March 21, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Former University of Notre Dame soccer standouts Matt Besler (`09) and Justin Morrow (`10) have been named to the U.S. Men's National Team's 23-man roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.
The U.S. will face Costa Rica Friday at sold-out Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. The match is slated for 8 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas.
On Tuesday, the U.S. will seek its first-ever World Cup qualifying win against Mexico on Mexico's home soil. Kickoff from Estadio Azteca is set for 10:30 p.m. (ET), with coverage on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision beginning at 9 p.m. (ET). Fans can follow both matches on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
Besler was on the U.S. roster for its World Cup qualifying loss (2-1) at Honduras on Feb. 6. That signified the first time a current or former Notre Dame player was on a senior national team squad for a World Cup qualifier. He did not play in the match.
Besler and Morrow started on the U.S. backline in a friendly versus Canada in January. The duo played the entire contest, which ended as a scoreless draw. They became the first Fighting Irish alums to earn a cap for the U.S. Men's National Team. Besler also was on the U.S. roster for the 1-0 victory over Mexico at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City back in August.
Besler, a Sporting Kansas City central defender, was voted the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year. He started 30 of his 31 appearances and anchored a Sporting Kansas City defense that allowed just 27 goals in 34 MLS matches to lead all MLS teams with the fewest goals conceded. Besler was an MLS All-Star in 2011.
At Notre Dame, Besler played in 90 matches, including 73 starts, from 2005-08 and tallied five goals and seven assists. He earned first team All-America honors as a senior. Besler was a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree and was named the 2008 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Morrow currently plays in the MLS for the San Jose Earthquakes. He was the starting left back on the 2012 MLS All-Star squad that defeated Chelsea from the English Premier League, 3-2. Morrow started all 33 matches during the 2012 campaign and notched one goal and four assists for San Jose.
Morrow appeared in 89 career matches, including 64 starts, from 2006-09 at Notre Dame. He tallied 21 points on seven goals and seven assists with the Fighting Irish. Morrow earned second team all-BIG EAST honors as a senior.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa - 5/3 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire - 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake - 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake - 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City - 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City - 6/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy - 1/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby - 5/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes - 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla - 26/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake - 2/0), Michael Bradley (Roma - 20/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana - 1/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor - 10/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 - 6/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht - 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City - 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City - 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar - 18/6), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna - 2/0), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur - 27/11), Herculez Gomez (Santos - 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC - 12/10)