Photo by Winslow Townson/ USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
When Jurgen Klinsmann announced his preliminary 35-man roster ahead of the Gold Cup, two of the more surprising inclusions were the names of DaMarcus Beasley and Alan Gordon.
Now, the duo is expected to help push the U.S. Men’s National Team to the next level as the Gold Cup knockout stages begin.
Beasley and Gordon were joined by Joe Corona as Klinsmann’s mid-tournament call-ups, replacing Jozy Altidore, Greg Garza and Alfredo Morales on the team’s 23-man roster ahead of Saturday’s quarterfinals clash with Cuba at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.
For Beasley, the decision to rejoin the national team comes less than a year after the Houston Dynamo fullback announced his international retirement, citing a choice to focus further on his club career and family life.
Now given the opportunity to once again represent his country, Beasley admits that he couldn’t refuse Klinsmann’s call-up and once again fulfill his boyhood dream of wearing the colors of the U.S.
“I was very emotional getting the call-up from Jurgen,” Beasley said. “I feel like a kid again returning to the national team, but right now I’m ready to win. I expect us to win the Gold Cup.
“For me, it’s another opportunity to play for the national team. My experiences can help the youngsters that are playing for the first time, but the only thing that matters is that we win. I hope we can go to the Confederations Cup in 2017.”
Like Beasley, Gordon also finds himself in a bit of an unlikely position, one that sees the LA Galaxy forward join the U.S. Men’s National Team to replace the out-of-form Altidore.
Absent from the USMNT since being called in for the 2013 Gold Cup, Gordon is far from a regular under Klinsmann. However, the striker offers Klinsmann something that the U.S. has struggled to find so far in the current tournament: a threat in front of goal.
Generally used as an energy boost off the bench, Gordon has cemented his status as one of MLS’s premier super-subs, a role he will likely occupy with the U.S. One of the more physical forwards in the pool, Gordon has the ability to offer the U.S. a different look than the current crop of forwards that rely mainly on tactical savvy and technical ability.
Gordon is looking forward to the opportunity to once again represent his national team and contribute in any way Klinsmann sees fit heading into the knockout stages.
“I got the call shortly after the last group game,” Gordon said. “(Klinsmann) was excited and wanted me to come in and he asked me to help the team in any way I can. I’m thrilled to do that. I was really excited to get the call and I’m ready to go.
“That’s kind of what’s expected when you get put on the preliminary roster. It’s our job to be ready and I was hoping I’d get the call. It’s here and I’m just excited to be around the guys and to get involved.”
Now tasked with getting into the rhythm of the tournament, both Gordon and Beasley feel ready to be thrown right into the fray in Saturday’s game.
Familiar with Gold Cup play, the duo understands exactly what it takes to win a tournament of this magnitude, making the transition a simple one for them ahead of a do-or-die showdown against Cuba.
“I think if you play in this region you play against a lot of those players from these various countries,” Gordon said. “I have a familiarity with it and I’ve played in this tournament before so I’d say I’m quite comfortable.”
Added Beasley: “All the teams are strong, all the teams are good, and we have to be ready. That’s it. Obviously, we’ll watch film on Cuba and see how they play, what they do well, what they don’t, and I expect us to be able to do a good job against Cuba.”