To the Runner-Up Goes the Left Back

↵Fresh off the heels of almost -- but not quite -- doing something ↵awesome, the U.S. National Team is poised to see one ↵of its weakest areas reinforced: ↵

↵
↵⇥"I would play for the United States," [Edgar] Castillo said during a ↵⇥recent phone interview from Mexico, where he is preparing for the ↵⇥upcoming Mexican League season with Tigres. "I'd want to talk to them ↵⇥first, but I want to play for the U.S. I think it would be a very good ↵⇥opportunity for me, for my career. If they call me I would play for ↵⇥them." ↵
↵

↵Castillo is a left back from New Mexico, the son of Mexican ↵immigrants, and chose Mexico over the U.S. a few years back when he was ↵going gangbusters at Santos. Those circumstances weren't Rossi-esque, ↵though: the youth national teams had virtually ignored Castillo, who was ↵scooped up by Mexican scouts before his high school career had even ↵finished. Three coaches later, however, Castillo is feeling on the outs: ↵

↵
↵⇥"It's been hard for me because (Mexico) switched coaches three ↵⇥times," said Castillo. "Hugo Sanchez, he seemed to like me. He gave me ↵⇥my first games. Then (Eriksson) played me in one (friendly). Aguirre ↵⇥called me into one camp but I didn't play and I haven't been back. I ↵⇥don't think I'm in his plans." ↵
↵

↵Thus the sudden openness to a switch back. ↵

↵

↵This is not a switch akin to that of Jermaine Jones, the German ↵central midfielder who announced ↵he'd play for the U.S. a few weeks ago. Jones is one of the better ↵starters on one of the better Bundesliga teams and was on the fringes of ↵one of the best national sides in the world largely because of friction ↵with its current coach. He's 27, in the heart of his prime and looking ↵at two choices: assured 2010 World Cup with the States or not making the ↵German team in 2010 and being a creaky 32-year-old in 2014. It made ↵sense for him to switch now even if breaking into the next German ↵coach's squad was a possibility. Jones is a major addition and it will ↵take an injury for him to miss the World Cup. ↵

↵

↵Castillo, on the other hand, has seen his star dim considerably since ↵his transfer to Club America. It's hard to tell if that's entirely his ↵fault, as America has fallen into shambles despite being the Mexican ↵equivalent of Barca or Rangers. They finished dead last in the Clausura ↵last year. While Castillo didn't cover himself in glory there it's often ↵hard to tell just who or what is responsible for the flailing of an ↵inept club. This year he'll be loaned out to Tigres, where he'll rejoin ↵his old coach from Santos and hopefully recapture some of that attacking ↵magic. ↵

↵

↵Even with Castillo's recent fall, though, he'll provide options to an ↵American left wing that badly needs it. Heath Pearce has fallen out of ↵favor with his club and performed poorly for the national side recently, ↵and Jonathan Bornstein frequently looks out of place outside MLS. Jay ↵Demerit's stellar Confederations Cup allowed Carlos Bocanegra to slide ↵outside, but that's a rickety solution, especially when the center-back ↵positional depth reads "Danny Califf." Even if Castillo can't ↵break past Bocanegra into the starting eleven, he could provide depth in ↵case of card trouble or injury. He's certainly a more attacking option ↵than Bocanegra on everything except set pieces. ↵

↵

↵Like Jones, the earliest that Castillo can join the national team ↵will be for the qualifier at Azteca in August. There's zero chance ↵Castillo gets thrown into the fire in that snakepit, but the U.S. will ↵probably call him up for the training time with an eye towards ↵cap-tying him in a pair of October qualifiers against less intimidating ↵foes. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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