FRISCO, Texas—FC Dallas Homegrown product Kellyn Acosta didn’t wear an FC Dallas uniform when he suited up at Toyota Stadium last week – instead he wore the Red, White and Blue.
But after being called up by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to the US national team, he didn’t see the field in the team’s 1-0 friendly win over Ecuador.
Acosta knows what he needs to do to change that.
“I just think I need to establish myself as a constant starter here at FC Dallas, and then hopefully Jurgen likes that and chooses me,” Acosta told MLSSoccer.com. “Right now, I just need to focus on being a consistent starter and keep building and contribute more to the team – maybe get more on the stat sheet, that kind of thing.”
Acosta is coming off his best season since signing a Homegrown Player contract in 2012, scoring three goals and two assists in 21 games last year, 19 of those he started.
He’s started eight of 14 games so far in 2016 and has already passed the assist total with three, including two crucial ones in a 4-2 road win at New England last month. But he has yet to score a goal – something he knows he needs to do in order to advance in the national team ranks.
“That pays dividends for most players,” Acosta said. “If I can get more assists and more goals to contribute to the team more, I think people kind of pay more attention to that.”
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja has rotated Acosta in and out of the Starting XI in a three-man platoon at defensive midfield, alternating a two-man combination between Acosta, Victor Ulloa, and young Designated Player signing Carlos Gruezo.
Pareja understands that for Acosta to be a more prominent member of the USMNT, he needs to do exactly what he’s trying to do – get on the stat sheet for FC Dallas.
“That’s the correct path, and the correct thought also,” Pareja told MLSSoccer.com. “The player first needs to take care of his local tournaments, because that’s the way they get there. The national team is always a result, or consequence, of good work with your local team.”
Acosta is near the back-end of his first professional contract with Dallas, but isn’t focusing on what’s coming up next in his young career.
Instead, the task at hand for the Plano, Texas native is to stand out even more to Klinsmann, focusing on the here-and-now without worrying about his club future.
“I kind of just take it day by day and work hard each day, and the rest will fall into place,” Acosta said. “I talked to Oscar a little bit, and he said not to worry about the future – worry about what’s right now. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing.
“Hopefully in five years, I’ll be with the senior team playing D-mid [rather] than outside back. We’ll see. If that’s the position he really wants me to play, I’ll be glad to do so. I just want to be on the team.”