prime examples of players that have experienced all of the above recently, so it’s fitting they arrived to Denver together to start the MNT’s June World Cup Qualifying camp on Sunday.
No stranger to the MNT, Guzan missed out on the March camp as he and his wife welcomed their second child to the world back in England.
“Being a dad is the best thing in the world,” Guzan told ussoccer.com. “Some people say going from one to two kids is an easy change, but being on the other side of the world, away from family and friends to lend a helping hand, it makes things a tougher. I’m very lucky. My wife did a fantastic job and it’s a tremendous feeling. To be able to welcome our daughter into the world was really a blessing.”
“And your wife knows you have really safe hands, so that’s nice,” McCarty quipped about the goalkeeper’s baby-handling skills.
Fatherhood and time difference didn’t prevent Guzan from keeping tabs on the USA’s impressive 6-0 win against Honduras or 1-1 away draw with Panama.
“They were two huge games and finishing last year the way we did, going into those qualifiers the boys responded fantastically. They were great results and kind of put us back on track. To be able to follow the games, follow the updates and see what was happening, you definitely wake up the next morning with a smile on your face, knowing the guys did a great job.”
Guzan’s return stateside will also be permanent as he’s set to join expansion Atlanta United FC in July after spending a season with Middlesbrough. McCarty can give him a little advice on switching clubs after the longtime MLS midfielder experienced upheaval of his own at the start of the year. A day after getting married, he arrived into his first MNT camp since 2014 only to find out he had been traded from the New York Red Bulls to the Chicago Fire.
Processing that change while trying to impress Bruce Arena and his staff, McCarty performed admirably and received high marks for his performance in the USA’s 1-0 friendly win against Jamaica on Feb. 3. On the heels of that display, McCarty joined the Fire and has been part of the club’s turnaround this season, playing all 13 games for a side that sits second in the Supporters Shield race.
“More than the results, what’s been more interesting and great to see from a Chicago Fire perspective is that the team as a whole is playing better,” McCarty said. “You can tell the confidence of the group is a lot higher. Obviously we signed a small player named Bastian Schweinsteiger. He’s come in and brought a lot of quality to the team. You can just tell that the vibes and confidence in the team are really high right now.”
More out than in the frame of the MNT since making his debut in 2009, McCarty was one of the big winners from January Camp and is now part of his third-consecutive gathering. Though he didn’t play in the March qualifiers, he did get a first-hand view of the team’s turnaround.
“It was just amazing to see the response of the group. In years past, every time the guys had a poor result and things were looking a little shaky in qualifying, the team always responded. To be a part of that for the first time was really cool.”
With a tight timetable between the USA’s upcoming qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago (June 8) and at Mexico (June 11), MNT head coach Bruce Arena has said there will be lineup changes for the two games. That may allow McCarty, who is one of four players in camp without a qualifying appearance, to make his competitive debut for the United States.
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Meanwhile, in the midst of his third qualifying cycle, Guzan is battle-tested in the way of CONCACAF’s Final Round Hexagonal. With a trip to infamous Estadio Azteca on the docket at the end of the trip, the man who backstopped the U.S. to a 0-0 draw at the vaunted Mexican venue has confidence the team can do even more there this time around.
“Going back to the last set of games, getting the results that we did to put us in a position to go into these two with the confidence and belief that we can get six points and really push us forward,” Guzan said. “I think that’s going to be huge. Not looking past the Trinidad game, but we know that we can go to Azteca and get a result. We’ve done that before. First and foremost we want to take care of business here in Denver, get three points and obviously put us in a position to go down there and get a result that is going to ultimately help us qualify for the World Cup.”Read more
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There’s high turnover in the United Soccer League (USL) from one year to the next. Many players sign one-year deals and San Antonio re-jigged the squad this year by adding 14 new players to a 24-man roster. San Antonio natives Vega and Rodriguez have had a dramatic impact on the Texas side’s fortunes. At 18 and 21 respectively, these hometown heroes have played in a majority of the team’s games, including the 2-1 Open Cup win over PDL side Dutch Lions in Houston. Rodriguez is a central midfielder who models his game after Steven Gerrard, “controlling with passes and tackling,” while the diminutive Vega is an attacking midfielder who likes to create and finish chances.
Vega credited the team’s success to a bond built in a trial period (that they both obviously survived) and training. “I think it started in preseason,” he said. “You can tell the team all connected. It wasn’t just on the field, either, it was off it too. We would do things together.” One of these things, apparently, is trips to the Cheesecake Factory. “If we get together on a Thursday night, we’re thinking Cheesecake Factory. We’ve done it like five times already. We’ll get a nice little meal, have some cheesecake, and call it a night. You can never go wrong at that place.”
Nights on the Town
Rodriguez thought his pal needed a bit of a check on his assessment of the restaurant, joking, “Devin thought that you couldn’t go to Cheesecake Factory in shorts and a t-shirt. He said ‘Ah I can’t go like this, it’s too fancy’ and I was like ‘what are you talking about, you can go to the Cheesecake Factory in whatever you want!’”
Being rookies in professional soccer isn’t as easy as the team’s overall record and the pair’s individual success might suggest. Both players admit to a major learning curve. When Vega played at night for the first time, he “wasn’t used to it, so I asked the trainers ‘should I like take a nap at three or…?’” he queried laughing. I changed what I was eating and made a plan with the trainers, so I’m used to it now. Rodriguez, on the other hand, found the pace of the game difficult to adjust to, saying: “When I first went on trial I wasn’t comfortable on the field yet because of how fast it is and some of the differences in formations.”
But they’ve both grown into their games, with Rodriguez saying he’s “finally getting to where I want to be.” He credits the experienced players for helping to build his confidence. “I don’t think you get to go to a lot of places with guys with so much experience,” he gushed. “They’re so humble in the work they do and I’ve learned so much from watching them. They also don’t ever let me take a day off, so if they see that I’m below my level, they say ‘hey, pick it up.’”
Vega, in particular, credits veteran teammate Rafa Castillo, 36, who earned nine caps for Colombia’s national team. “He and I are in the same position and it’s a battle, but he’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met,” Vega said. “I learn from him every day and having him as a mentor is awesome. He’s been through what I’m going through. He knows the process and he shows me how to be ready for the opportunities I get.”
No Place Like Home
One of the perks of playing at home is that the duo both still live with their parents or, as Rodriguez calls them, “my roommates.” Family is the centerpiece of his life and a typical day sees him: “chilling out with my mom and, when my dad gets home at night, we watch a LigaMX or Spurs [NBA] game, eat dinner and that’s the routine. I try to spend as much time with them as possible after not really seeing them for four years at college [UNC Charlotte].” His brother, a Marine stationed in Bahrain, stays up late to catch all of Maxi’s matches.
Vega, too, says that his family and friends have been huge upon his return. “Coming home was big for me,” he said. “I left my 9th grade year for the FC Dallas academy, so coming back home was special. I know my family likes going out there and seeing me play, because they didn’t really get a chance to when I was gone. The friends I left in the 9th grade are the same friends I have now. Nothing has changed. They’ve always supported me and that goes for family too.”
Vega, Rodriguez and Co. will be without their home comforts for the second time in this U.S. Open Cup as San Antonio face the Roughnecks on the road in Oklahoma. These road contests, however, have made the team stronger according to Rodriguez. “We have a great group of young guys and we’re very unified,” he said. “Going away and getting three points or knocking a team out makes us stronger,” he concluded. “We’re obviously hoping for a win in Tulsa. We’re going to do everything we can to achieve it.”
Given the team’s success and the young pairs’ humility and graciousness, you get the feeling they just might get it.
The New York Cosmos like to play up their international roots. With 25 players from 11 countries, it’s no wonder they do. But on May 14, in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup’s Second Round, the glamor boys of the North American Soccer League (NASL) were second best to a similarly international outfit. “We’re from all over the world and all these characters come together to make something bigger,” said Haitian-born Frantzdy Pierrot, who scored the winner for all-amateur Reading United AC when they shocked the pros from the Big Apple.
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“After the Cosmos scored early, I thought to myself ‘oh boy, we’re in trouble,’” said Irish-born Stephen Hogan, current head coach and former Reading player. “But we made a few adjustments and started to get more of the ball. Then we had a six-minute spell of what I can only call pure ruthlessness where we showed what we were all about.”
In that stretch of six minutes, Reading – college kids who forego their summer breaks to play in the Premier Development League (PDL) – were airborne. If you were watching, and didn’t know better, you’d think the Cosmos were the part-timers and Reading the seasoned pros who’d seen and done it all before. Paul Marie (France), Marco Micaletto (England) and Pierrot all scored in a 3-2 win to knock the New Yorkers out.
“I’ll admit it, we had quiet confidence leading up to that game,” said midfielder Micaletto out of Young Harris College. He’s chatty and clever and has origins, coincidentally, in Reading, England. “But looking back on it now I think it’s clear to all of us that we achieved something bigger than we knew at the time. There’s a lot of pride for us in that result.”
Moment of Magic
What has become pride with the help of time and a little perspective was all shock and pandemonium on the night. “We were hanging on a bit by our fingernails for the last 20 minutes,” admitted coach Hogan. But it didn’t matter. Scenes of raucous celebration from the Reading locker-room were captured in grainy video on someone’s phone and zipped around the Internet. It was an unforgettable moment for a team with players from 12 different countries and four different continents.
“We all put our minds into the cause,” said Northeastern Huskie, Pierrot, born in Port-au-Prince. He speaks slowly and tentatively, but with care. “After they scored early, no one’s head dropped. We picked each other up instead. Micaletto agreed: “It showed we had backbone. We didn’t panic. We showed our character when we needed to.”
While the win over the Cosmos is a big night in the history of the club, Reading United are no strangers to success. Along with the Michigan Bucks, who also booked their place in the Third Round of the Cup with a big win over pro opposition, they are among the top PDL teams in the country, and have been since their founding in 1996. They attract some of the top talent in the college ranks, including NCAA final-four and elite-eight caliber stars. They also put a focus on discovering players with roots overseas that other clubs might overlook.
“It’s tough for a lot of the overseas players to get to grips with the college system of playing three months and then having all this time off,” said Hogan, a native of Dublin, with a keen eye for recruiting attacking talent. “For a lot of them they just prefer to stay here for the summer and keep playing. We have a lot of those guys here. It’s better for them and their ambitions.”
Reading are affiliated with second-tier pro side Bethlehem Steel (USL), where Hogan is a member of the coaching staff, and Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Philadelphia Union. If a Reading United player shows talent and impresses Hogan, he might get a week’s training with Beth Steel. It’s the next step up. And at the end of the year, if anyone shows enough, it might lead to a stretch with the Union, the top team in the Keystone State.
The vast Majority of Reading’s players are between the ages of 17 and 20, making the victory over the Cosmos – a raft of national team players among them – all the more remarkable. But one thing the Pennsylvania side have working in their favor is their setting. Reading, according to the lads, might not be the most exciting place for a college kid on break to get into trouble and cut loose. It doesn’t have the distractions of say, New York City.
“In Reading?” Irish midfielder Aaron Malloy out of Kaiser University chuckled when asked if he and his teammates get up to any of the kind of antics expected of college kids on break. “Really there’s not much to do here and it’s a good thing because it gives you a real pro mind-set. You can go to the gym, the training pitch or the running track. There’s not much else, so you can say we’re pretty focused on what we’re doing.”
Right Place, Right Time
“We must really love soccer to spend our summers doing this,” added Micaletto, laughing a little about his sleepy summertime digs in Southern Pennsylvania, where most of the team live together in the dormitories of Alvernia University, a literal stone’s throw from the practice fields. “Reading’s not the ideal place for a summer holiday. But we’re all here for a reason. This is the best team to be on to get to the next level.”
“We focus on soccer,” agreed Lander University’s Hugo Delhommelle, a forward from France and one of Hogan’s top prospects, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Reading Alumni like Real Salt Lake’s Luke Mulholland and Matt Hedges of FC Dallas. “When we play here, we’re just a few feet away from Beth Steel and the Philadelphia Union. We share a pitch with them. They can see what we’re doing and there’s opportunity to move on to the pro game.”
They’re no professionals, not yet at least, but Reading’s players sure do sound that way. In fairness, they play that way too. And it’s a fact that should have the Harrisburg City Islanders, their next opponent who currently languish in 12th place in the USL’s Eastern Conference, a little bit worried. “We’re the underdogs,” said Micaletto. “But we were against the Cosmos too, so we’ll see what that means.”
A win against the Islanders would see Reading to the mountaintop; a date with Philadelphia Union, the team they watch every day, waiting for them to clear off the pitch for their turn. It’s the level they hope, one day, to reach. “You’re already starting to hear some banter about a possible Fourth Round game between the guys when the teams pass each other on the pitch,” said Hogan, relishing a chance to see his squad against the big boys. “It’s quiet for now, but who knows, anything can happen.”
CHICAGO (28 de mayo, 2017) -- El director técnico de la Selección Masculina de Estados Unidos Bruce Arena ha convocado a 27 jugadores a entrenar antes de los tres partidos de junio, los cuales incluyen dos partidos de eliminatoria mundialista importantes contra Trinidad y Tobago y México.
"Creo que tenemos un buen grupo," dijo Arena. "Todavía estoy en una etapa temprana con este grupo y no he visto a todos nuestros jugadores, y está concentración me da la oportunidad de ver a seis caras nuevas que no hemos tenido con el equipo lo cual es valioso. También es bueno que podemos traer a 21 jugadores que ya han estado con nuestro equipo en el 2017. Tenemos una nómina que tiene buen balance, tenemos jugadores jóvenes buenos y esperamos que sea un equipo que podemos armar para obtener puntos en los dos juegos."
Los jugadores se empiezan a reportar el 28 de mayo a Denver antes de USA-Trinidad y Tobago, presentado por Liberty Mutual Insurance. El inicio frente a lo que se espera sea un lleno completo en Dick's Sports Goods Park está programado para las 5:50 p.m. MT y será transmitido en vivo por FS1, UniMás y UDN.
Tres días después, EE.UU. buscará sus primeros tres puntos de visitante en México en la eliminatoria mundialista. El histórico Estadio Azteca en la Ciudad de México será anfitrión del 66vo encuentro entre los equipos desde 1934, el cual será transmitido en vivo por televisión en FS1, Univision y UDN empezando a las 7:30 p.m.
En preparación para los partidos de eliminatoria, la U.S. MNT jugará un partido contra Venezuela el 3 de junio en Rio Tinto Stadium en Sandy, Utah. FS1 y un canal de la cadena Univision transmitirán el encuentro empezando a las 8 p.m. MT.
Los aficionados también pueden seguir el partido en vivo por Facebook, Twitter @ussoccer y @ussoccer_esp.
NÓMINA POR POSICIÓN DE ESTADOS UNIDOS (Club; Partidos/Goles en Eliminatorias):
ARQUEROS (4): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 13/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 35/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENSAS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 10/1), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 3/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 20/2), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 3/0), Omar González (Pachuca/MEX; 14/0), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 0/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 4/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 2/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 6/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 17/3)
MEDIOCAMPISTAS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 2/0), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 2/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 8/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/6), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 15/1), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 5/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 38/18)
DELANTEROS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 36/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 38/18), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/4)
LLEGAN LOS REFUERZOS
Varios jugadores basados en Europa regresan con la Selección después de faltar a los partidos de eliminatoria en marzo. Por primera vez durante su actual tenencia, Arena tendrá a Brad Guzan, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood y DeAndre Yedlin disponibles para ser seleccionados. Guzan no estaba disponible debido a que estaba con su esposa durante el nacimiento de su segundo hijo; los demás estaban batallando con diferentes lesiones y enfermedades.
CASI A LA MITAD DEL HEXAGONAL
El partido en casa contra Trinidad y Tobago marca la mitad de la Ronda Final, con Estados Unidos actualmente en cuarto lugar de la tabla de seis equipos. Después de abrir el Hexagonal con dos derrotas, EE.UU. remontó con una contundente victoria de 6-0 contra Honduras en San José antes de sumar un punto vital de visitante en un empate de 1-1 contra Panamá. Aún faltan tres partidos de local y tres de visitante para la U.S. MNT. [TABLA DE POSICIONES]
Históricamente, clasificar a la Copa Mundial en CONCACAF virtualmente requiere de obtener resultados en casa y de nuevo el enfoque inmediato para la U.S. MNT es obtener tres puntos contra Trinidad y Tobago en Denver. DSG Park será anfitrión de un partido de eliminatoria por tercer ciclo consecutivo. EE.UU. ha recopilado dos victorias sin ceder gol, incluyendo el famoso "Snowclásico" en el 2013 contra Costa Rica. En general, Estados Unidos tiene un registro de 4-1-0 en el estado de Colorado desde 1991.
NOTAS DE LA NÓMINA
- Once jugadores en la nómina tienen 10 o más partidos jugados en eliminatorias mundialistas: Clint Dempsey (38), Jozy Altidore (36), Tim Howard (35), DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Bradley (33 each), Geoff Cameron (20), Graham Zusi (17), Fabian Johnson (15), Omar González (14), Brad Guzan (13) and Matt Besler (10).
- Quince de los jugadores jugaron en por lo menos uno de los partidos de eliminatoria mundialista en marzo: Kellyn Acosta, Altidore, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Bradley, John Brooks, Cameron, Dempsey, González, Howard, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafaña y Zusi.
- Cuatro jugadores llegan en busca de su debut en una eliminatoria mundialista: los porteros Nick Rimando y Ethan Horvath, el defensa Matt Hedges y el mediocampista Dax McCarty.
- Clint Dempsey ya es el máximo goleador de EE.UU. en eliminatorias mundialistas y está al bordo de ubicarse en el primer lugar de otras dos metas. Con 56 goles en su carrera con la U.S. MNT, el delantero está a solamente uno de Landon Donovan por el liderazgo, y a solamente dos partidos de Donovan por el primer lugar en la lista de partidos jugados con EE.UU. en eliminatorias mundialistas (40).
- Con 16 goles en total, Altidore está a solamente dos goles de Dempsey por el primer lugar de goles en eliminatorias mundialistas.
- Cuatro jugadores en la lista han marcado gol contra Trinidad y Tobago en eliminatoria mundialista. Altidore es el máximo anotador de EE.UU. contra los Soca Warriors con cinco goles, mientras que Arriola, Bradley y Dempsey han anotado una vez cada uno.
- Diez jugadores tienen previa experiencia mundialista contra México en el Estadio Azteca: Altidore, Bradley and Dempsey (2 partidos cada uno), Beasley, Besler, Cameron, González, Guzan, Howard y Zusi.
- Seis jugadores han anotado contra El Tri: Bradley (4), Altidore, Beasley, Cameron, Morris y Wood (1 cada uno).
- Tres jugadores han anotado goles en eliminatoria mundialista contra México: Bradley (2), Beasley y Wood.
- Al haber ayudado al Newcastle United al título de la Championship de Inglaterra y promoción a la English Premier League, DeAndre Yedlin regresa con la Selección por primera vez desde noviembre 2016.
- Es el mismo caso para el delantero Bobby Wood, quien anotó nueve goles en todas las competencias para el Hamburgo, ayudando al equipo evitar el descenso de la Bundesliga en el último día de la temporada.
- Tres jugadores en la nómina juegan con equipos en México: Arriola, (Club Tijuana), González (Pachuca) y Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna). Beasley jugó con Puebla del 2011 al 2014.
- González se concentra poco después de ganar la Liga de Campeones de la CONCACAF con Pachuca en abril. Con la corona regional, González se convirtió en el primer jugador estadounidense en ganar la Liga de Campeones de CONCACAF, la Liga MX y la Copa MLS.
- DaMarcus Beasley hizo su debut en eliminatorias mundialistas contra Trinidad y Tobago el 11 de noviembre, 2001. Si juega contra los Soca Warriors o El Tri, sería el primer jugador estadounidense en jugar en cinco ciclos diferentes de eliminatoria mundialista.
- Christian Pulisic y Timmy Chandler llegan a la concentración después de disputar la Final de DFB-Pokal el sábado. Con la victoria de 2-1 de Dortmund, Pulisic—al quien le hicieron una falta que resultó en el penalti de la victoria—se convirtió en solamente el segundo jugador estadounidense en ganar la histórica competencia alemana desde que lo hizo Thomas Dooley con Kaiserslautern en 1990.
- Altidore, Besler, Bradley, Brooks y Cameron llegan a la concentración con una tarjeta amarilla cada uno en la eliminatoria y estarán suspendidos un partido al recibir su segunda amonestación.
ussoccer.com: What are your thoughts on the overall roster that you’ve assembled for this camp?
Bruce Arena: “I think we have a good group, and in my case I’m still in the early goings with this team and I haven’t seen all of our players. This camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven’t had in with the team yet – Brad Guzan, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Ethan Horvath, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin - which is good. It’s also great that we’re able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. There’s some continuity there as well as the fact that we’re getting to see some new faces, which is important.”
ussoccer.com: The World Cup Qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico occur in the span of four days. How do you plan on managing the tight turnaround?
BA: “That’s certainly going to be challenging. The reason for that was Mexico’s participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup. It was proposed to us, and as difficult as it is I think it’s a level playing field for both teams. As part of the agreement to switch the day, we have the opportunity to play at night as opposed to the afternoon so I think that’s a plus for us, but it will require that we have a number of players ready to play. I can guarantee we will not be playing the same team from game one to game two. There will be a number of changes for the game in Mexico, so we’ve built a strong roster to allow us to do that.”
ussoccer.com: How will you be utilizing the Venezuela game on June 3 to get ready for the pair of World Cup Qualifying matches?
BA: “It’s part of our preparation for the games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and we get to play a South American opponent with some very good players. They’re bringing in a number of their first team players, so it should be a real plus. We get a little bit of a taste of playing a game in altitude, and no question about it, it’s low altitude in comparison to Denver and Mexico City, but it’s a starting point. It’s one where we can take advantage of the friendly rules and play up to 16 field players, so it’ll be a real plus in getting our team prepared for the two World Cup Qualifiers.”
ussoccer.com: FC Dallas center back Matt Hedges has earned his first call-up to a World Cup Qualifying Camp. What has he done to impress you and your coaching staff this year?
BA: “Matt has arguably been one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer over the last couple of years. It was unfortunate that he suffered an injury in January Camp and wasn’t able to play in the friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica, but we’ve continued to follow him. He was a consideration for the camp in March, but we decided to go with a couple of defenders that have had a little bit more experience with us. We can’t ignore the fact that Matt’s been a good player and he needs an opportunity with the National Team. Bringing him in is a plus, it’ll get him a foot in the door and hopefully allow him to move forward with a bigger role in the U.S. team.”
ussoccer.com: In Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando, you’ve called back the MNT’s veteran pool of goalkeepers along with bringing in Ethan Horvath. What do you see with their form coming into camp?
BA: “Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando are certainly very experienced goalkeepers and have proven that they can play well for the U.S. team. They’re all doing well. Obviously, Brad had an opportunity to play a number of games at the end of the season with Middlesbrough. Playing on a team that got relegated, it’s not surprising to see that his goalkeeping statistics might not be that impressive. I thought in those games he played well and it’s good experience for him. Rimando is back from an injury and played well over the last week, and Tim Howard has had a good start in MLS. Coming off a suspension has played well of late. I think we’re going to camp with three good, experienced goalkeepers. In Ethan Horvath’s case, he’s one of our young, promising goalkeepers that we need to see. We won’t have the opportunity to see him for the Gold Cup, so we wanted to see him in this camp and he’s also from Denver so it worked out pretty well.”
ussoccer.com: With the European season coming to an end and MLS well into their campaign, is it a good time to bring the entire pool together for this camp?
BA: “I think so. The issue with the players from Europe is they’re completing a long season that started last July or August depending on their club team. They’re at the end and they’re probably a little bit beat up, but I know they have another two weeks left in them. It’s no secret that we won’t be using many of them during the Gold Cup because they need to have some rest before they start for the new season. The MLS players are at a point where they’re getting pretty fit and sharp, so I think it’s a good time. We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it’s a team we can put together to get us points in both games.”
ussoccer.com: DaMarcus Beasley continues to stay in the National Team picture. As the person that gave him his first National Team appearance in 2001, talk about his career longevity and the potential for him to become the first U.S. player to appear in qualifiers for five different World Cups.
BA: “I think he’s had a great career and the longevity speaks for itself. He’s still been a good player in Major League Soccer, and that’s why we still have him on the roster. We haven’t found any players that can push DaMarcus out of the position he has right now with the National Team. He’s not only a good player, he’s a good teammate and he’s going to do whatever is necessary to make our team successful. It’s a real plus to have him, and it would be a fabulous accomplishment if he becomes the first U.S. player to appear in qualifiers for five different World Cups. Looking down the road, it would be incredible if he played in another World Cup. My hat is off to DaMarcus. He’s had a terrific career.”