Top Stories

Orozco replaces injured Gonzalez on USMNT roster

Michael Orozco

Photo by Howard C. Smith/


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been forced to make his first roster change, replacing an injured Omar Gonzalez with Michael Orozco.

U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday morning that Gonzalez withdrew from the U.S. squad that will close out World Cup qualifying in the next week due to a left hip strain that was sustained over the weekend. Gonzalez, a regular U.S. starter at centerback, picked up the knock in the LA Galaxy’s 5-0 dismantling of Chivas USA this past Sunday. He played in just the first half before being substituted.

The injury has paved the way for the return of the versatile Orozco, who played at right back in last month’s 3-1 defeat in Costa Rica but has previously spent time at centerback under Klinsmann. Orozco is a candidate to replace Gonzalez in the Americans’ lineup in the upcoming two qualifiers, but it seems more likely that Geoff Cameron will get the nod next to Matt Besler in central defense.

The U.S. host Jamaica on Friday before finishing their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with a road game against Panama on Oct. 15.

What do you think of Orozco being called in? Would you have preferred to see someone else selected? Who will start in Gonzalez’s place?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Man, the trolls are out in force. Of course Orozco is a step down from Gonzo/Besler/Goodson CB lineup but he’s a decent backup, good in the air and had a good (if limited) showing in the Gold Cup. And…just the mention of his name makes Mexican fans want to drink battery acid.

  2. Orozco has his qualities and has clearly meshed well with the rest of the team and Jürgen but there are some other cb’s in mls that might be above him; John and Okugo are the first that come to mind. Oneill and Hedges are not far behind.

    • There might be other CBs above him? WOW!!! Their are goalies that are better CBs than that bum. I think he and Castillo are cousins. People are being nice by saying that he is not that good buy what they really mean is that he sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • They’re not that bad, they’re better than most mls defenses that are eligible. And Castillo is a much better winger than fullback

      • Now I have to draw the line. Have you no shame? Orozco will go down in history as the goal scorer that won the first ever game in Azteca, and this is the thanks that you have for him?? Sure there are others above him. But never EVER talk trash about Orozco to a true USMNT fan in person buddy.

      • Talk all you want on the internet, I said ‘in person’. I bet you’ve never even been to a USMNT game.

      • Actually I root for the UMNT African-American contingency. I root against the USMNT Anglo-Saxon contingency. I’m indifferent about the USMNT Hispanic-American contingency. The other contingencys are just ok. You got me nailed – truly insightful!

    • People are still judging him from the CR away game when he was played out of position at RB. He played well in the GC as a CB. If he plays CB, he’ll be fine.

  3. This is a good opportunity to take another CB look at Orozco. He played well this summer when given the chance. As was mentioned this summer, he’s a dark horse to start in Brazil. I don’t see his games in Mex, but it seems he’s playing well. From a pure who’s in form and who’s playing against better competition leading up to Brazil – it’s hard to say he shouldn’t be right there with Gonzo and Goodson. The issue becomes high balls in the box. That’s where Gonzo and Goodson have the edge especially if Besler is the pair. If Brooks is the pair, then the dynamic changes.

  4. Klinsmann loves Cameron’s abilities, he loves them so much he doesn’t want to put Cameron anywhere on the field… instead Evans, the infamous tormentor of MLS defenses with his torrid runs down the right flank gets the nod at RB ahead of him along with Bendesliga starlet-yet to be scored upon in league play, RB afficianado Michael Parkhurst…Besler, Goodosn and Gonzalez and perhaps now Orozco start ahead of him in his (according to JK) “best” position at CB… so maybe Cameron fights Kyle “Xavi” Beckerman for a spot next to coach’s son, Jermaine Jones….

  5. anyone penciling in Cameron at CB better hold up. given Orozco’s strong play in the Gold Cup and JK’s quote after the CR game saying he didn’t think Orozco was at fault for any of the goals, i think we could easily see Besler/Orozco paired together.

    but, we also know JK likes Cameron as a CB more than anything else. so he could easily start him since Cameron is at least playing 90 minutes in the EPL. i just don’t think anything is certain regarding Omar’s replacement given Cameron hasn’t played CB regularly in awhile.

    • i disagree given the German youth coach has stated he won’t call up JAB again since JAB went to the USMNT camp. we’ll see though, he could be bluffing. but JAB told Greg Seltzer that his future is with the US. and he told a German paper he was disappointed to not get capped against CR.

  6. I think this is positive insomuch as it gives more options. With Bradley out, it is possible that we might see Orozco and Besler at CB with Cameron in front of them as a DM. I’m not sure if Cameron has the ability to distribute the ball well at that position, but it would be a defensively sound lineup.

  7. Wait Gonzonles is injured, it is still a long shot, but LA could still miss the playoffs….less of a long shot now.

  8. Um, what about the top American scorer in MLS? A certain forward, from a certain city that starts with “Chi” and ends in “cago”? Mike Magee? Unbelievable that he hasn’t been called into camp.

    • I love Magee.

      Is he better than Donovan? No? So you play him with Donovan, but what about Gomez or Dempsey?

      Do you want to see Magee or AJ?

      EJ has been very useful for the US do you think you should drop him for Magee?

      Should they pair Magee with Jozy instead of Boyd?

      Or dropping back a bit how about dropping Mix for Magee?

      So who goes if Magee stays?

    • Orozco is legit, dont understand the back lash,dude is a sold cb (not so much rb), great with the ball at his feet and distrbution. I realize he is not the physical speciman Omar is but I have no problem ith him playing CB with Besler

      • I still rather give Lichaj a goes rather than Orozco who has not impressed at all at the MNT level. Just my opinion.

      • Put somebody else at CB and give Lichaj RB. Orozco can play both, fine; but he is not very good at either. He may very well start in one of the next two games and that is fine with me since the U.S. has clinched. But in a meaningful game , he will ride the pine…. from his home. Just call in Lichaj once; the guy deserves it.

      • Though if the plan was for Cameron to play RB but now he is sliding centrally then it might make sense but I agree with you, don’t think Lichaj would be the right guy to bring in.

    • Plus since it’s a later call-up, distance may have mattered. Orozco is already on this side of the Atlantic and can be in camp much quicker than Lichaj.

  9. Orozco played really well during the Gold Cup. I don’t understand all this hate. Obviously he was bad at RB, but he hasn’t been given a real chance at CB for a while.

  10. Im just complaining and one of those “Lichaj” guys, but why not bring in Lichaj as a RB or LB and make Cam the starting CB. I also think Ream may get another look, he has atleast been playing a lot. Not big on Ream he will need to earn a spot back, but he deserves a look. I know WCQers are not the place for that, but we sure handed JAB a spot in camp when he was not with the team before, why not Lichaj or Ream. Both can also cover multiple positions if needed. And why only call in 20, should atleast get the 23 and some guys in camp that havnt been before.

    • You do realize that Ream was called into camp for the B&H friendly right? JK and his staff obviously didn’t think he was an improvement over the other potential LB’s he had in the camp (F. Johnson & Castillo), seeing as how Ream wasn’t on the game day 18.
      The omission of Lichaj on the otherhand still has many shaking their heads.

      • Whether or not Ream impressed in the B&H camp, he has been playing well for Bolton since then. The season had barely started at that point.

        I’d say Ream will get another look in the November friendlies, and…by all logic (except maybe Klinsi logic)…so should Lichaj.

      • I see no reason Lichaj should not be included, European based players for friendlies in Europe. Lichaj must have pissed in JKs cereal.

      • @ Lost in Space

        I agree and I have faith in the JK staff with the results lately, I am not going to argue. Just my opinion, because you gain more that way then not even bringing them in, when you could because the roster space is there. Even if they do not plan to use them. Injuries have bit us before ( JFT playing LB ) Unless they do not want to interrupt their club play idk.

      • I’m all for bringing in players to fill the 23, and don’t understand JK only calling in 20 for these matches. IMHO I don’t see the point bringing in a player (Ream) whom you’ve reciently had at a camp with the squad, while excluding players on equally (or better) runs that have been away much longer (Lichaj). Was pissed last year when Johnson & Castillo were called in (were injured) an JK didn’t bring in replacements….
        Personally I would call in Lichaj, Chandler, & Spector to get an up close look at them with the US Team. All 3 are playing well and have played LB & RB for club & country. Benchmark them against Evans & Beasley (our current starters) to make comparisons against the outside back player pool; as I’m not sold on any of our backs at this point.

      • “Was pissed last year when Johnson & Castillo were called in (were injured) an JK didn’t bring in replacements….”

        I’m pretty sure if you go back and and check all those games where JK did not call in replacements after players had to drop out you will find that the US won them.

      • pretty sure his point was that, if you have the roster space, why not use it to bring in some fringe players who might be able to establish themselves? not that he was worried we were going to lose to antigua and barbuda.

      • That is what I meant as well, if its there, why not bring in the players. I am not sure how they practice probably small sided games, but with 20 players you can not even play a full sided game unless the coaches get involved. If there is 3 spots there, and you have players who are playing very well and consistent for their club teams, some in spots of need like Lichaj at RB, why not even bring him in. I am really confused why he has not tried him yet.

      • Nate,

        That is your point not necessarilyMr. LIS’. I’ll wait for his reply.

        In terms of your point, it should be clear to everyone that, in the situation in question, JK won’t call anyone else in if he is comfortable with what he has.

        With 20 he still has 17 out field players to choose from, which leaves him three he can’t use anyway. So he is trying to be fair to clubs with heavy schedules.

        This is a veteran group and obviously they don’t feel the need for heavy duty 11 v 11 scrimmages, especially at this point in the season. And they can always scrounge up three extra bodies if necessary.

        They will bring in new players if warranted but JK has made it clear over and over that they are past the time for “fringe players who might be able to establish themselves” at least in the manner you suggest.

        What you are talking about happens in the January Camp Cup cake, the extended version of camp; this is what gave us Cameron, Zusi and eventually, Evans.

        I don’t doubt JK will hold open a spot for both Chandler and Dolo, if in the coming months they prove fit, healthy, are in good form and are mentally stable. For all intents and purposes those two qualify as new guys to this edition of the team.

        Otherwise, the MO for new guys should be obvious from what happened with AJ and Brooks. Both were on the radar for some time and kept under close watch. JK first talked about AJ a while ago when he was tearing up the Danish league. Both obviously impressed USMNT observers with their clubs. And both were thrown right in as soon as they were called up. I don’t know if JAB and AJ make Brazil but they will certainly keep a lot of pressure on whoever eventually does.

        That is why JK cites club time as so important. It is also why the Under 23 failure was such a big deal to him because it would have given him another measurement on that group of players like Morales.

        At this point, going forward, unless they have a positive track record with this USMNT group, your fringe guys are going to have to really impress at their clubs. And even then, as we saw with Sacha, it may take a while.

  11. So I guess the Goodson injury rumor must be true? He’s a better CB than both Orozco and Cameron IMO. Orozco got torched last time out. While Cameron is more technically sound, he just always seems to make one big mistake in the game that leads to a goal or scoring chance. Goodson is the most reliable backup option.

    • Rumor? He had to leave the game against RSL in the 71 minute because of an injury and didn’t even make the bench against Chivas.

  12. I wish there would be more information on Gonzo. How long is he out for and how many club games will he miss. Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Cameron needs to play at right back. This is the position that he actually plays and is the position that the US has the greatest need. So, never fear, Jurgen will probably grant you your wish unless, of course, Jurgen puts Cam in the net just to keep Tim and Brad “hungry.”

      • Just because Stoke City and the USMNT both have a position they call “Right Back” on their squad, does not mean they ask the person playing the position to do the same thing.

      • I’ve watched a few Stoke games. It doesn’t seem that different to me. Maybe with the US he’d be a little more defensive, but I’ve seen Cameron with Stoke and the US (and Evans and Parkhurst) get forward.

      • Cameron does not get forward as often NOR as well with Stoke as Jürgen require the RB in our system to get forward. JK almost wants the outside backs to play as Wing Backs in our system with the high line and 6 covering when the back is high up the field. We depend on the backs to give width since all of our “wingers” like to slide in to put pressure on the back line.

        It may not seem like a huge difference BUT tactically it is night and day from his role at the United Stoke(s) of America

      • Funny, cause Evans rarley ever gets forward when he plays RB for US. Don’t think its really that different now that Mark Hughes coaches Stoke.

      • Evans got forward a lot in the Germany game . And of course he scored against Jamaica. I remember him doing a lot of work on the wings in his other recent games.

      • I am sorry GW, but I hate people who do this! Evans did score at RB, on a corner kick! Usually two if not three defenders are up! Especially when tied in the 90th minute… he did not get forward in the run of play. Make sure you have the right info before using it to prove a point. Gawd.

        BTW, not saying he is better or worse than Cameron at getting forward, I just hate when people are ignorant of using information correctly, especially on this site.

      • Its more about the positioning of the center backs. With Stoke Cameron inches forward, with cover from his centerbacks. Long balls over his head are covered. With the USMNT, the expectation is the for the RB to cover the wings all the way to the baseline. The CBs are more at home and stay there waiting for the RB to get back.

      • The few times Cameron has played RB for the NATS, he’s simply been aweful. For some reason, his play at Stoke has not translated to the NATS at RB. If it did, it’s highly unlikely Brad Evans would have had so much time there. Evans > Cameron at RB at this time.

      • You mean the ONE time Cameron played RB for the US against Belgium… the match where he was hardly the only American player who came out flat, and the game he scored a goal?

      • Think what you want. Klinsmann has played Evans in favor of Cameron since your aforementioned Belgium game at RB. Ergo, Evans is higher up the food chain at that position since. Things can obviously change before Brazil 2014…..

      • the only thing you said that *might* be true is ‘Evans > Cameron at RB at this time.’

        cameron has not been ‘aweful’ at RB for us, and it’s hard to say that his play at stoke has not translated if he’s hardly ever played RB for us.

        klinsmann does appear to favor evans over cameron at RB, but we can all agree that that doesn’t categorically make one better than the other, right?

      • Define “better”.

        All managers play what they feel is the best combination of players to get the job done.

        Evans and Cameron are two very similar players. They are both basically midfielders who are versatile and have been shifted around over the course of their career. Cameron has spent more time defending while Evans has spent more time attacking. Both seem to be pretty savvy players.

        In the greater scheme of things they are both important role players. Cantona would have called them water carriers.

        Evans and

      • hm…i think we might be so used to disagreeing with each other, that it’s now happening out of habit.

        i don’t think you contradicted anything that i said, which is that you can’t categorically state that one player is better than another just because a certain manager prefers them.

      • Nate,

        Who said I was disagreeing with you?

        JK’s choices so far seem to mostly be right on so I’m not inclined to worry about which of two role players he picks. JK takes pains to stress teamwork and the competitive aspect of the roster because, in terms of talent, these guys are all role players. There are no stars, no Messi, no Zidane, no RVP.

        As far as your other posts are concerned it’s not a matter of disagreement. I am merely being helpful by pointing out gaps in your arguments.

      • @AlexH: While Cameron is currently playing RB for his club, he and JK have stated publicly that they consider his natural position to be CB. Cameron has played CB, MF and RB for his clubs in the past.

        I would like to see Cameron at CB with Besler to see if they can develop a strong pairing.

      • I’d like to see Cameron and Mix tested out in the MF. I think the greatest upside for Cameron is protecting the back four and distributing. His greatest asset is playing is tight spaces. Not quickness.

    • I’d like to see the Besler-Cameron pairing in centerback. Have they played at center before together? When Cameron played at CB with Gonzalez, he was expected to be the anchor- not his best role. Besler is the smart, positional leader in the back line, and I think he will complement Cameron well. Hopefully they show some good chemistry.

    • Steevens,

      There are two qualifiers and the friendlies against Scotland and Austria left. The US might be able to schedule another three or four games at most before the final rosters are due. That gives JK about seven or eight games to evaluate things.

      Cameron probably isn’t going to play CB at Stoke so those seven or eight games are it for center back practice for him. Geoff plays center back better when he is more practiced at it.

      If Cameron is the US’ World Cup center back then he needs to play nearly every game left at that spot.

      That means the Gonzo- Besler pair is dead since if they were going to be your pair then they needed as much time together as possible.

      It also means these last seven or eigth games will be auditions for Geoff’s partner.


Leave a Comment