Sunday, May 31, 2015

No US Call Ups for KC

The US men's national team call ups for the upcoming internationals in Europe against the Netherlands and Germany were announced today during half time of the New York Red Bulls vs Seattle Sounders game. Not included in the team list were any Sporting KC players. National team regulars over the last couple years, Matt Besler and Graham Zsui were not included in the list. Neither absence from the team is overly surprising. Zusi is just coming back from his concussion and hasn't been in the greatest form so far this season, although a one goal, two assist performance from him against Dallas could certainly be a turn in the right direction. As for Besler, while the KC defense has improved since Tim Melia stepped into goal (.6 goals against average in the five games since he took over in goal), Besler hasn't hit the form that got him call ups last year. And with a busy summer schedule for the US that includes the Gold Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann could have decided to let Besler (and Omar Gonzalez) stay with their clubs now, ahead of that tournament this summer.

The surprise that wasn't really a surprise, is the fact that Benny Feilhaber continues to have a brick wall seemingly keeping him from getting back into the US national team picture. Feilhaber has arguably been the best American player in the world over the last year plus, he's completely bought into Peter Vermes' system and has shown he's more than just a playmaker, filling roles all over the field, he's even played some center back over the last season plus for KC. Yet he still can get no call up to Klinsmann's camps. He's proven to be a midfielder that can play both ways, and provide that bit of creativity that at times has really lacked for the US team.

At the very least you can compare him to a similar midfielder that was called into this camp, Mix Diskerud of New York City FC. Just looking at statistics, Feilhaber is miles ahead of his counterpart this year with four goals and seven assists compared to Diskerud's single goal and zero assists. But even in the intangibles, Feilhaber has shown an ability to really take a game over for KC when they've needed it this year, and while I haven't seen every minute of NYCFC's games this year, of the games I have seen, Diskerud has really yet to impose himself on the game.

Even with Feilhaber's age it's foolish to think that Feilhaber can't help the US team in the Gold Cup or qualifying ahead of the 2018 World Cup. It really just seems to be an issue of Klinsmann just personally not rating the Sporting KC player. But as long as he continues not to, each time the US midfield struggles and Feilhaber continues to play well for KC, questions will be asked.

All that said, I'm thrilled that none of the three will be missing KC's game this weekend against the Seattle Sounders at Sporting Park, it means KC's only call up is Hungarian, Krisztian Nemeth. The Sounders only had one player called up, Brad Evans, as Clint Dempsey is awaiting the birth of a child with his wife.

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