Matt Besler named to U.S. MNT for two World Cup qualifiers

Matt Besler - USMNT vs. Belgium World Cup

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler has been named to the 23-player roster for the United States Men’s National Team ahead of two World Cup qualifiers, U.S. Soccer announced on Friday.

The U.S. begins its journey to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying on Nov. 13 against St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (5:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas, UDN). The U.S. will then travel to face Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 17 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain (5 p.m. CT, beIN Sports, NBC Universo).

“I'm grateful for another opportunity to represent my country with my U.S. teammates,” Besler said. “The beginning of World Cup qualifying is an exciting time and I look forward to starting our campaign on the right note. Playing in front of the American Outlaws and the rest of our fans at Busch Stadium is going to be a great memory.”

Besler, 28, has earned 27 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including three friendly appearances in 2015 and a start in the CONCACAF Cup last month. The Sporting Kansas City captain recorded his first international assist to Brek Shea in a friendly at Chile on Jan. 28 and most recently played 120 minutes in a 3-2 loss to Mexico on Oct. 10.

Besler logged 38 appearances for Sporting Kansas City in 2015 and guided the club to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship, its third major trophy in four years. He anchored a backline that conceded the fewest shots in MLS, led the League in clearances and added a career-high four assists in all competitions. The Overland Park, Kansas, native was named an MLS All-Star for the fourth time and shared Sporting KC Defensive Player of the Year honors with Soni Mustivar.

Led by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the United States joins 11 other CONCACAF nations in the fourth round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Participants are divided into three groups of four teams, with the U.S. in Group C alongside St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guatemala. After a home-and-away round robin, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the decisive fifth round commencing in November 2017.

Besler made his international debut in January 2013 and helped lead the U.S. to the CONCACAF Gold Cup title later that year. He was also a key contributor during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, starting all four matches as the United States advanced to the Round of 16.