FC Dallas blocks USMNT call-ups amid CCL prep

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According to a number of US Soccer writers, including Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep and Steven Goff of the Washington Post, Major League Soccer club FC Dallas has blocked any of its players from attending the USMNT January Camp despite US Soccer initially calling in a number of the club’s players.

The players called in were not named, but midfielder Kellyn Acosta is likely one of them, a player who despite seemingly cementing his position as a repeat call-in, has struggled in his recent international appearances and at just 22 years old, could use all the time he can get in the national setup.

Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez is another young player who would find time in the January camp invaluable. The 22-year-old won the starting job at FC Dallas and is considered to be a significant challenger to take over long-term for Tim Howard, having committed to the United States over Mexico. 27-year-old defender Matt Hedges is a player on the fringes of the national setup and someone who would find the time in January camp particularly useful.

FC Dallas released a statement alluding to the reports, backing up the claims and providing reasoning for their decision. “Our sole focus right now is preparing for the 2018 MLS season and our CONACAF Champions League matches in February,” said FC Dallas VP of Media and Communications Gina Miller via email to members of the media.  “We will have a number of new players to integrate into the club. It’s important for our coaches and technical staff to have the full roster of players available to do that.”

MLS clubs are not allowed to begin official training until January 22nd per the collective bargaining agreement, but reports say Hedges is leading unofficial team workouts. FC Dallas begins its CONCACAF Champions League knockout stage journey  January 20th on the road at Panamanian club Tauro FC, with the second leg at home seven days later. They begin the MLS season on March 3rd at home against Real Salt Lake.

Galarcep pointed out that all four other Major League Soccer teams in the CONCACAF Champions League – Colorado, Toronto, Seattle Sounders, and the New York Red Bulls – have players taking part in the January camp, including Tyler Adams (RBNY), Cristian Roldan (Seattle), Jordan Morris (Seattle), and Marlon Hairston (Colorado).