The Houston Dynamo have a strong tradition of putting players in the US national team picture and another strong run to MLS Cup in 2012 sees a new group primed to carry on that tradition as midfielder Brad Davis, forward Will Bruin and goalkeeper Tally Hall were called into USMNT camp starting Monday, January 7.
Based on their performances, the call-ups should come as no surprise, as all three set career marks in 2012. Bruin and Davis established career highs in goals and Hall set the franchise record for shutouts as the Dynamo advanced to MLS Cup, where they fell to the LA Galaxy.
Now a little over a month after their MLS Cup disappointment, the trio will venture back to California for a national team camp that will culminate with a match against Canada in Houston on January 29.
“It’s an opportunity to go in and open some eyes and have an opportunity to be involved in a [World Cup] qualifier,” Davis told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “With the first qualifier just seven or so days after that friendly, you never know. You get called in, have a good camp and game and that could be the opportunity.”
Conventional wisdom says the shift to Klinsmann’s 4-3-3 could exclude a winger like Davis and a traditional forward like Bruin. However, the pair helped the Dynamo make a successful summer shift to a 4-3-3 that is similar to the one the US played against Russia in November.
“I think this whole year with the Dynamo has really helped,” Bruin told MLSsoccer.com. “When [head coach Dominic Kinnear] said we were switching to a 4-3-3 it was something I’d never done, but he said he had faith in me, moving to it and learning. It caught me off-guard, but it’s definitely an honor to get a chance to represent your country and I’m really excited for it.”
While the Dynamo attackers perhaps benefitted from a shift in tactics, Hall heard on Friday that he was being invited to camp.
Hall has been a goalkeeper on the rise in MLS since assuming the Houston starting job two seasons ago. He earned an All-Star nod in 2011 and now joins the competitive fray at a position which is arguably the USA's deepest. But despite the individual nature of the position, Hall credited his team for his call.
“Obviously being on a successful team has helped me tremendously,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com. “When you’re on a good team you look better, there’s no question about that. So I’m blessed to be on the team I’m on. Now I’ve got the call, so I’m excited. It’s all about having your shots and taking them.”
Like Hall, the feeling among the group is the same. Make a good showing in camp, then on their home field at BBVA Compass Stadium against Canada on January 29 and try and force Klinsmann’s hand on their inclusion in the future.
“You’ve got the chance and now you have to go make the most of it,” Davis said. “That’s what I’m going to do. Go there, work hard, open some eyes and make it difficult for him not to choose me and then go from there.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.