Three FC Dallas Players Called up to USMNT Camp

Photo: FC Dallas

Three FC Dallas players have been called in to the United States Men’s National Team squad for their January camp next week. Bruce Arena announced his 32 man squad on Thursday with Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman and Kellyn Acosta all called up to the squad.

The squad selection is Arena’s first squad since being named as the new Men’s National Team Coach in November. As usual a January camp has allowed the opportunity to bring in some fringe players but the USMNT will have a big match to conclude the camp with two friendlies, first against Serbia on January 29th, and then on February 3rd against Jamaica.

Of the three players Zimmerman is the most inexperienced and could well receive his first international cap in the friendlies. Zimmerman has never been called in to even a camp before, but has represented the United States at the various youth levels.

Acosta continues in the squad, having received his first international call up in the same camp in 2016. Since that time Acosta has appeared four times for the United States and will be looking to continue his fledgling international career.

Hedges is coming in to the squad for the first time since 2015 after a phenomenal MLS season with FC Dallas. Hedges won the Defender of the Year award last season and comes in after being left out of recent squads.

The 32 man squad comes entirely from Major League Soccer, with the extended nature of the camp making that a requirement. Houston Dynamo player DaMarcus Beasley has also been selected in the squad despite being out of contract at Houston and headed to free agency.

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Colombia eliminate United States in Olympic qualifier

Houston to host Matches in 2016 Copa America

Houston has been selected as one of ten cities to host matches in the Copa America in 2016, CONCACAF announced on Thursday afternoon. NRG Stadium, home of NFL’s Texans will be the venue used for the matches, with a minimum of three matches guaranteed to be played at the venue.

Surprisingly, AT&T stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington was not selected as a venue, perhaps due to issues with the turf in prior matches. That leaves Houston as the only option for fans in Texas to see the tournament.

There were 24 candidate cities and venues, putting Houston among an elite group of venues in America. The tournament will be the first time that the Copa America, held in 2015 in Chile, will be held outside of South America.

The tournament will include six teams from CONCACAF and the whole South American confederation, CONMENBOL. The United States and Mexico have both pre-qualified for the tournament from CONCACAF and stand a chance of playing in Houston.

The tournament is designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Copa America, and will not be the usual South American Championship, with no Confederations Cup spot issued. Despite not being the official South American Championship, the tournament is within a full FIFA window, and as such any players called up by their nation must be released by their clubs ensuring full strength teams.

That the tournament is being held at all should be considered something of a success given the tournament was originally awarded to the USA under the license of Traffic Sports USA, which has since been indicted by the FBI in the FIFA investigation. CONCACAF and US Soccer worked well to make the tournament happen and the fans in Texas will benefit, getting to see matches in Houston.

Unconvincing USA get job Done in Gold Cup Opener

It may not have been the most convincing performance but the defending champions did manage to get their Gold Cup campaign off to a good start. The United States did the job and managed a 2-1 win over Honduras to jump to the top of Group A at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday Night.

USA players celebrate Clint Dempsey's opener

courtesy Eric Guzman

Honduras had the better chances in the early stages as they were attacking the United States well. Both Anthony Lozano and Bryan Acosta had their early chances but were denied by the USA defense which kept them out.

MLS’ Andy Najar could well have had had the best early chance in the 6th minute after Mario Martinez found him on the edge of the area. Najar let rip a powerful shot but Brad Guzan made the save, sending it out for a corner.

That missed opportunity seemed to wake up the United States players as they started to look dangerous with Timothy Chandler being a key outlet. But too often the USA players just could not stay onside with both Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore being denied by the linesman’s flag.

After the tenth minute the match evened out, but not in a dull way, both sides fought for and managed to create chances. Soon enough the momentum started to swing the USA’s way and they were looking dangerous.

In the 25th minute Altidore found just enough space to get a shot away from close range but his effort was saved, going out for a corner. That corner proved vital as it was sent in and found former captain Clint Dempsey who headed it home, giving the USA a vital lead.

Following the goal the United States kept up the momentum and in the 31st minute they could well have doubled their lead. Fabian Johnson sent a ball through to DeAndre Yedlin who was able to get a shot away which was well saved by the goalkeeper.

In the final five minutes of the half Honduras were looking dangerous with Mario Martinez setting up two chances. Both of those chances were too high before Andy Najar had two late chances in the half as he sent both over the bar, keeping it 1-0 at the break.

The early stages of the second half saw the United States see plenty of the ball but they just could not get out of the midfield. It was still a solid performance from the United States and their next best chance came in the 64th minute.

That chance was a set piece and it worked perfectly with two of their stars combining well to double the USA lead. Michael Bradley sent in a perfect ball for Dempsey who was able to head it home and give USA a 2-0 lead.

But Honduras came back and just five minutes later they were able to pull the goal back that they so deserved. Wilmer Crisanto did well to find Carlos Disca who got the shot away well to pull a goal back and set up a tense final 20 minutes.

The possession in the final stages was all with Honduras as they almost constantly attacked the United States. In the final ten minutes Eddie Hernandez had two chances but missed both, first off a cross from Romell Quioto and the second from outside the box, letting USA off the hook.

There was one last chance for Honduras coming in stoppage time after Bryan Acosta headed the ball for Maynor Figueroa who sent his effort over the bar. It was that wayward shooting that decided the match as the USA held on for the 2-1 win.