All-Star: Sporting KC's Matt Besler, Graham Zusi delighted to rejoin USMNT colleagues
The Sporting Kansas City teammates and longtime friends were among eight members of the United States' World Cup team selected to the Fan XI for the Aug. 6 match against Bayern Munich in Portland (9 pm ET; ESPN2, UniMas in the US; TSN/RDS in Canada). Both featured in all four matches in Brazil as the Nats reached the Round of 16 before bowing out 2-1 to Belgium in extra time.
“It looks like that was the theme, with how the voting went,” Besler told reporters on Friday. “It'll be fun. It'll be fun to get back together. Obviously, we've had some experience the last couple of months. So hopefully we can have some good chemistry, and hopefully we can play a good game and play well together and get a good result.”
This is the third All-Star berth for each, and the second straight year for both to be selected.
“That's a fan vote, and it's awesome to be recognized by the fans – not only in Kansas City but around the country,” said Zusi, who will be making his third straight All-Star Game appearance. “Obviously, I'm going to try to represent Sporting and Kansas City the best I can.”
Manager Peter Vermes isn't surprised that the two have become All-Star fixtures, Besler in central defense and Zusi as a winger/midfielder, along with helping Sporting win the 2012 US Open Cup and last year's MLS Cup title.
To Vermes, the continued accolades reflect the way the two stars approach the game.
“As I always tell all of our players, whether it's those types of things or winning, you can't take any of it for granted,” he said on Friday, during the club's weekly news conference. “It takes a commitment. It takes a consistency in what you do and never believing that you've arrived. Because when you believe that, all of a sudden about five things pass you by, and you're left behind. So I think more of it is attributed to the fact that they followed some of that advice.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.