USMNT Report: Donovan Returns for Gold Cup

Thoughts on the recently-announced 2013 Gold Cup roster
by Herb Scribner   |   Friday, June 28, 2013

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

United States Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup, which included the return of America’s best, Landon Donovan.

Here’s an overview of the roster:

GK: Bill Hamid (DC United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEF: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (FC Augsburg)

MID: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsinborg), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde FK), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jose Torres (Tigres)

FWD: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Club Tijuana), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Klinsmann is surely going with a B/C squad to try and capture the Gold Cup, which is no surprise as the CONCACAF competition is often treated as a chance for younger, inexperienced players to earn a cap and showcase their abilities.

But this year’s squad brings back some familiar faces. Donovan will once again don the United States jersey, which will delight many of Klinsmann’s critics and ease the daggers sent his way.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star’s inclusion in this side shows us that Klinsmann is willing to bring the 2nd most-capped US international back into the USA fold and that the national team manager is easing his poker face about a total Donovan resurgence with the team.

The Gold Cup is an excellent way for Donovan to weave back into the rotation and get back in international form with crucial World Cup Qualifiers coming in the fall. It’ll be a good indicator for Klinsmann and a nice treat for all USA fans.

Donovan should play more centrally with this side as a way to ready him for an eventual pairing with Graham Zusi, who plays on the right, on the A team. Donovan will have attacking options for sure, as he’ll be playing up top alongside several top US forwards, including Jack McInerney, who’s been great for the Philadelphia Union this year. Many will hope his club success will translate to the national team. Klinsmann said there is no pressure on McInerney to perform.

Kyle Beckerman will likely start in the defensive midfielder slot, which is well-deserved given Real Salt Lake’s recent run in MLS and Beckerman's contributings to the claret and cobalt. Beckerman does well in holding the play and is an extremely accurate passer.

The midfield also brings back some more familiar faces like Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud. Diskerud is currently in-season with Tippeligaen of Norway, so he’ll likely be one of the fittest players on the pitch. Holden, who played a few minutes in the USA's last batch of WCQs, will look to get more time to get back into the top international form he was in before injuries sent him to the shelf in 2010.

Defensively, Klinsmann choices are a bit curious. Oguchi Onyewu is all but done as a national team defender and player, so his inclusion might just be for veteran leadership that typically Carlos Bocanegra – who was not included due to his search for a new club, according to Klinsmann – would bring.

With DaMarcus Beasley and Edgar Castillo both being in this lineup, they will receive a bit more training and experience in the back positions, which can only help the main USMNT side going forward. But given the inexperience of the US’ top backline, it might have been a good move to bring in Brad Evans, Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez so they get more comfortable with each other and aid the main US side.

But the Gold Cup is for growing and testing, and Klinsmann's lineup will be fine for that. Bringing in Corey Ashe and Tony Beltran, who are both stellar in MLS play, is a great way for Klinsmann to shine more light on MLS and offer 2 workhorse defenders a potential national team cap.

Klinsmann’s squad is capable of making waves in the Gold Cup. It’s got a good mix of veteran and inexperienced players, which should make things competitive for all the regional rivals. US can't get too complacent given its A squad's run through CONCACAF as of late. It should be a goal of the Americans to steam roll through the Gold Cup and earn some silverware.

And this is an exciting time for US fans, too, as Donovan will be making his return in the red, white and blue. With a top performance, or at least one that's typical of him, Donovan can surely show Klinsmann and the country that America’s best is ready for a full return.

NEXT UP: July 5 – Friendly: United States vs. Guatemala, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego. 11 p.m. EST, NBC Sports Network, UniMas.

Herb SCRIBNER

Nationality:
USA
College:
UMass Amherst
Club Domestic:
RSL
Club Foreign:
FC Barcelona
SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.
HERB'S SPONSORS