Sporting KC forward Soony Saad to remain with Lebanon for FIFA World Cup qualifiers
Sporting Kansas City forward Soony Saad will remain with the Lebanon Men’s National team for the country’s final two matches in the fourth round of FIFA World Cup qualifying. Lebanon will host South Korea on June 4 in Beirut before traveling to Tehran to play Iran on June 11.
Saad, 20, scored on his international debut for Lebanon in a 1-1 draw with Oman on Wednesday in an international friendly held in Qatar. He joined Lebanon last weekend for the first time since becoming eligible to represent the country earlier this month and became the first player in MLS history to join the Lebanon Men's National Team.
Lebanon, No. 129 in the latest FIFA rankings, have four points through six games in Group A of the Asian Football Confederation’s fourth round of FIFA World Cup qualifying. The group’s top two teams will secure a berth to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while the third place team advances to the fifth round of qualifying.
Acquired by Sporting KC via a weighted lottery in 2011, Saad scored in his MLS debut and has added two assists in 21 career MLS appearances (including playoffs) including a game-winning assist last month against D.C. United. He scored two goals during Sporting Kanas City's run to the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship and also scored against Club Deportivo Guadalajara in an international friendly.
Saad has previously represented the United States at the youth level, most recently appearing for the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team in December 2010. He was a member of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. for the Spring Semester in 2009 and was the 2008 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Player of the Year in 2008.
Sporting Kansas City will be without Saad and three additional players on Saturday when the team hosts the Montreal Impact at 7:30 p.m. CT at Sporting Park. Defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi are currently with the U.S. Men’s National Team, while midfielder Mikey Lopez joined the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in France for the Toulon Tournament.
Following Saturday’s match, three more Sporting KC players will depart for international duty. Forward Kei Kamara will join Sierra Leone for FIFA World Cup Qualifiers versus Tunisia and Cape Verde Islands. Defender Mechack Jerome and midfielder Peterson Joseph will join Haiti for a two international friendlies against Spain and Italy.