On Wednesday night, the US men’s national team earned a dominant 6-0 win over El Salvador to close out its December camp and the 2020 season. Rapids defenseman Sam Vines and midfielder Kellyn Acosta both earned international caps for the match, and midfielder Cole Bassett was featured among the 21-man squad for his first time at the senior level.
Vines earned not only his second cap for the national team but his second start as well. He played the first 45 minutes of the contest. When he was subbed off, the team was leading 5-0.
“I felt [Vines] did well again last night,” Rapids Executive VP and GM Pádraig Smith said. “He shows he belongs at that level.”
Vines played a huge role in the team’s first goal, sending the pass that began the United States’ counterattack 17 minutes in.
“I think he played very well on both sides of the ball.” Smith said. “Lovely pass down the line for Chris Mueller on the opening goal, was tidy defensively, so that’s what you’re looking for. Once again, consistency is a huge part of this game.”
This has been a big year for Vines, who became the first Rapids Homegrown to ever earn a start for the USMNT in February. He then went on to become the only player to play every minute for Colorado in the regular season.
Acosta subbed on in the 69th minute to earn his first cap for the USMNT since 2018. Acosta was a mainstay for the squad during that time, earning 23 caps from 2016-2018.
“It was wonderful to see [Acosta] back in with the team,” Smith said. “I think it’s great for him and credit to his perseverance. It’s not easy when you get left out of national camp, especially after having been a regular for so long.
“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.”
While Bassett didn’t earn his first cap on Wednesday night, the call-up to the December camp offered a great opportunity for the developing midfielder. The Homegrown has made his presence known at the youth level, but this was his first time with USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter on the senior stage.
“It’s great for [Bassett] to get in and amongst that national team group, to start having conversations and get a clear understanding as to what Gregg [Berhalter] looks for in his players and in those positions. I’m sure it’s been a wonderful experience for him.”
The 19-year-old has four appearances for the U-20s, including two goals in the team’s 2-0 win over Mexico earlier this year. As he continues to excel at such a young age, it’s clear that the best is yet to come.
“There’s many more national team camps and games in Cole Bassett’s future, I have no doubt about that.”