This is not too much of a surprise call up for Acosta, who was called in the last round of World Cup qualifying back in March of 2016. Acosta represented the U.S. of A four times, with two qualifying caps to boost. Arena has been fond of using Acosta in the midfield, and with his hot start to the 2017 campaign, it’s no surprise he got the nod.
What was a surprise was the omission of Walker Zimmerman who looked very much the part of a dominant USMNT centerback in his recent appearances for the Yanks. Zimmerman drew rave reviews from Arena and it does make you wonder why he was left off.
What caught many of us off guard (to some degree) was the inclusion of captain Matt Hedges, who despite incredible domestic success, barely got a sniff at the national program with only two call-ups to boot and only one brief cameo at right back in 2015. Hedges was called up earlier this year, but had to withdraw from the camp due to injury.
We’ve been calling for Hedges to get a chance at the international level since 2013, so it’s good to see him get that chance. And while it may seem a bit unusual to call up a player with so little experience for an important stretch of World Cup Qualifiers - which includes a daunting match at Azteca - Arena has been known to bring players in with little to no experience (e.g. Pablo Mastroeni to the 2002 World Cup).
USMNT will have a tune up match on June 3 at 9pm CT against Venezuela at Rio Tinto in Sandy, Utah. They’ll follow that up with two qualifiers in four days, starting June 8 at 6:50pm CT at the Dick in Commerce City, CO and then on June 11 at 7:30pm CT at Azteca in Mexico City.
What do you guys think? Did Arena do it right by calling up Hedges? Why do you think Zimmerman was left out? Excited for Acosta to play significant minutes in his natural position?