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Fire’s Austin Berry making a strong case for U.S. call-up

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Arne Friedrich joked after Tuesday’s training session that if fellow Fire center back Austin Berry offered him a little bribe, he’d be willing to put in a good word with U.S. national-team coach Jürgen Klinsmann on Berry’s behalf.

Klinsmann was the German national-team coach when Friedrich played for his native country in the 2006 World Cup.

But if Berry, 23, continues to play at a level that has him in the running for MLS rookie of the year, he won’t need Friedrich’s help.

The Fire, in conjunction with Quaker Oats, unveiled Life cereal boxes this week featuring Berry as part of a rookie-of-the-year promotional campaign.

“[Playing for the United States] is certainly a goal of mine and something to strive for,” Berry said.

He has a good chance of being invited to the national team’s annual January training camp, but his main focus is the home game Wednesday against the Philadelphia Union.

“He should [work] a little bit on his buildup with the vertical passes,” Friedrich said. “He can sometimes push a little bit more when he gets the ball and put pressure on the midfield. But in tackling, he is advanced. He’s doing very well. If he continues like that, in the next couple of months, Jürgen will call him.”

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