By DAN KARELL
With the FIFA international dates coming closer, and national teams in the CONCACAF region preparing for either Hexagonal play, friendly matches, or both, numerous Major League Soccer players have been chosen to take part.
Jamaica has called up Portland Timbers duo Donovan Ricketts and Ryan Johnson along with Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks to a 12-day training camp, where the Jamaican side will play Tottenham Hotspurs in a friendly match on Wednesday and then The Bahamas on May 31, before three World Cup qualifiers in June.
San Jose Earthquakes pair Marvin Chavez and Victor Bernardez are two of four MLS players chosen by Honduras for a friendly match against Israel on June 2, and then qualifying matches against Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the United States. Mario Martinez of the Seattle Sounders and Jerry Bengtson are also part of the squad.
El Salvador has called in Chivas USA defender Steve Purdy for a training camp and friendly match against Venezuela on Wednesday, while Haiti has selected Sporting Kansas City duo Mechack Jerome and Peterson Joseph for friendly matches against Spain and Italy.
Here are some more stories to get catch you up around the league:
RUIZ NOT HAPPY WITH CURRENT ROLE
Carlos “El Pescadito” Ruiz has made a pretty nice career for himself in MLS, but playing under D.C. United manager Ben Olsen, Ruiz has struggled to find regular playing time.
The former Guatemala international has played in just seven matches this season, all off the bench, and following a one minute performance in D.C.’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, Ruiz went public with his playing time complaints.
“Never in my career I had lived the experience I lived in DC with explanations,” Ruiz told FutbolMLS.com. “I would like to clarify something: I am physically at one hundred percent and this is not something that can be attributed to the fact that I’m injured, sick or have not recovered my physical condition.”
Ruiz added: “To be honest, I do not know anything, I have no idea why I have not been given that opportunity.”
A former MLS MVP, Ruiz has scored 88 career goals in nine MLS seasons with five teams, most notably the Los Angeles Galaxy.
MARTINS BACK FROM KIDNEY STONES
Despite being one of the Montreal Impact’s key players early on this season, Felipe Martins was left off the starting lineup in last Wednesday’s Canadian Championship match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Turns out, it’s because Martins was in the hospital for kidney stones.
The 22-year-old is fully fit now, but before leading up to the match against the Whitecaps Martins had to spend time in the emergency room due to severe pain. The Brazilian midfielder came on in the 62nd minute of the scoreless draw against their Canadian counterparts, but says he didn’t really feel himself on the pitch.
“I wasn’t 100 percent, but when you’re playing a final, you give everything you have,” Martins told MLSSoccer.com. “You want to do everything, but you can’t. … Now I’m good and hopefully I’ll get better every day so I’m ready for the next game.”
D.C. UNITED INVITE THREE NEW TRIALISTS
A week after hosting former American international Frank Simek and Akpo Sodje on trials, D.C. United has invited three more players to take part in practices, including American forward Mike Grella.
Grella just finished his first season at Scunthorpe United in England’s League One, scoring just once in 25 league appearances. The former Duke Blue Devil has played all across England, first with Leeds United, and since then playing for the likes of Bury, Brentford, Carslisle United, and Swindon Town.
Grella was joined at training on Tuesday by fullback Peter Gregory, who played for the Nottingham Forest U-21’s this past season, and Jesjua Angoy Cruijff from Wigan, who is reportedly the grandson of Netherlands legend Johan Cruijff.
What do you make of this news? How do you see the call-ups affecting MLS teams? Do you see Ruiz leaving this summer? Do you see D.C. United signing Grella?
Share your thoughts below.