New Crew SC signing Cedrick Mabwati started, and played all 120 minutes in Democratic Republic of the Congo's 0-0 (4-2) win over Equatorial Guinea in the Third-Place Match of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday. Mabwati was the first player step-up to the spot and convert for DR Congo in the penalty shootout to help his nation to the victory.
Mabwati is set to arrive in Columbus this summer following his loan spell in Spain with Osasuna.
The first U.S. Men's National Team camp of 2015 comes to a close Sunday as the Americans host Panama at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Coming off a 3-2 defeat in Chile last week, Jürgen Klinsmann's side looks to end the camp on a high note with a positive result on home soil.
Crew SC's Wil Trapp is one of several new faces in the USMNT camp, earning his first Senior Team cap against Chile. Despite the influx of new players, Trapp says a result against Panama is the main focus on Sunday.
"The goal is to win the game," Trapp said over the phone. "We understand it’s a new group of guys, but we’ve been together for a while now. We didn’t get a result in Chile when we probably could’ve won the game or at least tied it.
"Getting a result against Panama is paramount."
The U.S. kicks-off against Panama at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.
Crew SC's newest addition Cedrick Mabwati and the Democratic Republic of the Congo fell to Ivory Coast, 3-1, in Wednesday's 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Semifinal in Bata. The winger started and played 69 minutes in the defeat.
Mabwati will return to Osasuna in Spain before joining Crew SC this summer.
Back in the States and jet-lagged from spending the past month and a half in Dubai and Australia with the Iraq National Team, Crew SC's Justin Meram joined MLSsoccer.com's ExtraTime Radio to chat about his experiences at the AFC Asian Cup in January.
Experiencing the love and adoration of the Iraqi fans in Australia left a lasting impression on Meram.
"It wasn’t playing just for me or the team," he told the ExtraTime Radio crew. "This was their lives. This was a chance to bring happiness to millions of kids and fans in Iraq watching us play. It was more than football. It’s a way of life for them. The support that they give us, I’m thinking today, next week, this whole year, how am I going to give back? How am I going to help out the country? How can I donate to bring 2,000 pairs of cleats for kids that are going to be the next players on the National Team?"
Listen to the entire interview on MLSsoccer.com.
Iraq concluded play in the AFC Asian Cup Friday morning, falling to the United Arab Emirates, 3-2, in the Third-Place Match of the tournament in Newcastle, Australia. Crew SC's Justin Meram came on in the 86th minute for the Lions of Mesopotamia. In total, Meram played 186 minutes for Iraq in the competition.
Upon returning to the States, Meram will be given rest by the Crew SC technical staff before reporting to the Black & Gold's preseason camp.
"He’s at a different level of fitness than the rest of the group right now," Berhalter said of Meram earlier in the week. "He’s been playing competitive games for the last month. I think the important thing now is to get him recovered, give him rest and join the team at a later date.
"We’re going to give him some time off, and we’ll see him when we think it’s appropriate."
Dreams were realized Wednesday evening in Rancagua, Chile as Gahanna native and Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp earned his first cap for the U.S. Men's National Team. Trapp played 31 minutes in the Americans' 3-2 loss to Chile, coming on for NYCFC midfielder Mix Diskerud in the 59th minute. Orlando City SC's Brek Shea and Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore found the net for the USA, but it wasn't enough to overcome Chilean goals from Mark Gonzalez (2) and Roberto Gutierrez.
The U.S. returns to play on February 8 against Panama at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
After two weeks of training in Carson, Calif. and Santiago, Chile, the United States Men's National Team is set to open its 2015 campaign on Wednesday night in a friendly with Chile in Rancagua. For Crew SC's Wil Trapp, Wednesday could be a monumental evening as he works toward earning his first cap for the U.S.
Earning U.S. Soccer's 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year award, Trapp has seen time previously in the National Team's youth ranks, with the current January camp being the Gahanna native's first Senior Team experience.
Without a doubt, Trapp's coaches and Crew SC teammates are eager to watch Wednesday's match in hope of seeing the midfielder don the Red, White and Blue for the first time on Senior Team level.
"Obviously, we’d like to watch the game," Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said. "We don’t have any formal plans, but I’m sure all of us will be watching, including the team. We’re extremely proud of Wil. He’s put himself in this position by his hard work and his dedication to learning and improving."
The USMNT and Chile kick-off at 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
Iraq fell 2-0 against Korea Republic in the AFC Asian Cup Semifinal early Monday morning in Syndey Australia. Jung-Hyub Lee and Young-Gwon Kim supplied the goals for the Taegeuk Warriors to advance to Saturday's Final. Though he did not see action on Monday, Crew SC winger Justin Meram has logged 182 minutes so far for the Lions of Mesopotamia in the tournament. Iraq faces the loser of Australia vs. the United Arab Emirates in Friday's Third-Place Match at 4:00 a.m. ET in Newcastle.
It was quite a showing for Columbus Crew SC and United States U-20 Men's National Team midfielder Romain Gall at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica.
With five goals scored in the tournament, the Crew SC attacker earned a share of the competition's Golden Boot honor with Mexico's Hirving Lozano. Gall scored a hat trick in the USA's 8-0 win over Aruba, followed by a brace in a 2-0 victory versus Jamaica. Former winners of the award include Costa Rica's Joel Campbell and Honduras striker Roger Rojas.
Gall's efforts also earned him a place in the tournament's Best XI along with fellow American Shaquell Moore. Gall's Crew SC teammate Wil Trapp was named to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Best XI in 2013.
Gall and the Americans are set to play in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer after cementing their qualification with a 2-0 win over El Salvador Saturday night.
Romain Gall and trhe United States Under-20 Men's National Team punched their ticket to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday evening with a 2-0 win over El Salvador in the Playoff Round of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Crew SC miidfielder started and played 62 minutes in the win. Finishing play in the tournament with five goals, Gall is currently tied for the competition's scoring lead with Mexico's Hirving Lozano heading into tomorrow's Final between Mexico and Panama. In total, Gall has scored nine goals in 14 international matches with the U-20 USMNT.
Mexico, Panama, Honduras and the USA are the four teams that will represent CONCACAF in New Zealand. The 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup takes place May 30-June 20. The Americans will learn their group on February 10 during the tournament draw.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer.