The U.S. MNT recently finished its annual January Camp with back-to-back last-minute wins over Iceland and Canada. Look back at the most notable numbers from camp:
2,394 – Number of days since Luis Robles’ last start with the MNT prior to Jan. 31 against Iceland
90 – Steve Birnbaum scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute against Iceland
89 – Jozy Altidore scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute against Canada
45 – Career wins for Jurgen Klinsmann following the two victories, putting him second all-time among MNT coaches
33 – Altidore’s career goal count for the U.S., putting him one behind Eric Wynalda for third on the scoring list. Altidore reached that mark in 91 caps, the fastest of any MNT player.
22 – Players on the match-day rosters who suit for clubs in MLS
20 – Michael Bradley’s career assist total for the USA, which ranks third all-time behind Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones
20 – Age of Kellyn Acosta, the youngest player on the roster. He earned his first two caps by starting both victories to open the USA’s 2016 slate
8 – Consecutive games started by Altidore, Jermaine Jones and Gyasi Zardes, the longest current streak among MNT players
6 – Players who earned their first cap (Acosta, David Bingham, Ethan Finlay, Jerome Kiesewetter, Tony Tchani and Brandon Vincent)
5 – The highest number of U-23 MNT players to appear in either of the year opening matches
4 – Goals scored by the USA
2 – Goals scored by Altidore
1 – First career international assist for Ethan Finlay, posted in his second capRead more
Kellyn Acosta has been in the U.S. program since the U-14 age level, having represented the USA at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup as well as both the 2013 and 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cups. On Sunday, the 20-year-old made his senior MNT debut in a 3-2 win against Iceland.
“I’m just really excited; I’m glad I got the opportunity from [MNT head coach] Jurgen [Klinsmann],” Acosta said after the match. “It was a great feeling being out there representing my country at the highest level. I was really excited, ecstatic.”
Acosta started the match at left back alongside veteran defenders Matt Besler, Michael Orozco and Brad Evans. It was a position he was familiar with since he played there in last summer’s U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
“I just felt a little timid at first. I just didn’t want to make any mistakes,” Acosta said. “But I felt more and more comfortable as the game went on. The second half, I felt like I was breezing by it – I wanted the ball, I was trying to find myself in good spots, be open for my teammates, and I tried to set up some plays. As the game went on, I felt like I was more in tune.”Read more
Ethan Finlay added another individual honor to his collection on Sunday, the third of the past six months for the Columbus Crew SC winger. After earning his first MLS All-Star selection in July, and being named to the MLS Best XI team in December, on Sunday, Finlay made his MNT debut in a 3-2 win against Iceland.
“It was great. It was a lot of fun, a great experience,” Finlay said afterwards. “But more importantly to come out with a win was a nice little bonus.”
Finlay was rewarded with his first National Team call-up for January Camp after finishing the 2015 MLS season with 12 goals and 13 assists while playing mostly as a winger in Columbus.
“Ethan really impressed in training,” Klinsmann said of the 25 year-old. “He was all over the place, he had endless energy. And sometimes you actually have to slow him down and say, ‘Ethan, you don’t need to go 200 miles an hour.’ But it shows his character. He wants to really give everything he has and wants to prove a point. He was a bit nervous, too, which is of course normal because of his first cap. But it was definitely the right step into this group of guys.”Read more
Almost a year to the date of his first and only appearance with the MNT, defender Steve Birnbaum made the most of his second cap on Sunday in front of family and friends.
Oddly enough, he almost never got the chance in the first place.
Birnbaum was not named to the original roster, but was called in after injuries prevented a couple players from reporting to camp. Clearly he was determined to make the opportunity count.
Entering the match against Iceland to start the second half, the Irvine, Calif. native assisted on the tying goal and then scored the game-winner in the 90th minute to give the USA the 3-2 victory a StubHub Center in Carson.
- PHOTO GALLERY: U.S. MNT Begins 2016 with a Win
“They said, ‘do what you’ve been doing in training,’ and on set pieces to get after it an attack the ball, and that’s what I did,” Birnbaum said of the instructions he received from the coaching staff at halftime.Read more