Monday, November 10, 2014

Sporting KC captain Matt Besler named to U.S. roster for upcoming friendlies

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler was named to the United States 25-player roster on Monday for the national team's final two matches of the year.

The U.S. will face Colombia at 1:45 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 14 at Craven Cottage in London (ESPN, UniMas) before taking on the Republic of Ireland at 1:45 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 18
at Aviva Stadium in Dublin (ESPN2).

"I'm excited to join the U.S. Men's National Team for these upcoming friendlies in Europe," Besler said. "Colombia and Ireland are tough opponents and will provide us strong tests as we look to close out 2014 on a high note."

Besler has made 22 international appearances for the United States since his debut in 2013. The 27-year-old central defender started all four games for the U.S. MNT at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and leads the team with 10 games started this year.

An Overland Park, Kansas native, Besler has made 161 appearances in MLS competition (including postseason) over six seasons since being selected in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame. He is a three-time MLS All-Star (2011, 2013, 2014) and has twice been named to the MLS Best XI (2012, 2013) to go along with an MLS Defender of the Year honor in 2012.

Besler anchors a Sporting KC backline that has conceded the fewest shots and shots on target among MLS teams in each of the past three years. Since 2011, he ranks first among all MLS defenders with 4,756 successful passes and he is second among defenders with 8,200 touches and 906 clearances over that same span.

The United States is 6-3-4 in 2014 and reached the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, finishing runners-up in Group G behind eventual champions Germany. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has led the U.S. MNT to a 33-13-11 record since his hiring in 2011 and is on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA World Coach of the Year in 2014.

Colombia - ranked No. 3 in the world - reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup behind Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez with six goals and two assists. Rodriguez is a FIFA Ballon d'Or finalist and has six goals and five assists since joining Real Madrid in Spain's La Liga. Colombia captain Radamel Falcao has returned from a knee injury to feature with Manchester United in the English Premier League.

The Republic of Ireland currently sits atop Group D in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying after a 1-1 draw with World Cup champions Germany last month. The side is led by captain Robbie Keane, who has 60 goals and 38 assists for the LA Galaxy in the past four MLS seasons (including playoffs).