FIFA.com did nice story on Benny Feilhaber, much of it about Feilhaber’s Brazilian roots; he moved from Rio de Janeiro to suburban New York City at age 7.
Some of it was over the top. Like the part where the writer went on about Feilhaber’s “true genius in the middle – a classic No 10 creator.” I mean, he’s a fine passer and can certainly hold his own as a creator … but let’s not get carried away.
Either way, the piece is centered around Feilhaber’s arrival into Brazil with the United States national team last month. It is a swell angle and a good read … but there’s a big asterisk to all this.
Is Feilhaber even destined to be on the U.S. team this summer?
The Sporting Kansas City man didn’t even start on the national team’s MLS-heavy version against South Korea that punctuated Jurgen Klinsmann’s January camp. That doesn’t say great things about his chances of gaining one of those 23 golden invitations.
If Feilhaber’s role in the U.S. plan is the linking man (the Michael Bradley role, that is), he probably remains behind Mix Diskerud (who started in the 2-0 win over Korea, but yielded to Feilhaber after an hour). And Sacha Kljestan is probably ahead of Feilhaber, too, having spent far more time and been given far more opportunities under Klinsmann over the last two years. (Like most other European-based players in the U.S. pool, Kljestan remained abroad for that match.)
Feilhaber seems to be in that big lump of players who are in the mix for three or four spots still up for grabs. He’s in the mix … but his appearance in Brazil is far, far from a sure thing.