ANDREW MINTZ - Friday, July 17, 2015
After three unconvincing matches from the US National Team, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in reinforcements.
Gold Cup teams are permitted to make up to six roster changes in the 24 hours after the completion of group play. So say goodbye to Jozy Altidore, Alfredo Morales, and Greg Garza, and welcome to DaMarcus Beasley, Alan Gordon and Joe Corona
On the surface, the changes may seem odd to some. Jozy Altidore has been the undisputed starting striker for the US since 2009, while Alfredo Morales and Greg Garza did not perform so poorly to deserve an early dismissal.
But consider the situation at hand: the American's have simply just been poor in nearly all facets of each game. The US was ultimately lucky to have won both against Honduras and Haiti, and a loss to Panama would not have been undeserved either.
With just 24 hours to spare Coach Klinsmann was allowed to choose his replacements from the preliminary 35-man roster.
Matt Besler, who was again just named to the MLS All-Star team, seemed like a possible choice. And Jordan Morris, had he not just undergone leg surgery, would have been a likely call-in. But the German-born coach eventually decided on Beasley, Allen and Corona.
Jozy Altidore, while undoubtedly the Yank's foremost striker at still just 24 years-old, lacked form in his two Gold Cup starts at forward. Jurgen Klinsmann noted, "We believe that Jozy is just not there yet. Jozy never really got into this tournament and never really picked up the rhythm. He's just simply not in the shape right now to help us."
As for Morales and Corona, their futures with the National Team are promising, but with the Gold Cup on the line, Klinsmann required veteran experience for the impending knockout rounds.
On Beasley Klinsmann commented, "Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge, because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings."
And with Alan Gordon the coach explained, "He's fully fit, he's so full of energy, he scores goals with the Galaxy, and he fits in right away."
Klinsmann went on to say of Corona, "With Joe we have that option to bring him in now. He knows CONCACAF inside out. Joe Corona is very experienced in playing against the teams from the Caribbean and Central America."
DaMarcus Beasley should make an almost immediate impact and seems likely to start in the Americans' upcoming quarterfinal match. With Beasley slotted in at left-back, Fabian Johnson would likely get the chance to feature in the midfield, where he has exceled for the US.
Alan Gordon, while not a household name in the USA jersey, is a shrewd call-up by Klinsmann. The 33 year-old striker has featured only once for his national side, but has been in pristine form for his club, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and should bring with him bounds of MLS veteran grit-a very necessary quality when facing CONCACAF competition.
Joe Corona, while still just 25 year-old, has been involved in numerous US accomplishments, including winning the 2013 Gold Cup where he scored twice, and helping secure the "dos a cero" win over Mexico back in April.
Even with the three roster changes, the Americans need to execute a near one-eighty if they are to capture a back-to-back Gold Cup trophy. The USA learns of its future quarterfinal opponent following Tuesday and Wednesday's Group B and C matches.