Three Sporting KC players have been called up by Jurgen Klinsmann for the upcoming US Men's national team camp in Phoenix and Los Angeles. Teal Bunbury returns to the US national team, having been a part of the quite a few of Klinsmann last few squads, although he's yet to make an appearance for the national team under the new manager. The other two players are receiving their first call ups at any level for the US team. CJ Sapong and Graham Zusi will ride strong 2011 seasons into invites to the camp. Now they get to attempt to prove themselves at the national team level.
The camp will begin on January 3rd in Phoenix before moving to LA on the 13th. The team will return to Phoenix to take on Venezuela on the 21st. After that the team will travel to Panama City to take on Panama on the 25th.
As I stated earlier, the call ups, especially those for Sapong and Zusi are a tribute to a great season that both had. Sapong could give the US a target type striker that can also go at defenders with speed. The MLS rookie of the year scored 5 goals in league play, adding another 4 in US Open Cup play and the playoffs. He also added 5 league assists, good for second on the team behind Zusi.
Zusi was recently named MLS break out player of the year in a season where he scored 5 goals in league play and assisted on 7. He added two more assists in the playoffs in KC's 2-0 win over Colorado at home. Zusi can be a creative linking player in the midfield as well as a threat to strike a dead ball and a long range shot. Hopefully both get a chance to showcase their skills in one or both of the friendlies.
While 3 were called up, there was disappointment among many Sporting KC fans that the number was not 5. Many were hoping, myself included, that Matt Besler and Chance Myers would also receives calls into the national team camp. For Besler it unfortunately became a numbers game. All 7 of the defenders that Klinsmann called up can play the center back. Specifically though, with Omar Gonzalez, George John, and Geoff Cameron all called up, it's disappointment for Besler in this instance, but having seen what Besler has done to get to the point of being in the argument, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll push himself to get over that last hump.
The other player that most Sporting fans are disappointed wasn't called up, is Myers. Myers like Zusi had a break out season this year, becoming one of the top threats in the league attacking out of the right back position. After three seasons where Myers struggled with injuries and form, Myers stepped up and showed the type of play that made him the number 1 draft pick. Myers attacking style is something that would seem to be well suited for the national team's current style of play, wanting to get the fullbacks forward. But I think Myers lack of a more complete resume right now is what is hurting him most. Another season or so producing at the same level, and Myers will definitely find himself in the national team picture.