If it happens, it happens. There’s other opportunities and I’m still young and I still have a future ahead of me. Like I said, the opportunities I’m getting now I’ll take advantage. —Luis Gil
SANDY — In an attempt to drum up excitement for next week’s friendly in Phoenix with the Mexico national team, U.S. Soccer splashed social media Wednesday with a photo graphic announcing the 23 players called in by coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the game.
Smack dab in the middle of the graphic was a photo of 20-year-old Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil.
With the World Cup less than three months away, Gil’s inclusion for the friendly with rival Mexico means he’s still very much in the hunt for a roster spot in the Brazil-hosted tournament this summer.
“If it happens, it happens. There’s other opportunities and I’m still young and I still have a future ahead of me. Like I said, the opportunities I’m getting now I’ll take advantage,” said Gil at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday.
It’s probably still a long shot to expect Gil to make the final U.S. roster. Klinsmann is likely grooming Gil for his post-World Cup role with the national team.
Anything can happen, though, and Gil is going to do his best to impress during his few days with the Yanks next week.
“It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be a great feeling for me to be out there. Whether I get into the match or just being in that atmosphere is going to be great experience for me,” said Gil.
Gil is one of three Real Salt Lake players called in for the friendly, with Klinsmann regulars Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando also getting the nod.
Klinsmann will actually be at Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday to scout out the trio as Real Salt Lake hosts Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. It’s also a chance for Klinsmann to see Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley play in person for the first time since he returned to MLS after a lengthy spell in Europe.
The quartet will then travel to Phoenix on Sunday to prepare for Wednesday’s match at the University of Phoenix Stadium. As of Wednesday afternoon U.S. Soccer said 47,000 tickets had already been sold.
For Gil and his RSL teammates, it might be their last chance to prove to Klinsmann they belong on the Brazil-bound plane this summer. The final roster is scheduled to be announced in May.
SABORIO GOOD TO GO: Despite lobbying efforts from the L.A. Galaxy last weekend, and then again from Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelson on Tuesday, Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio won’t be suspended by MLS this weekend.
Saborio received a yellow card for a dangerous foul on the Galaxy’s A.J. DeLaGarza in the second half last Saturday, a foul both Bruce Arena and Landon Donovan were very outspoken about saying was reckless and warranted additional punishment.
On Wednesday, the MLS disciplinary committee announced its weekly suspensions and Saborio’s name was not on the list.
The announcement was great news for RSL, which is already pretty thin at striker with the recent hamstring injury to Joao Plata, and Robbie Findley and Devon Sandoval both still recovering from offseason surgeries. Sandoval did train without limitations on Wednesday, according to RSL coach Jeff Cassar, which means his return to the pitch should be just around the corner.
As for public lobbying to get Saborio suspended, Cassar said, “I can understand a little bit for teams doing that. I’m not a big fan of doing it publicly. If they want to go through the committee and do it that way, that’s fine.”
Added RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy on Wednesday, “I just think you’re opening up a door because those plays are going to be in every game.”
More than anything, Grabavoy was surprised L.A. had such a negative tone with its postgame comments instead of “being positive with your team’s performance.”