By IVES GALARCEP
The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup was shaping up to be the tournament nobody cared about, what with World Cup qualifying in June and Mexico’s participation in the Confederations Cup taking priority. Without a berth in the next Confederations Cup on the line, there just wasn’t much reason for the region’s powers to devote maximum resources to this summer’s Gold Cup.
That has changed now, with U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati revealing on Friday morning that CONCACAF was changing things up, and having the winners of the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups play each other for the berth into the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
That changes things considerably, and it certainly provides some more motivation for the U.S. Men’s National Team to try and send as strong a team as possible to the July Tournament.
Why? Mexico won’t be sending anywhere close to a strong team to the Gold Cup because of the Confederations Cup, and while the U.S. team’s top stars still aren’t likely to take part because of the load of playing three key HEX qualifiers in June, Jurgen Klinsmann could still call on some players to pull double duty and take part in the May-June USMNT matches as well as the Gold Cup.
Gulati suggested as much, and CONCACAF’s roster rule changes for the Gold Cup, announced on Thursday, which will allow teams to make as many as four roster changes after the group stage. That could allow Klinsmann to bring in some reinforcements later in the tournament in an effort to make a run at the championship.
So what could two separate USMNT rosters look like? Here is a breakdown of what we could see for a May-June squad, and a July Gold Cup squad:
PROJECTED SUMMER USMNT ROSTERS
USMNT MAY-JUNE ROSTER
GK- Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando
D- Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Edgar Castillo
M- Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Graham Zusi, DaMarcus Beasley, Jose Torres
F- Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Eddie Johnson, Terrence Boyd
USMNT GOLD CUP ROSTER
GK- Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid
D- Edgar Castillo, Michael Parkhurst, Tony Beltran, Carlos Bocanegra, Justin Morrow, Oguchi Onyewu, George John, Amobi Okugo
M- Joe Corona, Danny Williams, Sacha Kljestan, Jose Torres, Josh Gatt, Brad Davis, Brek Shea, Kyle Beckerman
F- Terrence Boyd, Juan Agudelo, Jack McInerney, Will Bruin
(Knockout Round replacements- Josh Gatt,
Keep in mind, these are just projections to give you a feel for what a Gold Cup team might look like. There could be other options, but this group gives you a sense of the level of talent that will likely be available for the Gold Cup. The centerback position is particularly interesting, because Klinsmann could call on someone like Clarence Goodson or Matt Besler for the Gold Cup depending on which of them doesn’t play much in the June qualifiers.
(UPDATE- I moved Beasley to the May-June roster. After his showing in March if he is healthy he should get an invitation to the May/June matches. Brek Shea’s lack of minutes for Stoke City could cost him his spot on the May-June roster. That frees up a roster spot for Josh Gatt on the Gold Cup team. I’ve always felt he would get a look in the Gold Cup and it could be a great event for him.
One player still missing is Mix Diskerud. I just don’t know where he fits in at the moment, and I really don’t see him getting a May-June call and the Gold Cup roster has some other options at the positions he plays. Joe Corona’s rapid rise has probably cost Diskerud his spot on the pecking order.
Let me say again, that these rosters are more an attempt to show you what level of quality two summer rosters could look like. We’ll wait a few more weeks before getting into projecting the May-June roster, and eventually the Gold Cup roster.)
What do you think of the potential squads? Think our projected Gold Cup roster could win the title? Do you like the balance of the rosters, or do you feel the Gold Cup squad isn’t quite as strong as it could be?
Share your thoughts below.