The U.S. Men’s National Team will be without an MLS Cup Champion for the remainder of their January camp.
FC Cincinnati left back Greg Garza has left the camp due to a quadriceps injury suffered in training. The 27-year-old has returned to FCC to undergo treatment and will not be replaced on the roster.
UPDATE: #USMNT defender @gmgarza4 has been ruled out of #JanuaryCamp with a quadriceps injury. 🇺🇸 roster now stands at 27 players.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) January 17, 2019
It’s been two years since Garza represented the USMNT, last featuring in a Jan. 2017 friendly against Serbia. After a pair of seasons with Atlanta United, Garza was traded earlier this offseason to the newest MLS franchise.
With Garza’s departure, Daniel Lovitz is the only natural left-back on Gregg Berhalter’s roster. Right-back Nick Lima could also slide over and see time as well.
The USMNT kick off a pair of friendlies on Jan. 27th against Panama before facing Costa Rica five days later.
If Garza could somehow stay healthy he would at least have a shot at making the squad. LB has almost always been a position lacking a reliable/consistent option. The best we’ve had at the position were Left Wingers who were basically pressed into service at LB (Fabian, Beasley, Lewis). Otherwise we’ve been left with trying to make due with what we could patch together (Boca, Bornstein, Viillafana, etc….).
Right now we have a few LB prospects (Robinson, D. Acosta, Gloster), or possibly a couple guys that could be pressed into service from other positions (K. Acosta, Moore, Ocegueda, etc…) but no-one who is ready to step forwards and claim a starting roll.
This is why many fans want to move to a 3 CB formation…it allows you to have less focus on defending for the outside backs.
Would be interesting to see Lima at LB. His versatility to play both sides could be valuable for nats, assuming his level of play holds up at the international level.
Plus, frankly, we already know what Garza brings to the table for the Nats. He’s good, technical, and is willing to get forward…but if you put a winger with pace on him he can get exposed. And unfortunately when you’re talking Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, Haiti, even Mexico, you’re talking teams that absolutely have speed to burn down the flanks, with kind of limits him against CONCACAF competition.
Oh, and he gets hurt a lot. He always has, for whatever reason.
Actually, it’s the reverse, Garza at the national team level looked nervous and couldn’t stay with his man up the wing. At that point as a defender I don’t care if he’s technical and can get forward, because he’s a liability where he plays. Didn’t like the idea coming in because we are badly in need of LB solutions. If we were wise with our situation someone else LB would now come in to camp if but to give us someone else to look at.
The question of does his play hold up at the international level is precisely what friendlies are meant for. Put him out there and see what happens.