COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – At just 21 years old, Kellyn Acosta has already made a name for himself at the club level, having scored some big-time goals for FC Dallas in both league play and CONCACAF Champions League.
Now, he's looking to make his mark on the international stage, having been called up to the latest U.S. Men’s National Team camp ahead of three upcoming matches in June.
“We have two big [World Cup Qualifiers] where we definitely need results. Playing here against Trinidad is going to be tough, but it’s a game we know we can win and a result that we need. We’ll do whatever we can to get the points,” Acosta told MLSsoccer.com this week. “I’m just trying to work as hard as possible, bring my abilities, and hopefully get the nod for the friendly [against Venezuela] and for the competition coming up.”
USMNT manager Bruce Arena has some tough decisions ahead of him when it comes to selecting the right midfield combination. But he stressed that with numerous games in quick succession ahead for the US, each player will be given a fair share of opportunity.
“We have a bunch of good players here,” Arena told reporters this week. “Given the circumstances of a lot of games in a short period, especially Trinidad and Mexico, we’re going to use a lot more players than we typically do. We’re watching everybody and thinking about how we’re going to best utilize them.”
Additionally, with USMNT and LA Galaxy midfielder Jermaine Jones sidelined with a knee injury, there's even more opportunity for Acosta and the eight other midfielders called into the two-week camp.
“That’s what happens when a player gets injured or is on yellow card accumulation or a red card. There’s an opportunity for someone to step up,” Acosta said. “It’s unfortunate that Jermaine picked up an injury, but now it’s my time to step up into the role.”
With his goal-scoring ability, comfort in a box-to-box role, and willingness to contribute on defense, Acosta makes for a good choice.
“Kellyn is obviously a very good young player,” Arena said. “He’s had a good year with Dallas. We saw him in camp in January and liked him; he did a good job in March.”
At the club level, Acosta has started 10 of Dallas’ 12 matches through the 2017 campaign to date, contributing three goals and two assists along the way.
“Right now I’m playing with a lot of confidence,” he said. “So I’m trying to bring what I bring with club level to the international level and hopefully that’s enough to get some minutes and contribute to the team as well.”
He knows he’ll have to continue an upward trend in order to make an impression and gain those valuable minutes.
“At the end of the day, it’s Bruce’s decision who he plays,” Acosta said. “What I can bring is my energy, my confidence and just be comfortable out there.”