FC Dallas' Walker Zimmerman (top center) made his U.S. international debut against Jamaica on February 3, 2017. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -- Walker Zimmerman faced plenty of pressure when he suited up for the United States in Friday’s friendly against visiting Jamaica at Finley Stadium.
Not only was the FC Dallas center back making his international debut, he was doing it in front of friends and family from nearby Atlanta.
Zimmerman passed his test with flying colors with a Man of the Match performance, helping anchor an inexperienced American backline that held the Reggae Boyz to four shots in a 1-0 victory.
"He had a terrific game, so I’m very impressed with him," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena.
Whether it was blocking a shot, muscling a player off the ball or positioning himself to cut down angles, the 23-year-old did just about everything right.
“It was a good performance,” Zimmerman stated. “Anytime you get a clean sheet that means you are doing something right defensively. We grew into the game and our organization and communication got better from minute one to minute 90.”
After playing for Dallas in 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Panama’s Arabe Unido that opens on February 23, his goal is to make the U.S. roster for its World Cup Qualifying matches against Honduras (March 24, home) and Panama (March 28, away).
“For me coming in, it was ‘why not me? Why can’t I try and make a push on this roster in March?’" finished Zimmerman. "I know there’s a lot of young guys here, but we all have the mentality of 'Why not us?’ That’s the competitive nature and the mentality that’s going to push this program forward.”
After Friday's performance, it would be difficult to argue with him.