Thursday, January 05, 2017

Feilhaber and Zusi Called Up to US National Team

Bruce Arena and US Soccer today announced the roster for this year's January camp that will culminate with friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica. Two Sporting KC players were named to Arena's squad, with Benny Feilhaber finally making his return to the international stage after being frozen out by Jurgen Klinsmann, and Graham Zusi being brought back in a new position at the international level.

Feilhaber received his first international call up since 2014's January camp, where Feilhaber made his last international appearance against South Korea. Despite having an MVP caliber season in 2015 and a solid season in 2016, Feilhaber was not called in by Klinsmann with the former US coach saying there were "others ahead of him." There was obviously not a good relationship between the two, with comments about Feilhaber's work rate being made. Feilhaber though deserved a return to the US team after his play the last two years and will now get the chance to prove it under Arena.

Zusi is listed as a defender on the roster announcement for the camp, something that was hinted at yesterday before the roster came out. He does have experience playing in the right back position for Kansas City, playing there a few times last year, including a performance against Arena's LA Galaxy that earned him a team of the week nod. With the talent coming through in the attack for the US, Zusi's international career as a winger looks like it is coming to an end, but he provides good leadership and is good as a defender on the wing in KC's system. Arena is possibly hoping that Zusi can get a career renaissance at right back, similar to what DeMarcus Beasley has experienced at left back after transitioning from the wing position.

One name not on the roster was Matt Besler, who has been a staple of Klinsmann's US sides since he earned his place in the team. Besler though is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery that kept him from being part of the camp.

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