It’s fair to say it’s been a little bit since Edgar Castillo has been involved with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Of the current 26-man group, the Mexico-based defender’s absence has been the longest, with his last MNT appearance coming in a March 2014 friendly loss to Ukraine.
Having changed clubs twice since then, the diminutive defender has carved out a regular place at left back with Monterrey, helping los Rayados to the top of Liga MX table at the international break.
“It’s good and I’m thankful that my career is once again rising in Monterrey,” Castillo said this week. “I’m thankful to them because when you play well with your club team, you will end up here. I’m thankful to those who took me to Monterrey to train with [Monterrey head coach] Antonio Mohamed, to my teammates and for the season we are having.”
Though it had been two years since Castillo was last in camp, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the defender had never left the U.S. picture, keeping up communication throughout his time away from the team.
“It’s been exciting to watch Edgar Castillo for quite some time at Monterrey play very consistent and on a very good level,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com earlier this week. “That’s why he deserves to come back in our group because he’s proving that week in and week out in the Mexican league. We’ve always been in touch. He’s very patient. He was disappointed he was not called in the last couple of occasions, but he made his point, he made his mark and that’s why we are happy to have him back in our group.”
While away from the team, Castillo set the goal of working hard for his club team in order to get back with the U.S. side. With that box checked off the list, the 29-year-old is putting his focus towards remaining in the National Team fold.
“I’m happy to be here, set a new goal and I have to take advantage of this opportunity. I have to give it my best and hope to stay here for a long time.”
That all starts Friday night as the U.S. travels to Guatemala Friday night. As the team searches for just its second World Cup Qualifying win in Guatemala City, Castillo will hope to use his experience playing in front of lively crowds across Mexico when the team takes to the pitch at Estadio Mateo Flores, where a win would set the team up nicely for a return to MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday.
“These are important games for us. First, in Guatemala we have to go out there, be focused and play 90 minutes before coming back here and playing in Columbus. First up though, we have to play in their house and get three points.”