Orlando City’s Chris Mueller relishing first USMNT call-up

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It’s been quite a week for Orlando City’s Chris Mueller. Just six days ago, the Lions season was coming to an end after a 3-1 loss to the New England Revolution and Mueller was one of the last players to leave the field.

Now, just five days later, Mueller and his teammates Daryl Dike and Andres Perea are competing with the U.S. Men’s National team in Fort Lauderdale as they prepare for a friendly against El Salvador on Wednesday December 9th, which will be broadcast on ESPN News and TUDN at 7:30 p.m.

“My experiences have been great so far, obviously really excited to be here and honored to be called in,” Mueller told reporters on Friday. “Just getting used to things, getting in the mix with the guys, getting to know each other has been great and I’m really excited to see what the next steps are.”

Since being drafted by Orlando back in 2018, Mueller has shown a progressive rise in stats and ability over the course of his time in MLS. As a contender for rookie of the year, his offensive game has grown from being the player who sets up goals, to finishing them himself.

In 2020, Mueller doubled his goal production from 2019 in seven less games, finishing the year with 10 goals and seven assists, good for top five in the league in both categories.

Now as the winger prepares to potentially get his first minutes representing the national team, he hopes to just enjoy the experience.

“I want to learn, I want to get engaged with the guys, with my teammates. Learn the system, learn from the coaches,” Mueller said. “Everyone who’s here has something unique to give, so I think when I look at it from that standpoint, obviously receiving my first call-up to the first team has been something that I’ve been working my whole life towards and that’s just getting the call.”

“As of right now I’m grateful to be here, I’m obviously hungry for more, I hope to make my debut in the game, but we’ll see what happens,” he added. “I’m not going to be upset if I don’t, I know that this is a process and things take time and I’m just going to keep believing myself and doing what I’m doing.”

One person that Mueller has been in contact with through this entire process is his former teammate Dom Dwyer. Dwyer recently announced that he would test the free agency market in MLS after spending the last three seasons with Orlando. Dom and Mueller became very close over the course of their time with the Lions, and with Dwyer having gone through the process of the USMNT camp back in 2017, he gave some sound advice to the young American.

“He’s told me just to embrace the opportunity,” Mueller said of Dwyer. “And for me being my first [call-up], he was telling me just to enjoy it and to soak up the moments. Be here with the guys and to just do my best and whatever may come is going to come.”

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Courtesy of US Soccer

 


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