USMNT Report: Roster Changes for Knockouts

USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann makes changes ahead of quarterfinals
by Herb Scribner   |   Thursday, July 18, 2013

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

Here come the minutemen.

CONCACAF announced yesterday that the United States Men’s National Team has made roster changes ahead of its upcoming quarterfinal match against El Salvador.

LEAVING: Corey Ashe, Jack McInerney, Oguchi Onyewu and Herculez Gomez

ARRIVING: Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, Matt Besler and Alan Gordon

Some of these moves make a lot of sense. We haven’t seen Ashe or McInerney in the Gold Cup so far, and both were outside shots to get some playing time. Ashe was struggling with an injury, too, which could be a reason for his quick departure.

It’s a little disappointing that McInerney couldn’t work his way out to the pitch given how well he’s performed for the Philadelphia Union this season, but he’ll return to MLS and look to get back into club form.

Onyewu and Gomez haven’t produced for the United States. Onyewu’s slow mobility hinders the United States, especially when the rest of the backline is speedy and quick to defend. Gomez has been shown up by fellow striker Chris Wondolowski, and hasn’t offered much production in the attacking third.

Bringing in Gordon is a bit of a surprise, but he’s got good chemistry with Wondolowski, being as they both play for San Jose, so that could increase his chances of playing time. Klinsmann might want Wondo to get more comfortable and relaxed on the pitch, and bringing in Gordon might be the trick to help with that.

Klinsmann calling in both Gonzalez and Besler, who started for the USMNT squad in the World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year, shows he’s looking to test out what this full backline could be. Johnson’s inclusion shows Klinsmann’s really working for a full integration between his WCQs squad and what he has used so far for the Gold Cup.

But Johnson's call-up will likely limit the playing time of Brek Shea and Jose Torres. Neither have been consistent for the USA, but it won't help their development for Johnson to come in and sweep up the starting role.

Regardless of how it all plays out, Klinsmann has made some important and strong moves to increase his squad's chances of winning the Gold Cup. It's safe to say that this is no longer a B team.

NEXT UP: July 21 – Gold Cup: United States vs. El Salvador, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore. 4 p.m. EST, FOX, Univision.


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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.