By IVES GALARCEP
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he would make some changes to his Gold Cup roster and on Wednesday night we learned that he made more changes to his roster than any other team left in the Gold Cup. More, in fact, than all other seven Gold Cup quarterfinalists combined..
Klinsmann has called in Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson, who will replace Corey Ashe, Herculez Gomez, Oguchi Onyewu and Jack McInerney on the U.S. Gold Cup roster.
The decision to call in both first-team centerbacks might come as a bit of a surprise considering the U.S. only allowed two goals in three matches in the Gold Cup group stage, but Klinsmann has stated his desire to win the Gold Cup, and now he has a chance to do that as well as gain more games for his first-choice centerback pairing.
(UPDATE) U.S. Soccer has announced that Gonzalez will not join the U.S. until the semifinal round.
Johnson’s inclusion is no surprise either, as his versatility makes him a perfect fit for the knockout rounds. Gordon had also been considered a likely possibility.
Onyewu’s departure means he won’t have a chance to start in a third Gold Cup final, and sees him leave after playing just one of three group stage matches. It is believed he picked up a knock in his lone appearance.
Gomez made just one start for the U.S., and has now been sent home so he can prepare to adjust to his new move to Mexican side Club Tijuana.
Neither McInerney or Ashe saw any playing time during the group stage, leaving Bill Hamid as the lone remaining player on the original roster who has yet to play in the 2013 Gold Cup.
One three other Gold Cup quarterfinalists made changes to their rosters, and none added more than one player. Mexico replaced Darvin Chavez with Jose Maria Cardenas, Trinidad & Tobago replaced Khaleem Hyland with Columbus Crew midfielder Kevean George, and Honduras replaced Johnny Palacios with Erick Norales.
Overall thoughts on the call-ups? There were no major surprises in the mix, though I did think Graham Zusi would be someone Klinsmann would consider, but with Johnson called in, and with Besler already coming, you could see why Klinsmann wouldn’t want to call in two Sporting KC players, especially after both already missed a chunk of time for June’s World Cup qualifiers.
The U.S. will take on El Salvador on Sunday night in the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
What do you think of the changes? Surprised to see Klinsmann call in four new players? See the U.S. winning the Gold Cup?
Share your thoughts below.