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FC Dallas players leave for international duty

Aug 18, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Carlos Gruezo (7) in action during the game against the Minnesota United at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

FRISCO, Texas — FC Dallas players Reggie Cannon, Carlos Gruezo and Maynor Figueroa have all departed for their respective national teams during the FIFA international window. 

The players left immediately after Dallas’ 2-0 victory over Orlando City this past weekend. While this week serves as a break for some teams in Major League Soccer, FCD will have a road match Saturday against D.C. United at Audi Field. Gruezo and Cannon’s spots in the starting lineup will need to be filled.

“It’s an opportunity for somebody else to play,” FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said when asked about the match during the international break. 

Figueroa will return to the Honduran national team as the all-time caps leader for the country. He will travel to the United Arab Emirates to take on the U.A.E Oct. 10.

Cannon will be with the United States when the team plays Colombia Oct. 11 and Peru Oct. 16. It is his first call-up to the senior national team after a strong MLS season, where he has played in every match. He revealed that he was on the 40-man shortlist for the September friendlies, so is excited to make the final roster for the upcoming matches.

“It’s an honor,” Cannon said. “I’ve never had the joy of being called-up but I can’t wait to see and learn from the best in the world. There are the guys that are my age that are making a much bigger impact. I want to see what it takes to get to that level. I want to study the game, I want to study these players, and see what they have to bring to the camp. These guys have done it all.”

Cannon is especially excited to see was former FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta  this week. The two will be roommates during the international break. Cannon also credited Acosta for helping him out with his adjustment to becoming a starter. Acosta, now with the Colorado Rapids, has 19 appearances for the U.S. men’s national team. Even at 23, Acosta is more of a veteran on the younger U.S. side suiting up for the matches.

“Kellyn will definitely help me through all that stuff,” Cannon said. “It’s great to have someone like that in the camp, who’s helped me come to this level with MLS and now at the international level.”

While Cannon is making his first appearance for his national team, Gruezo is making his return. The Ecuadorian has not been with the national team since Sept. 1, 2017, in the team’s 2-0 World Cup Qualifier loss against Brazil. 

“Honestly, I am very happy,” Gruezo said to ProSoccer USA. “I hadn’t really worked towards that, but they gave me the opportunity after having a good season here with FC Dallas, and I hope to continue that way and to get the cup here and to go over there do things right and make an impact with the national team.”

Ecuador will be in Doha, the capital of Qatar, taking part in friendlies against Qatar on Oct. 12 and Oman on Oct. 16. Ecuador is preparing for the 2019 edition of Copa America, and Gruezo wants to be a part of that roster.

“Go over there with calmness, work, do things that the coach wants and to continue to get national call-ups to be in a position to help the national team make it to Copa America.” Gruezo said when asked his goals for this call-up.

Gruezo credited FC Dallas’ coaching staff for his return to the national team. It was a rough start to the MLS season for him, but after a benching and switch back to a more defensive role, Gruezo has emerged as one of the key players in Dallas’ success so far this season.

“They’ve helped me a lot,” Gruezo said. “They’ve given me a lot of opportunities, and they have always believed in me and supported me in every moment. Coach Oscar would always tell me that I would get called up at any moment, I just needed to be ready. So, thank God for the opportunity. I hope to go over there and do things right and that I continue to work like I have been to this day, without losing focus or straying from what is here in MLS.”

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