This has been rewarded by a callup this week to the U-23 national team camp.
An invite, Duncan said, he simply wasn’t expecting. The U-23 national team serves as the Olympic squad, with qualifying expected to be late this year or early in 2020.
Duncan worked a strong 90 minutes for the Red Bulls in Wednesday’s 2-2 home draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Also capable of playing in the midfield, Duncan started as a left back, but made the halftime switch to his more favored right-back slot. He moved forward well with timed overlaps and made several important recovery runs in the second half.
Last week, Duncan had just completed a fan event along with teammate Florian Valot where he posed for pictures and signed autographs. He checked his phone and saw an email from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
The email was an invite to next week’s U-23 camp, to be held in conjunction with the senior national team’s camp ahead of the Gold Cup.
“I was shocked,” Duncan said. “Flo was right next to me and I turn to him and say ‘I think I just got called up to the national team.’ I was in shock, just shock.”
There was no indication in the days or weeks leading up to the invite that he was being considered for the camp. Duncan shouldn’t miss any MLS matches as the camp happens during the upcoming international break. He is expected to return to his club side from the camp on June 10.
On his right back, head coach Chris Armas said: “the best is yet to come.”
“Well, it’s amazing for him as a person and a player to grow. We remind ourselves, he’s played in eight MLS games, eight or nine games, and we put big demands on Kyle,” Armas said. “He’s a young kid still and in our team, again, for the backline and his position, there are high demands but he’s growing rapidly. He’s another one of these young players who are fearless and he understands how we play. You can see the other night, it’s never perfect with any of the players. We don’t want it to be. Because of the way we play, we want to push the envelope and we need to build in mistakes and learning situations. He made so many good plays the other night.”
RED BULLS NOTES
- A groin injury has sidelined forward Bradley Wright-Phillips for the better part of the last month. The Red Bulls’ forward was supposed to return this weekend, something that now won’t happen.
Armas said that Wright-Phillips is out for this weekend’s match against Cincinnati.
“We now will look at adding another week,” Armas said. “He’s doing more every day.”
- A knee injury has derailed Vince Bezecourt’s promising start to the year but it appears that he could be back on the pitch soon. Bezecourt has been back on the field this week and his head coach thinks a return to training is imminent.
“He’s doing a lot. He should be in training full-out next week,” Armas said.
[Watch the Red Bulls Take On FC Cincinnati Saturday at 7 PM on MSG and MSG GO. Get the App Now.]