International Duty Preview | Acosta, Lewis & Vines Hope to Seize USMNT Opportunity in Sunday's Friendly -

It’s been a long offseason, and we know you miss watching your favorite players on the Rapids compete. Luckily, this Sunday should provide a bit of temporary relief, as Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis and Sam Vines are part of the U.S. Men’s National Team 25-man roster ahead of a matchup against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday at 5 p.m. MT on FS1.

Acosta, Lewis and Vines were named to head coach Gregg Berhalter’s 25-man roster last Sunday. The squad is to feature exclusively MLS talent and should be an important contest for players to prove themselves ahead of upcoming pivotal competitions on the docket for 2021.

Sam Vines will look to make his third straight start in his third USMNT call-up. The left back has received consistent praise since his first camp last January and is looking to earn a starting role with the U-23s for the upcoming Concacaf Olympic Qualifiers and, ideally, the subsequent Olympic Games.

“Sam is a really interesting player from my point of view because he really wasn’t on anyone’s radar about a year and a half ago,” U-23 head coach Jason Kreis said. “But through his production and through him stepping forward with his career in Colorado, through the opportunity he’s been given with the Rapids, he’s shown he’s quite a capable player, beyond his years, really, as an outside back in MLS. He pushed his way into the scene. Every time we’ve had him, we’ve been more and more impressed.”

Kellyn Acosta has earned two consecutive call-ups after a two-year absence from national team competitions. The projected squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has a plethora of young talent, and Acosta, though only 25, could offer some important veteran leadership, with his eight years of professional experience and 24 national team caps.

“It was wonderful to see Kellyn back in with the team. I think it’s great for him and credit to his perseverance,” said Berhalter, following Acosta’s appearance in a friendly vs El Salvador in December. “He’s obviously continued to listen and communicate to the national team coaching staff, he’s continued to work incredibly hard here, and I think his return to the national team set up is just reward for a fantastic season.”

There is a lot on the line for the USMNT and Acosta in 2021, with World Cup qualifying set to begin in September.

Lewis is another Rapids player with an opportunity to prove something on Sunday. Lewis was a part of the U-23 squad named for Olympic qualifying last year – prior to the Games’ postponement due to COVID-19. But this camp is the first call up he has been a part of on the international level since that U-23 squad was named.

“Jonathan Lewis continues to be an interesting guy, and mostly because what he can bring for you in the attacking third, and what he can do for you mostly when the game starts to become more open,” Kreis said. “Some of his best performances with the Rapids have actually been when he’s come off the bench… The challenge for him going forward… is whether he can sustain those things in a starting role.”

The new Olympic qualification roster is expected to be named at the beginning of March, with the tournament scheduled to begin on March 18 in Guadalajara.