Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The U.S. Men’s National Team were stunned on Sunday when they learned they’d be without two of their Liga MX-based players for Wednesday’s friendly match against Mexico.
According to a report from Univision Deportes, Puebla have declined to release left back DaMarcus Beasley and centerback Michael Orozco Fiscal for the upcoming USMNT friendly in Phoenix. USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann avoided calling up players on Liga MX sides still competing in the CONCACAF Champions League, but he was left very upset by Puebla’s late decision.
“Well, we got notice today from Puebla that they won’t release DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco which we planned on (having here) and we are very angry about this,” Klinsmann told Univision Deportes.
“The Mexican clubs released all their players for this very prestigious friendly, and for us, the World Cup is coming up and (this friendly is) very important. A team that doesn’t play in the CONCACAF Champions League next week, Puebla, which we have a lot of respect for, but don’t release our two players which are very important players to us, makes us upset. I told the players and I told (Puebla) through my people to the club, and we don’t appreciate that at all.”
U.S. Soccer confirmed the news Monday afternoon, adding that Klinsmann will not make any replacements on the roster to fill those two spots.
As the match falls outside of an official FIFA date, Puebla were under no obligation to release their players. However, it seems there was an understanding or at the very least an assumption from U.S. Soccer that Puebla would allow Orozco and Beasley to join the USMNT for this midweek World Cup tune-up.
“When the match was scheduled, it was with the spirit that both teams would have access to their domestic-based players for what is a very important game for those competing for spots in the World Cup,” Klinsmann said in a statement by U.S. Soccer. “Both MLS and most clubs in Liga MX honored that idea. While we understand their position, it’s a huge opportunity lost for DaMarcus and Michael and doesn’t contribute to the continuation of this respected rivalry.”
The disagreement leaves the USMNT with six defenders, as well as the chance for Michael Parkhurst to play left back for the U.S. as he did against South Korea on Feb. 1. Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera called up 18 players from just seven of Liga MX’s 18 clubs for his El Tri squad to face the USA. No Puebla players were called up for El Tri.
Puebla sit currently in dead last in the Liga MX standings, with one point and no wins from their last four games.
What do you think of this report? Surprised that Puebla wouldn’t release Beasley and Orozco? Think that Klinsmann shouldn’t complain if it’s outside of a FIFA date? How does this affect the potential USMNT starting XI?
Share your thoughts below.