When the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) takes the pitch Wednesday for a friendly tune up match against Mexico they will find themselves short two players. DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco, who both play for Puebla FC of Liga MX, were denied leave to join the USMNT for the friendly to be played at the University of Phoenix in Glendale, Arizona.
The match is not taking place during an official Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) international release window. This means that clubs are under no obligation to release players to return to their respective national teams for games.
According to USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the team received notice from Puebla that both DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco would not be released for the match between the USA and Mexico. This upset Klinsmann who was counting on having both of the players on the roster for tonight. To add fuel to the rivalry, it appeared that players on the Mexico National team were released from their Mexican clubs with no question.
This is the last tune up game for the United States Men’s National Team before the rosters for the World Cup must be turned into FIFA and Klinsmann was not planning on being short the two players against Mexico. While Beasley and Orozco are more than certain to be members of the World Cup roster, getting them in a game with players that they have had limited time playing with, and other potential teammates for the World Cup to see how they play with each other is an important fact that Puebla FC is denying the USMNT.
And it just adds to the rivalry between the USMNT and Mexico. A rivalry that started 80 years ago during a 1934 World Cup qualifying game that was won by the USMNT. Mexico has dominated the US men throughout the rivalry with 33 wins. The USMNT have collected 18 wins, most of them in the last 15 years. The two national teams have tied 13 times.
The rivalry took a twist last summer with the United States dominating the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament and Mexico falling short of qualifying for the World Cup and needing one final win to head to Brazil for the summer. Mexico had to face New Zealand, the Oceania champion as their final chance to enter the World Cup. Mexico won, and finally qualified for the 2014 World Cup.
With the drama of not having Beasley and Orozco on the roster for tonight’s game, the rivalry, and what is sure to be a stadium filled with fans of both teams, Coach Klinsmann is not as concerned with a victory tonight as he is with the performance of his players. A new face on the USMNT roster tonight will be 18-year-old striker Julian Green. Green, who was released for international play by Bayern Munich of Bundesliga, the top German soccer league, hopes to have his first cap for the US and potentially a spot on the 30 man roster for the World Cup.
Even with the United States Men’s National Team short two key players, the tune up against Mexico should be an exciting game. Beasley and Orozco will not be replaced on the roster for tonight’s game, so the USMNT will take to the pitch with 20 players. The game will air tonight on ESPN at 8:15 Pacific Standard Time.
Commentary by Carl Auer