Columbus Crew SC midfielder and master assister Ethan Finlay has been called up for the U.S. national team’s upcoming January camp and pair of friendlies, according to a report on MLSsoccer.com.
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The 25-year-old bagged 12 goals (tied-11th most) and 13 assists (5th most) during the 2015 regular season, helping Crew SC to their first MLS Cup final appearance since 2008 in the process.
After some initial confusion over his eligibility to play for either the USMNT or the Canadian national team, Finlay forced his way into the USMNT picture with that stellar 2015 season, which earned the Creighton University product a place on the MLS Best XI team.
There was speculation that Finlay – whose father was born in Canada – could play for the Canadian national team instead. Finlay has always maintained that he wanted to play for the USMNT, and there have been multiple reports that he would be ineligible for Canada regardless of his preference.
Finlay seems a natural fit for Jurgen Klinsmann’s often-used 4-2-3-1 system, given that he plays a similar system under his club coach, Gregg Berhalter, and fills a pretty glaring need for the senior team over the whole of 2015 — not an out-and-out winger, Finlay’s at his best when he tucks inside underneath a lone center forward, and can really link play between the midfield and the frontman.
The 2016 edition of January camp will begin on Jan. 10 and conclude in early February with a pair of friendlies, against Iceland (Jan. 31) and Canada (Feb. 5), at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.