Photo courtesy Rio Grande Valley FC
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Portland Timbers 2 midfielder Bill Tuiloma has been recalled to the New Zealand National Team for the country’s upcoming international exhibition against Japan on Oct. 6 in Nagoya as the All Whites prepare for their FIFA 2018 World Cup Intercontinental Playoff in November.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 defender Deklan Wynne and forward Myer Bevan were also named in the squad after both featuring in the team’s victory against the Solomon Islands to advance out of Oceania qualifying, while two other players with USL ties in former Swope Park Rangers midfielder James Musa and Reno 1868 FC loanee Kip Colvey were also named in the squad.
A veteran with 21 caps to his name, Tuiloma’s arrival at T2 was key to his reselection according to New Zealand Head Coach Anthony Hudson, who had omitted the midfielder due to lack of match sharpness in September. Tuiloma has made nine appearances since his arrival in Portland, scoring two goals to regain form ahead of his country’s crucial games.
New Zealand will play the fifth-place team from South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the first leg of the series set for Nov. 6 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Currently their opponent would be Argentina, with CONMEBOL qualifying set to conclude this week in a tight race to see which team joins Brazil as an automatic qualifier.