The second phase of World Cup qualifying for the CONCACAF region kicks off Wednesday night when the U.S. men's national team faces off against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio.
Even though Mexico hasn't won a game on U.S. soil in 10 years, it's one of the better rivalries in international soccer. It's for that reason that it was disappointing when FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper did not make the final roster.
After spending a month training with the national team in California and Ohio, Cooper reported back to Dallas last week and joined his FC Dallas teammates for preseason training when it was learned that he would not be a part of Wednesday's game-day roster.
The 23-year-old has played for the international team four times so far in his career and scored two goals. Most recently, he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Sweden in early January. He missed a good chance in front of goal late in that game, which could have haunted him when it came to the 20 man-roster selections this time around.
Dallas native Cooper, who finished second in the MLS with 18 goals last season, has been rumored in recent months to be coveted by teams in Norway, Germany and England.
So far, FC Dallas management has held strong to their desire to keep the face of their franchise in 'Hoops' and even rejected an offer of more than $1 million for his rights last summer.
Still, most consider it a foregone conclusion that Cooper will eventually return to Europe, where he began his career with the Manchester United reserves.
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With his most recent omission, it appears he may have to make the move sooner rather than later to prove to USMNT coach Bob Bradley he deserves consideration for the World Cup in 2010.