DeMerit vs. Messi
Jeff Zelevansky

Whitecaps FC defenders represent their country this past weekend

A week after leading the Vancouver Whitecaps FC backline in their MLS debut, Jay DeMerit and Michael Boxall helped their national teams to results in international friendly action this past weekend.

DeMerit played the full 90 minutes for the United States national team in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Argentina at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Whitecaps FC captain performed admirably in his first match for The Stars and Stripes since last summer’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa, holding the fourth-ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings to a single goal. DeMerit’s performance was especially vital in limiting the impact of two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

“As the game moved along, the responses were good and we came away with a good result against a very good team,” USA head coach Bob Bradley told The Star-Ledger following the match.

Boxall, meanwhile, earned his first full cap for the New Zealand national team, as they rallied for a 1-1 draw versus China on Friday. The 'Caps rookie came on at halftime of the match at Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium in China's Habei Province, registering 45 minutes at centre back. After the match, All Whites head coach Ricki Herbert praised the performance of his young players, noting the play of Boxall and striker Kosta Barbarouses.

"I think everybody grew [during the game] and it was really important for us," Herbert told the New Zealand Herald after the match. "Kosta and Michael came on and played a very pivotal role and I'm delighted with that.”

Boxall’s performance also earned the praise of All Whites legend Steve Sumner, captain of the 1982 New Zealand World Cup squad.

"I liked what I saw of that Boxall," Sumner said to The Dominion Post. "I remember him in the under-23s, he looked a solid, aggressive type of player but, he's added a little bit to his game since then.”

Boxall has returned to Vancouver and will be with Whitecaps FC at training on Tuesday, while DeMerit remains with the U.S. national team, as they prepare for a friendly against Paraguay in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday.