Sporting KC's Matt Besler And Graham Zusi Named To U.S. Men's National Team Roster

By: Sporting KC, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: Sporting KC, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

(October 6, 2013) -- Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi were named to the U.S. Men's National Team roster on Sunday for the team's final two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, U.S. Soccer announced. The United States will play Jamaica at 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. and then concludes The Hex in Panama at 8 p.m. CT on Oct. 15.

"Both guys have not only done well with the National Team in all their opportunities that they have gotten, but more importantly they have been very good for us," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "They're both in very good form. It's great that they will get a chance to play in front of their home stadium so it should be another good opportunity for both of them."

Besler, 26, has made 11 international appearances since debuting for the United States in January and his 906 minutes played for the U.S. rank third most among all players in 2013. The Overland Park, Kan. native has started five World Cup qualifiers, as well as all three knockout round games en route to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Besler is a two-time MLS All-Star and earned MLS Best XI, MLS Defender of the Year and MLS Breakout Player of the Year recognition in 2012.

"I am very excited. I've been looking forward to this match since it was announced," Besler said. "It makes it a little bit sweeter that we have already qualified. We are still going to take the game very seriously. The mood is almost going to be about celebration and giving thanks to our fans."

Zusi, 27, has 16 international appearances with one goal and two assists for the United States. He has played in 10 of the team's last 11 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, including last month's 2-0 victory over Mexico to secure a berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. After being named MLS Breakout Player of the Year in 2011, Zusi was an MLS MVP finalist and Best XI selection in 2012 and was a nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS. The two-time MLS All-Star leads Sporting Kansas City with eight assists this year and, for a third straight season, has contributed five goals.

"I take an immense amount of pride in having the honor of representing my club and my country," Zusi said. "This next match will be that much more meaningful to do so in front of the fans at Sporting Park. It's a special occasion for me personally and an important match for the team."

Both players will miss Sporting Kansas City's match at Houston on Wednesday.

The United States, ranked No. 13 in FIFA's September rankings, is one of 10 teams to have already qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and currently leads the final round of CONCACAF qualifying with 16 points (5-2-1) with two games remaining. Sixth place Jamaica and fourth place Panama remain in contention to advance from The Hex ahead of the upcoming match dates.

Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. MNT will hold a public training session at 5:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Sporting Park. Admission is free and open to the public with doors opening at 5 p.m. CT. Parking is available in Lot D, Lot F and CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Friday's match, which sold out within five minutes of tickets going on sale to the general public, will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and the ESPN Deportes Radio Network. The U.S. MNT is 4-0-0 all-time in Kansas City and Sporting Park becomes the only stadium to host the United States Men's National Team each of the last three years.

Prior to the game, Vermes will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame alongside former U.S. MNT forward Joe Max-Moore and New York Times columnist George Vecsey. The 2013 Induction Ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. CT on Friday on the Sprint Plaza at Sporting Park. The ceremony, presented by Eurosport, is free and open to the public.

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