Sporting KC’s Besler named to USMNT for World Cup qualifiers

Sporting KC's Matt Besler will join the U.S. Men's National Team for two World Cup qualifying matches this month.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As the U.S. Men’s National Team continues to seek injury replacements for a pair of World Cup qualifiers this month, another Sporting Kansas City player will get an opportunity to join the team.

Defender Matt Besler, who was named to the roster on Sunday, joins Sporting KC teammate Graham Zusi on the team. The 30-year-old center back has 39 career caps for the United States, including 10 international appearances in 2016. He earned two starts at the Copa America last summer before scoring his first U.S. goal in a World Cup qualifying win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in September.

Besler and Zusi will join the team as it prepares to face Honduras in San Jose, California on March 24. Then, on March 28, they’ll leave the country to face Panama on its home turf in Panama City.

These matches are crucial for the USMNT, which already lost to Mexico and Costa Rica last November to open the Hexagonal. There are still eight games remaining in CONCACAF’s final qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the top three finishers automatically advancing to Russia 2018 and the fourth-place finisher meeting an Asian country in a two-legged playoff in November.

Besler, a native Kansan who is in his ninth season with Sporting KC, is the fifth longest-tenured player in club history, having made 242 appearances with SKC. In addition to winning the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012 and 2015 U.S. Open Cups, Besler has garnered MLS Best XI (2012-13), MLS All-Star (2011, 2013-16) and 2012 MLS Defender of the Year honors during a successful professional career.