Chicago Fire’s 2015 rookie standout Matt Polster will get a chance to make an impression on the biggest stage this January after receiving a call-up to join the senior national team.
Polster will join coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his national team colleagues in Los Angeles from Jan. 11 to Feb. 6. The team will play two friendlies, one against Iceland on Jan. 31 and another against Canada on Feb. 5.
The call-up could be considered surprising but one of the apparent goals of the camp is to get the Under-23 team ready for its massive double leg meeting with Colombia. After failing to qualify for the 2016 Olympics during CONCACAF play, the U-23 team must defeat Colombia in a home-and-away to book a spot in Brazil.
Klinsmann, who generally brings only a handful of MLS players into his camps, selected a nearly exclusive MLS lineup because of the number of U-23 members residing there. There are 11 total U-23 eligible members in camp.
The initial camp roster has Polster listed as a defender, meaning he will likely be deployed at right back if he sees any game action. While he could see time in the midfield, it is a bit clogged with the likes of veteran stalwarts Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones and highly touted prospects such as Darlington Nagbe and Will Trapp, who have previous senior team experience.
Still, it is exciting to see Polster get a chance to play under the pressure of the watchful eyes of Klinsmann and his staff. Those high pressure situations should make MLS competition all that more comfortable for the young player.
Regardless of the game time he sees in the two friendlies, chances are he will feature in the more important Colombia clashes in March. Polster started five matches during the U-23 CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers.
Here is the full roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
DEFENDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (Unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Unattached), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
What do you think of the call-up? Where would you like to see Polster play?