Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
After what has to be considered the most dominating tournament performance by a U.S. Men’s National Team in recent memory, and possibly of all time, it isn’t easy singling out which players were most responsible for the Gold Cup triumph (well, unless you are talking about Landon Donovan).
The reality is the list of players who stepped up with strong tournaments is a long one, a much longer list than most could have expected from this team when it came together at the beginning of the month in San Diego.
Jurgen Klinsmann knew different. Even back then, he got a sense that this team had the makings of a special group. One with depth to spare, and one that would feature some fierce battles for playing time.
The result was a tournament that saw the U.S. dominate the competition and saw the USMNT player pool grow that much deeper and stronger.
So which players boosted their stock the most during the 2013 Gold Cup? Here is a rundown of which players saw their stock rise, fall and hold steady on the USMNT:
Landon Donovan. Nothing more can be said than he was the best player in the Gold Cup by a mile, and has reasserted his place on the full USMNT squad.
Clarence Goodson. He came into the tournament looking like a fringe bench defender on the full team. Now, after an outstanding Gold Cup, Goodson is looking like a first-team starter.
Alejandro Bedoya. It looked like Bedoya might be on the “Stock Falling” list before the Gold Cup semifinals, but two quality showings later and Bedoya has given his first-team chances whole new life.
Joe Corona. Had some real quality games on the right wing for the U.S., and while his Gold Cup Final on the left wing wasn’t his best showing, he still leaves the Gold Cup looking very much like a building block for the future.
Mix Diskerud. His standout turn in the Gold Cup final is what will be remembered, but he did have good moments throughout the tournament and looks much more like a first-team option going forward.
Kyle Beckerman. A real rock in central midfield for the U.S., Beckerman showed that he can absolutely dominate CONCACAF competition, and while he isn’t about to unseat regulars like Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, he definitely re-asserted his place as someone Klinsmann wants on his full team.
Michael Orozco. He didn’t really get to play in the knockout rounds, but Orozco’s impressive showing in the group stage turned heads, and he has gone from someone on the furthest fringes of the full squad to someone Klinsmann has to have higher up on his centerback depth chart now.
Michael Parkhurst. When he didn’t play a minute in the June qualifiers, Parkhurst looked like someone ready to be cast aside by the USMNT. Klinsmann turned to him in the Gold Cup and Parkhurst made the most of the chance, playing steady defense and looking like a very viable right back option for the full U.S. team.
Jose Torres. Another player who looked to be on the verge of floating into USMNT oblivion before the Gold Cup, Torres showed well playing in a left wing role that isn’t really his natural position.
Matt Besler. Why isn’t he on the stock rising list after three dominating performances in the knockout rounds? Well, he was already considered the best centerback in the pool, so it’s tough to have stock rise that is already at the top.
Eddie Johnson. Showed why he has become a staple of the full first team, and in this Gold Cup he reminded us that is still very much a strong forward option for the first team.
DaMarcus Beasley. Another player for a case in the Stock Rising category, but Beasley’s stock did the majority of its rising in the March and June qualifiers, and now he can add Gold Cup-winning captain to his already-impressive resume.
Nick Rimando. He didn’t exactly have the busiest Gold Cup, but he stepped up when needed and showed the qualities that have made him establish himself as the clear-cut No. 3 goalkeeper in the U.S. pool.
Brek Shea. You might think it’s odd to see him here rather than the Stock Rising category, but the reality is his goals helped him overcome what was a truly awful showing against Cuba in the group stage. He played limited minutes, but made things happen, which is why he has managed to keep himself on the radar.
Chris Wondolowski. He tore it up in the group stages, but quickly faded from the picture once the opponents got tougher. He did do well enough to keep himself in the conversation at forward.
Jack McInerney. How does your stock hold steady without playing a minute? The word from USMNT camp was that McInerney was very impressive, and will certainly be called up in the future.
Sean Johnson. Was given a great chance to impress and did just that with his shutout vs. Costa Rica. Is still No. 4 on the depth chart, ahead of Bill Hamid.
Alan Gordon. The fact he was even called in is good news for him, and could just as easily be in the stock falling list since he didn’t play.
Corey Ashe. Didn’t get a minute in the group stage, but we’ll leave him here for now given the fact Edgar Castillo didn’t exactly lock down his spot on the left back depth chart.
Oguchi Onyewu. A poorly-timed injury kept him from making this his Gold Cup to re-establish himself. Now, instead of being back in the full team picture, he has even more competition for centerback minutes.
Herculez Gomez. His balky right knee limited him to just one game, and the play of Eddie Johnson might just have pushed him down the depth chart.
Omar Gonzalez. Looks like he just might have lost his starting centerback spot to Clarence Goodson.
Bill Hamid. You can make the argument he hasn’t really lost ground since he went into the Gold Cup considered No. 5 on the overall goalkeeper depth chart, but Rimando and Johnson both did well, so that probably cost him some ground as he tries to climb up.
Edgar Castillo. Showed some promising signs getting forward, but the ultimate takeaway from this Gold Cup was the reminder that Castillo just isn’t a reliable defender.
Stuart Holden. It’s sad to have to list him here, especially when he went into the Gold Cup Final with a clear-cut place on the “Stock Rising” list, but a torn ACL will force him out until spring and drops him out of the USMNT picture for a long while.
Will Bruin. With more and more forward options coming along, and with Wondolowski helping his case, Bruin might have lost some ground on the depth chart.
Tony Beltran. Played one game, the Cuba win, and didn’t really have an outstanding match. He also falls on this list because of Parkhurst’s successful turn, which solidifies his place on the right back depth chart.
What do you think of our post-Gold Cup USMNT stock report? Which players do you think weren’t rated properly? Who are you happy to see acknowledged for having had a strong Gold Cup?
Share your thoughts below.