Tuesday kickaround

August 13, 2013
(U.S. Soccer Federation)
(U.S. Soccer Federation)

*FIFA approved striker Aron Johannsson‘s request to switch allegiance to the United States from Iceland and is eligible to make his U.S. national team debut in Wednesday’s friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, UniMas, WatchESPN).

“Hopefully if the game goes well,” Coach Juergen Klinsmann said, “there will be a chance for him.”

Said the Alabama-born, Icelandic-raised Johannsson: “I’m super happy. When I came here [to Sarajevo], I didn’t expect that I was going to be eligible to play. The coach told me right after training that the approval came through.”

Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar) played for Iceland’s under-21 squad.

He has a nickname: Aron Bacon.

While playing in Denmark, “a reporter came to me and said, ‘You look a lot like Kevin Bacon.’ And from then, the nickname Aron Bacon stuck. Maybe because it’s my dance skills, I don’t know.”

The full interview is here.

*Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler, MLS’s 2012 defender of the year and Klinsmann’s first-choice center back during World Cup qualifiers, might be lining himself up for a move to Europe this winter.

The Insider has learned a number of clubs overseas have been tracking Besler, 26, in both MLS and on national duty. His contract runs through the 2015 season. But with a base salary of $180,000, which is less than several other MLS center backs, SKC may have to consider re-working and extending his deal (designated player?) at the end of the year.

Besler is in his fifth MLS season.

*If the preseason coaches’ poll is any indication, the Maryland and Georgetown men’s teams are on another College Cup collision course. The Terrapins and Hoyas were selected No. 2 and 3 respectively in the NSCAA rankings, which were released Tuesday.

In December, Georgetown upset Maryland on penalty kicks after a 4-4 semifinal thriller before losing to Indiana, which is ranked No. 1 this preseason.

Maryland’s Patrick Mullins, the 2012 Herman Trophy winner, and Georgetown all-American Steve Neumann spurned pro opportunities to return for their senior seasons. Although the teams will not meet in the regular season, they will begin the campaign against the same opponents in the same area: Both will visit Stanford and Cal on the opening weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Maryland’s home opener is Sept. 6 against Duke. Georgetown’s is the same day against West Virginia.

The highest-ranked D.C. area team in the women’s poll is Virginia, at No. 8.

*Gedion Zelalem, Arsenal’s 16-year-old midfielder profiled on the Insider yesterday, played 90 minutes for a young Gunners squad (academy and U-21 players) that lost at third-tier Colchester United, 5-1.

*Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson, whose eight goals have been one of the few bright spots for the last-place Washington Spirit, was named NWSL player of the week after posting a goal and an assist in a pair of victories. She is tied for fourth in the league in scoring. The Spirit (3-14-4) will conclude the season at 5 p.m. Sunday at Maryland SoccerPlex against playoff-bound Sky Blue FC.

*His favored No. 9 jersey was not available — Chad Barrett has it — so former U.S. forward Charlie Davies selected this number to wear on loan with the New England Revolution.

*D.C. United’s Andrew Dykstra, Conor Shanosky and Michael Seaton have reported to third-division Richmond a first-place showdown against Orlando City on Wednesday in the Virginia capital. They are among six DCU players who have had loan assignments with the Kickers this year.

*Maryland SoccerPlex will host the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships for U-13 through U-19 boys and girls. The event dates to 1935, when the McGuire Cup was first awarded. Female competition began in 1980. This summer’s tournaments were held in Overland Park, Kan. The SoccerPlex hosted the event in 2002 and ’03.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Matt Bonesteel · August 13, 2013