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Graham Zusi

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Graham Zusi

National Team

A player who never landed on the U.S. youth team radar during his club and high school career, Zusi, similar to his Sporting teammate Matt Besler, is enjoying a meteoric rise with the USMNT 

Zusi made his first World Cup appearance against Ghana on June 16, 2014 in the U.S. MNT's first game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He started all four games for the U.S. in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and assisted two late, go-ahead goals in the first two games of the group stage. Zusi took the corner kick that led to John Brooks' 86th minute header that proved to be the game-winner against Ghana and also provided the cross that Clint Dempsey finished to put the U.S. up 2-1 in the 81st minute against Portugal. Zusi was in the starting lineup in the second game of the group stage in the World Cup against Portugal. He has appeared in 10 games for the U.S. in 2014, starting eight.

Zusi was part of January camp in 2014 that traveled to Brazil, playing 81 minutes in the USMNT’s 2-0 friendly win against Korea Republic at the StubHub Center.
Zusi made 12 appearances for the U.S. in 2013, both in starting roles and entering games off the bench in World Cup qualifying.  He scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying in 2013, the go-ahead and eventual winner in a 2-0 win over Jamaica on Oct. 11 at Sporting Park. Found the back of the net again in the 3-2 road win over Panama four days later that tied the game at 2-2 (more below on this).

After enjoying a breakout season in 2011 with Sporting KC, Zusi found himself invited to USMNT camp in January 2012 for the first time.  He went on to make his debut under Jurgen Klinsmann on January 21, 2012, playing 74 minutes in a friendly against Venezuela. Four days later, making just his second ever appearance for the USMNT, Zusi scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Panama.  Zusi’s third cap came in a friendly at the Azteca in August of that year. He entered as a 60th minute sub as the United States defeated El Tri 1-0 in Mexico City.  Zusi started his first World Cup qualifier on Sept. 11 against Jamaica, and was also a starter in qualifying wins against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.


Youth National Teams


 Zusi never made an appearance with a youth national team

Professional


An All-Star in 2013, Zusi appeared in 27 matches (26 of them starts) and scored six goals along with eight assists. He also made three appearances in CONCACAF Champions League play, notching two assists in that competition. In the playoffs, made five starts and notched two assists as Sporting KC won MLS Cup on penalty kicks against Real Salt Lake.


Zusi set career highs in starts (31), minutes player (2,788) and adding 15 assists in 2012. He was a finalist for the 2012 MLS MVP award. He also played in 120 minutes in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup final, which Sporting KC won on penalties 3-2 against Seattle.

2011 marked Zusi’s breakout campaign with Sporting. He played in 32 games, starting 25 of them, scoring five goals and adding seven assists. He was named the 2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year, and started and played in all three playoff games that year.

In 2010, he made 19 appearances, four them starts, and scored his first professional goal against the Philadelphia Union.

Picked 23rd overall in the second round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the Kansas City Wizards, Zusi played in 13 games his rookie season, making five starts. His pro debut came on March 21, 2009 against Toronto FC.  Zusi notched his first pro assist in the last game of the season that year, setting up Kei Kamara.

Youth clubs

A four year starter at the University of Maryland, Zusi won two national titles with the Terrapins (2005 and 2008). He scored the game-winning goal in the 2008 national semifinal and the championship game (at FC Dallas Stadium). In all, Zusi amassed 28 goals and 20 assists in 89 games (65 starts) in his college career.

A team captain for his high school team at Lake Brantley High School, Zusi was a decorated player at that level, named Central Florida Player of the Year by the Orlando Sentinal his junior year. He scored a total of 98 goals and 77 assists in his four-year career.

Zusi was also a member of the Region III ODP team

Honors earned

2013 MLS Best XI
2013 MLS All-Star 
2012 MLS All-Star
2012 MLS Best XI
2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year

MNT Falls To Panama on PKs in 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Third Place Match

CHESTER, Pennsylvania (July 22, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team was defeated by Panama 3-2 in penalty kicks in the Gold Cup Third Place match Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. 

Trailing 1-0 at the tail end of the second half, substitutes DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey combined to level the match, 1-1. 

As the clock continued ticked away, both sides attacked and generated chances, but none found the back of the net, and after an additional 30 minutes of extra time, the match was off to penalty kicks. 

In PKs, the U.S. converted its two opening penalties, but then saw a miss and two consecutive saves by Panama ‘keeper Luis Mejia, which made Harold Cummings’s conversion in the fourth round the winning kick. With the result, the MNT finished fourth at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. 

Later this year, the MNT will face the winner of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup – either Jamaica or Mexico – in a one-game playoff for a spot in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The playoff pits the winner of the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups against one another for a spot at the tournament in Russia the year before the World Cup. The USA last featured at the Confederations Cup in 2009 when the team beat then No. 1-ranked Spain and advanced to the Final against Brazil. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
PAN– Roberto Nurse (Ronaldo Blackburn) 55th minute: Roberto Blackburn slipped a pass up to Nurse, who attacked U.S. defenders Tim Ream and John Brooks and pushed into the box. Nurse sidestepped Brooks, freeing himself to curl a shot around Guzan and into the net for the game’s first goal. USA 0, PAN 1 (SEE GOAL) 

USA – Clint Dempsey (DeAndre Yedlin) 70th minute:  Michael Bradley looped a long ball to Yedlin, who chested it down in the box, took a turn and sent it across to Dempsey on a late run. The defense and goalkeeper had collapsed on Yedlin, which freed Dempsey to bury his seventh goal of the tournament to level the game. USA 1, PAN 1 (SEE GOAL)

Penalty Shootout:
USA-Aron Johansson: Johansson sent the first shot right down Broadway and in for a score. USA 1, PAN 0
PAN-Roman Torres: Torres responded with a well struck goal into the top right corner. USA 1, PAN 1
USA-Clint Dempsey: In what was signature style for the month of July, having already chipped two goalies on PK’s, Dempsey did so again to put the U.S. ahead. USA 2, PAN 1
PAN-Abdiel Arroyo: Arroyo stutter stepped and blasted a shot low and hard by a diving Guzan. USA 2, PAN 2
USA-Fabian Johnson: Johnson came up third for the U.S. and sent his kick over the crossbar. USA 2, PAN 2
PAN-Armando Cooper: Cooper rolled his attempt and Guzan dove to his left and corralled it to keep the shootout level. USA, 2, PAN 2
USA-Michael Bradley: The U.S. captain sent a shot hard to the left, but Mejia guessed right for Panama and deflected it away. USA 2, PAN 2
PAN-Harold Cummings: Cummings sent a shot to the left, Guzan dove and got a hand to it, but the ball powered into the net. USA 2, PAN 3
USA-DaMarcus Beasley: Beasley blasted a shot toward the right side of the goal, but Mejia was headed that way, and he made a diving save to end the game in Panama’s favor. USA 2, PAN 3 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Time Ream 36th minute: Armando Cooper intercepted an errant MNT pass and countered with pace down the center of the field. He attacked the box, beat a defender and then slid a shot past Brad Guzan towards the back post. Fortunately for the U.S., Tim Ream was there, booting the ball off the goal line and out of bounds for a corner kick.

USA – Fabian Johnson 54 minute: From a corner kick, Panama sent a ball in that forward Ronaldo Blackburn headed sharply at goal. Fabian Johnson was there to clear it off the goal line to safety.

USA – Brad Guzan (save) 81st minute: A Panama cross from the outside on the left found the head of Ronaldo Blackburn, who directed it firmly toward the back post. Brad Guzan fully extended and just reached the ball with his left hand, pawing it down before taking another dive to smother it.

USA– Brad Guzan (save) 108st minute: Roberto Nurse was freed on the left side for an attack at goal. As he wound up and fired off a shot, DeAndre Yedlin slid in and deflected it. The Ball continued to spin at goal, but Guzan was ready for it and knocked it away on a dive.

Coming up Next: #USAvPER
Location: RFK Stadium – Washington D.C.
Date: September 4, 2015
Opponent: Peru 

Milestone Watch:

  • Clint Dempsey’s game-tying goal was his seventh of the competition, which is the most-ever by an American player in a single Gold Cup tournament.
  • Dempsey’s 12 Gold Cup goals tie him with Mexico’s Luis Roberto Alves for second on the tournament’s all-time list behind only Landon Donovan (18).

Additional Notes:

  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made six changes to his starting XI from the team that began Wednesday’s Semifinal against Jamaica: Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Graham Zusi, Joe Corona and Chris Wondolowski all came into the lineup.
  • Corona earned his first start of the tournament. 
  • Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley were the only two U.S. players to start all six matches of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
  • The match was the U.S. MNT’s third in a Gold Cup third place match and marked the first time the team had not won the game (2-1-0)
  • The U.S. MNT record against Panama dropped to 12-1-4 (5-1-3 in Gold Cup games)
  • The MNT is now 3-2-3 all-time in matches in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Beckerman, Gonzalez, Zusi Return to Maryland Stomping Grounds

With Saturday’s Gold Cup Quarterfinal set for Baltimore, three U.S. MNT players have made a homecoming of sorts to the “Free State” this week.

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman grew up just down the road from Baltimore in Crofton, playing club soccer for the Bowie Bulldogs and the Laurel Wildcats before attending U.S. U-17 Residency in Bradenton, Florida, in 1999. Beckerman began what has turned into a 15-year professional career with the Miami Fusion the following year.

Beckerman has played with the National Team at M&T Bank Stadium once before, back in the team’s 5-1 win against El Salvador in the 2013 Gold Cup Quarterfinal. While he visits nearby Washington, D.C. often in Major League Soccer, playing for the National Team in his hometown is even more special.

“It’s great,” Beckerman told reporters Thursday. “To play with the National Team in Maryland is just awesome. The fans show great support here. I think we had close to 70,000 the last time we played here - hopefully we can get that again. I know I have a great crew coming through and we just have to do our part. They’re going to do their’s. It all comes together and makes it a great day.”

Inspired by seeing the National Team come through Baltimore and Washington, D.C. as a youth, Beckerman set his sights on suiting up for the side one day. As the MNT returns to Baltimore on Saturday, he knows he and his teammates can be that same inspiration.

“There are going to be kids in the stadium this weekend that are thinking the same way I did when I was young,” Beckerman told ussoccer.com. “When the U.S. National Team came in town, I’d go watch the game and they were my heroes. That’s where it all started from, getting the idea of what a professional player was and seeing the highest level that we had at the time. It’s a responsibility that we have to represent our country and our soccer team to the highest level. It took a lot of hard work but these kinds of games start dreams for kids at a really young age, so it’s cool to be a part of it."

Meanwhile, defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Graham Zusi were collegiate teammates from 2006-2008 at the University of Maryland in College Park, about an hour away from Baltimore.

Gonzalez returned to his hometown of Dallas when the U.S. met Honduras in their opening match of the Gold Cup, but didn’t get to play in the 2-1 win. With John Brooks suspended for Saturday’s Quarterfinal against Cuba, the 6’5” defender could get his shot to play in another familiar place.

“Maryland is a second home for me,” he told ussoccer.com. “I have a lot of great memories here. Winning the 2008 National Championship is probably tops. More than anything, you look at the players I played with here and a lot of them are in MLS – Graham, Maurice Edu, A.J. DeLaGarza – it speaks to how strong a program they have here.”

Upon arrival in Baltimore earlier this week, Gonzalez even contemplated a quick trip to visit some friends in College Park, but the team’s tight schedule nixed the plans.

“I’ll have plenty of friends coming to see me for the game on Saturday,” he continued. “It’s special to get to play for the National Team in front of people you know and in a place that helped you get there. The fans leave you with a special feeling.”

Gold Cup Group Phase By The Numbers

With the U.S. putting a wrap on winning another Gold Cup group, here’s a look at 11 statistical highlights:

2 – With their appearances in the tournament, defender Ventura Alvarado and midfielder Alfredo Morales are officially cap-tied to the United States.

2 – U.S. captain Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Brad Guzan are the only two U.S. players to start in all three matches. The pair also played all 360 minutes of the group stage.

5 – Dempsey became the fifth U.S. player to score at least three goals in a Gold Cup group stage. The others: Wynalda (1996), McBride (2003), Donovan (2005) and Chris Wondolowski (5 goals; 2013).

8 - Clint Dempsey’s three goals in the group stage pushed him to eighth all-time in the Gold Cup. He is now tied with Brian McBride for third most Gold Cup goals among U.S. players and behind Landon Donovan (18) and Eric Wynalda (9).

11 -Eleven players made their first Gold Cup appearances during the group stage: Ventura Alvarado, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, Greg Gaza, Brad Guzan, Aron Johannsson, Fabian Johnson, Alfredo Morales, DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes, and Graham Zusi.

12 – The U.S. finished top of its Gold Cup group for the 12th time in 13 tournament appearances.

13 – Brad Guzan made 13 saves during the group stage and 28 for the U.S. so far this year. The team is 5-0-1 when Guzan has manned the net in 2015.

21 - U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann used 21 of the 23 players available to him during the Gold Cup group stage. Only goalkeepers Nick Rimando and William Yarbrough did not see any time.

32 – With their 2-0-1 record in 2015 group play, the MNT moved its all-time record to 32-1-3 in the first stage of the tournament.

50 – The MNT’s 1-0 win against Haiti in Foxborough on July 10 was the team’s 50th all-time in Gold Cup play.  Mexico sits second all-time with 42 Gold Cup wins.

102 – Michael Bradley became the 16th U.S. player to reach 100 career appearances for the USA in the tournament opening win with Honduras. With his appearance in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Panama, Bradley made his 102nd appearance for the MNT, moving him into a tie with former goalkeeper Kasey Keller for 12th on the team’s all-time appearance list.

Behind The Crest: Ep. 3 - #USMNT at the Gold Cup

The U.S. Men's National Team makes it six points from two games in Gold Cup group play. The win secures a spot in the quarterfinal but there's still work to be done and the team moves to Kansas City looking to beat Panama to maintain its momentum going into the knockout stage.
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The speedy, skillful winger brings savvy and energy to the U.S. midfield. Those talents were on display at the 2014 FIFA World Cup where he played in all four of the USA’s matches and recorded two assists. The Orlando native had a breakout year both internationally and professionally in 2013, earning career marks for the U.S. MNT during qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and leading Sporting Kansas City to the 2013 MLS Cup crown. In his second full year with the Men’s National Team, Zusi doubled his previous marks in games played, goals and assists. He scored a thrilling stoppage-time goal during the USA’s 3-2 victory against Panama on Oct. 15, 2013, to cap off the USA’s first-place finish in the Hexagonal.  The three-time MLS All-Star is a key driver of the success of Sporting Kansas City.

 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

• Recorded two assists in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including the corner kick delivery on the game-winning goal by John Brooks in the 86th minute of the 2-1 win against Ghana.

• Scored the game-tying, stoppage-time goal during the USA’s 3-2 victory against Panama on Oct. 15, 2013, ending Panama’s hopes for qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

• Named a 2013 MLS All-Star, Sporting Kansas City team MVP and team Offensive Player of the Year after tallying six goals and eight assists in 27 games, leading Sporting to the 2013 MLS Cup crown

• Notched his first international goal on Jan. 25, 2012, vs. Panama just four days after receiving his first cap on Jan. 21, 2012, against Venezuela

• The only MLS player to register at least five goals and at least seven assists in each of the last four seasons.


2015: Named to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster... Made Gold Cup debut against Honduras on July 7... Has played in two games for the MNT this year, starting one... Made first MNT appearance of 2015 on July 3rd vs. Guatemala... 2014: Started three of four matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, logging 257 minutes in four games … His corner kick delivery set up the game-winning goal against Ghana on June 16 against Ghana … Clipped a cross in from the left that Clint Dempsey re-directed him to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute against Portugal on June 22 in Manaus … Another well-placed corner teed up Michael Bradley for the game’s  first goal in the 2-2 draw against Mexico on April 2 in Glendale, Ariz … Made a total of 10 appearances, including eight starts … 2013: In his second year with the U.S. MNT, Zusi recorded career highs in games (12), starts (9), goals (2) and assists (2) … Assisted Jozy Altidore’s 13th-minute goal during the USA’s 4-3 win against second-ranked Germany on June 2. The game was the USA’s Centennial Celebration match at RFK Stadium … Scored the game-tying, stoppage-time goal during the U.S. MNT’s 3-2 win against Panama on Oct. 15 to cap off the first-place Hexagonal run with 22 points … 2012: Zusi was invited to U.S. MNT’s 2012 January camp in preparation for two friendlies against Venezuela and Panama … He went on to start both matches and scored the lone goal in the win against Panama … He played 71 minutes in a 1-0 win against Jamaica in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying … Came on in the 60th minute of the 2-1 win against Mexico on Aug. 15 ... Made three appearances in World Cup qualifiers … First Appearance: Jan. 21, 2012, vs. Venezuela … First Goal: Jan. 25, 2012, vs. Panama.
2014: Started three of four matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, logging 257 minutes in four games … His corner kick delivery set up the game-winning goal against Ghana on June 16 against Ghana … Clipped a cross in from the left that Clint Dempsey re-directed him to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute against Portugal on June 22 in Manaus … Another well-placed corner teed up Michael Bradley for the game’s  first goal in the 2-2 draw against Mexico on April 2 in Glendale, Ariz … Made a total of 10 appearances, including eight starts … 2013: In his second year with the U.S. MNT, Zusi recorded career highs in games (12), starts (9), goals (2) and assists (2) … Assisted Jozy Altidore’s 13th-minute goal during the USA’s 4-3 win against second-ranked Germany on June 2. The game was the USA’s Centennial Celebration match at RFK Stadium … Scored the game-tying, stoppage-time goal during the U.S. MNT’s 3-2 win against Panama on Oct. 15 to cap off the first-place Hexagonal run with 22 points … 2012: Zusi was invited to U.S. MNT’s 2012 January camp in preparation for two friendlies against Venezuela and Panama … He went on to start both matches and scored the lone goal in the win against Panama … He played 71 minutes in a 1-0 win against Jamaica in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying … Came on in the 60th minute of the 2-1 win against Mexico on Aug. 15 ... Made three appearances in World Cup qualifiers … First Appearance: Jan. 21, 2012, vs. Venezuela … First Goal: Jan. 25, 2012, vs. Panama.

College:

Played four seasons at the University of Maryland, accruing appearances in 89 games (65 starts) and recording 28 goals and 20 assists during his college career ... Helped Maryland win the National Championship in 2005 and 2008, scoring the game-winning goal in the 2008 National Semi-Final and Championship Games … Named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2008 College Cup. 


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