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Roster News

Puebla Withholds Beasley & Orozco From Mexico Match

Gamesmanship? A little regional rivalry? Whatever the reason, Puebla will not release Michael Orozco and DaMarcus Beasley for Wednesday's U.S. - Mexico friendly—and Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't like it.

BY Brooke Tunstall Posted
March 31, 2014
5:05 PM
A CLEARLY MIFFED Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup choices for Wednesday’s World Cup tune-up against Mexico (11 p.m. Eastern; ESPN2, UniMas) got even more limited when Liga MX club Puebla refused to release defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco for the friendly. The U.S. Soccer Federation said no additional players would be named to the roster as replacements.

Because the game is not on an official FIFA match day, clubs are not obligated to release players for the contest, one of the last games for Klismann to evaluate players before he names his preliminary roster for June’s World Cup in Brazil.

"We are very disappointed in the decision by Puebla," Klinsmann said in a release. "When the match was scheduled, it was with the spirit that both teams would have access to their domestic-based players for what is a very important game for those competing for spots in the World Cup. Both MLS and most clubs in Liga MX honored that idea."

"While we understand their position," Klinsmann continued, "it's a huge opportunity lost for DaMarcus and Michael and doesn't contribute to the continuation of this respected rivalry."

Puebla, it bears, mentioning is in a relegation battle and only five points about the drop zone. And it's not as thought the club is allowing its players to represent El Tri but not Uncle Sam because Puebla does not have any Mexican internationals who were called up for the match.

While Klinsmann’s emotions are understandable, the suggestion that this decision by Puebla will impact the relationship between the U.S. and Mexican federations is somewhat dubious. Games between the two national teams are highly profitable for both sides and Mexican clubs regularly make lucrative appearances north of the border—with U.S. Soccer enjoying a cut off the top of those games. Neither side is going to let a decision like this stop the money from flowing.

With the exception of Bayern Munich reserve wunderkind Julian Green, the U.S. was already limited to North America-based players, though the vast American contingent from Mexico’s Tijuana Xolos—including Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, and Herculez Gomez—were also unavailable because of their participation this week in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions’ League.

Further, Seattle’s Brad Evans, who started at right back for the U.S. much of last year, was originally named to the roster for the Mexico game but was dropped yesterday because of injury. Real Salt Lake’s Tony Beltran, a tremendous longshot for the World Cup squad, took Evans' spot.

While missing this game likely won’t impact Beasley’s chances for making the squad that goes to Brazil, the same can’t be said for Orozco, whose versatility could win him one of the last spots on the roster—if given a chance to show well. That chance won’t come Wednesday.

The U.S. will now be very thin at fullback for the Mexico game, with Columbus’ Michael Parkhurst, Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin, and Beltran the only fullbacks available. Klinsmann could also move a midfielder like Houston’s Brad Davis or Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi to fullback in a pinch.

Brooke Tunstall is a veteran journalist who has covered Major League Soccer since its initial player dispersal draft. You can follow him on Twitter.

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