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International Soccer; Crew Players Are Off The Radar

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Olman Vargas is the most recent Crew international call up.
Olman Vargas is the most recent Crew international call up.

Another series of call-ups by Jurgan Klinsmann and yet again, no Crew players in the group. It wasn't expected that Eddie Gaven or Chad Marshall would make their way on to the German's shortlist, it's only indicative of how far off the radar that many of the team's American players have fallen.

This issue also extends to the Crew's foreign contingent as Jairo Arrieta, Olman Vargas, Emilio Renteria, Julius James, and Chris Birchall weren't called in for midweek friendlies.

The circumstances are different for each team. Birchall and James appear to be the old guard left behind in a Trinidad and Tobago youth movement. Renteria, always a fringe player, has fallen further down the depth chart. Vargas hasn't gotten enough playing time and Arrieta needs to work back into the team's plans.

For the American contingent, the odds are a bit longer for the usual suspects. Eddie Gaven and Chad Marshall are well down the list in midfield and central defense respectively. Marshall's recent injury layoff does him no favors either. Brazil 2014 is still two years off, but both face long odds on getting there. Both are still in their mid 20's, but barring a surprise selection for the MLS January camp, their international careers are on indefinite hiatus.

The Crew does have a few other international prospects dotting the roster. Dilly Duka has struggled with injuries during a year that was expected to be his big breakout. His performances with the Generation Adidas and U-23 teams in the offseason turned heads, but missing the first half of the season dented his progress. He has an international career ahead of him if he can harness some of that immense talent.

Two other Crew players were backups at the beginning of the year, but have had excellent 2012 campaigns. Andy Gruenebaum in goal has been a revelation; he still will struggle to make it into the January camp with Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson, and Bill Hamid ahead of him in the depth chart. He's a deserving choice after such stellar year.

The other is the ultimate long shot. Josh Williams has played very well after seeing his first real game time this year. He can be raw at times, but he is supremely athletic. He's caught the attention of some league watchers, but he's already 24 and has a lot of catching up to do.

He's played centrally and on the right, but has recently been playing on the left. His versatility may be his greatest asset. Williams can look to other players like Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron who have worked their way into the National Team picture. It's unlikely he will receive that call, but he's a lot closer than he was in March.

It is a sanguine feeling knowing that the talent on the roster doesn't merit international attention. Crew diehards have little reason to watch Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela, or Costa Rica. There isn't that extra interest in U.S. National Team games. The bright side is that the team will be at full strength on Wednesday.