Santos Laguna and former MLS standout left back Jorge Villafana has been called into U.S. men's national team January camp, days before the Americans host Serbia in their first match of 2017.
Villafana, who helped the Portland Timbers win the 2015 MLS Cup, joins a glut of fullbacks in camp, with veteran DaMarcus Beasley, Greg Garza and Taylor Kemp available at left back, while Keegan Rosenberry, Brad Evans and Graham Zusi up for selection at right back. Nevertheless, he'll earn an opportunity to train with the team and under Bruce Arena, as the manager looks to pinpoint his core roster for important World Cup qualifiers on the horizon.
On one hand, the call-up is great news for Villafana, who has yet to represent the national team at the senior level after appearing for the U-23s during the 2012 Olympic qualification process. On the other, him being released by Santos Laguna for a friendly happening outside of the FIFA window doesn't bode well for his status at the club, which he joined last year.
The U.S. plays Serbia in San Diego on Sunday before heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee to take on Jamaica on Feb. 3 to close its annual winter camp.