Friday brought a rare blend of joy and disappointment – though thankfully a lot more of the former – for Matt Besler.
Sporting Kansas City's hometown hero got the nod from coach Jurgen Klinsmann to start for the US national team in their World Cup qualifier at St. Vincent & the Grenadines, his 36th international appearance.
Early in the day, Besler received word that his wife Amanda had given birth to their first child two weeks ahead of schedule. He had apparently explored a way to get home in time to be present, but the complicated series of connecting flights required to get from St. Vincent back to Kansas City made it impossible.
Besler said his baby was born 2 wks early. "I always knew that it was a risk coming down here.At the same time, you have to live your life."— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) September 2, 2016
Besler said w/travel conditions, there was 48-hour widow where he was stuck in SVG, making it "impossible to make it in time" for birth.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) September 2, 2016
But even though he couldn't witness the birth of his little one – a healthy little girl named Parker Rhea Besler – he found a way to mark the occasion nonetheless.
After an SVG defender headed a set-piece delivery from his club and country teammate Graham Zusi to the back post, Besler chested down the loose ball and deftly volleyed it past Vincy Heat goalkeeper Lemus Christopher for the USMNT's second goal of the day, helping to spark a 6-0 rout of the Caribbean minnows.
Besler's volley is his first international goal, and it makes a special day even more remarkable. Though the US have one more qualifier during the current window, vs. Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday, the KC native will head straight home to join his family.
Klinsmann says he spoke to Besler last night about the potential birth of his daughter. Besler told him he was 100% focused on the game.— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) September 2, 2016