While FCD is off until hosting next week's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round match against Houston on Wednesday, June 12, five FC Dallas players were called up for national team duty and qualifying for next summer’s World Cup. Here’s a runodwn of what awaits each player and his team:
Blas Perez (Panama)- Panama currently sits atop the standings of the CONCACAF qualifying group for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as we head into the fourth round of group play. Panama must remain in the top three in order to automatically qualify. They have three huge matches that will go a long way to determining if they'll qualify for a first-ever FIFA World Cup.
Panama will host Mexico on Friday, June 7 before traveling to Seattle to take on the United States on Tuesday, June 11. They'll wrap up their trio of World Cup Qualifiers at Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 18.
Looking further ahead, Panama’s next task is the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. Panama opens Gold Cup group play on July 11 against Martinique.
Raul Fernandez (Peru)- Peru’s route to the World Cup runs through CONMEBOL, qualification for the South American zone. Peru currently sits at seventh in the standings, and only the top four teams automatically advance, so Peru has a tall task ahead. However, the side is only four points out of that final automatic qualification spot, so things are still very much up for grabs.
Qualification matches run through mid-October, with upcoming matchdays in June, where Peru will host Ecuador on Friday, June 7(BeIn Sport) before traveling to Colombia for another huge match on June 11. Fernandez should be slated to start in goal for both of those crucial games.
Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica)- Jamaica also has some work to do to qualify for the World Cup, as the team is at the bottom of the CONCACAF group with two points from three matches, though the team is only three points behind first-place Panama in the tightly-contested group. Watson and Jamaica will have plenty of opportunity to make up lost ground with a home match against Mexico on Tuesday, June 4. The Reggae Boyz then host the United States on Friday, June 7(BeIn Sport) before wrapping up their trio of qualifiers at Honduras on June 11.
Kellyn Acosta (United States U-20)- Acosta was recently called up to the US Under-20 National Team, just in time for international play this summer. The team is wrapping up play in the Toulon Tournament in France. The U-20s opened the tournament last week with losses to Colombia and France, with Acosta starting in the 2-1 loss to Colombia in which FCD Academy alumni Danny Garcia scored the United States' lone goal. Acosta also played 90 minutes in Saturday's 1-0 win over Congo DR. The tournament in France serves as one of the final preparations for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup that starts on June 21 in Turkey, and the Americans wrap up play on Wednesday with a match against South Korea. All Toulon Tournament games are televised on BeIn Sport.
Richard Sanchez (Mexico U-20)- The Mexico side also qualified for the U-20 World Cup, beating the USA in the CONCACAF U-20 championship game with Sanchez being named goalkeeper of the tournament. In the mean time, the Mexico U-20s are participating in the Toulon Tournament as well. Mexico defeated Nigeria to start off the tournament, then fell to Brazil 1-0. Sanchez's team will wrap things up with games against Portugal and Belgium, and could still qualify for either the first or third-place game.