Graham Zusi has excelled for the United States of late and will relish the chance to represent his country in front of his home crowd.
Zusi, who leads MLS in assists with 15 for Sporting Kansas City this year, returns this time with a striped Waldo jersey as the United States takes on Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
After a muddy slugfest against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, when two defenders slipped to let the host equalize in the eventual 2-1 American win, Zusi is glad for the comforts of home.
“You can't really blame the field for the way you play, but we're excited to get out on a field that I think suits our play a little more,” Zusi said.
The way the USA plays increasingly relies on Zusi. With Landon Donovan and Brek Shea ruled out through injury, Zusi has stepped into the creative void. His steep cross assisted Eddie Johnson's opener against Antigua.
“I can't get caught up in the whirlwind,” Zusi said of his equally steep rise. “I can't lose my focus on trying to improve every training session I go out and every game I go out.”
That said, when he steps out onto the familiar field in LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and glances around at the familiar fans on Tuesday, Zusi will feel like he's earned the moment.
“The amount of work that I put in towards this game, I'm thrilled to see it pay off at this time,” he said. “I've been playing the game for my entire life now, so 26 years of work, of hard work.”
Follow ZAC LEE RIGG on or shoot him an email