The highly anticipated 2013 Gold Cup roster has been released and will begin arriving to camp on July 1st after this weekends MLS games. Some MLS teams will be searching for options from their back as they will be missing key contributors for the entire month of July if the USMNT plays to potential and continues to advance in the tournament.
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (DC United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
These were always the obvious choices to be called up for the Gold Cup. After Tim Howard and Brad Guzan on the depth chart Hamid, Johnson, and Rimando have represented spots 3 through 5 in a fluid order for some time now. Nick Rimando is expected to be the starter for the tournament, but don’t count out the old Klinsmann move of throwing someone new into the fire despite an older vet on the roster.
Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla, Mexico), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Clarence Goodson (Brondby, Denmark), Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga, Spain), Michael Orozco-Fiscal (Puebla, Mexico), Michael Parkhurst (FC Augsburg)
The central defensive partnership is going to be key. All three center backs on the roster are on the fringes of the senior team and could really use a good showing at the Gold Cup to boost their chances of a trip to Brazil next summer. Onyewu has the most upside when healthy, Goodson has been the most active with the senior team, but Klinsmann has always kept MOF close to the senior team, and likes his experience playing in Mexico. So it is really a toss up as to which two of the three with start.
I fully expect Michael Parkhurst to be given the first shot at right back. He offers great experience and is a pretty steady option. While Beltran has been around the national team camp in the last year or two, this is really a chance for Ashe to slowly work his way into the national team picture, but of all the defenders in camp, he probably starts with the least senior team credentials, but don’t count him out.
The left back battle should be an interesting one to watch. While DMB has forced his way into the senior side starting XI, Castillo has always been in the picture as well. Will Klinsmann choose to continue with Beasley, or will he tell Castillo this is his shot and give him the group stage to prove himself?
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsingborg, Sweden), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg, Norway), Joshua Gatt (Molde FK, Norway), Stuart Holden (Bolton, England), Jose Torres (Tigres, Mexico)
The senior side is pretty solid when it comes to the midfield, so these players are really jockeying for position behind the likes of Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, and company. This is a very exciting group though with Coronoa and Gatt looking to impress on the wings, Holden and Torres offering creative options in the center, Bedoya a playmaker in great current form, Diskerud being a box to box style midfielder with a big 6 foot frame, and Beckerman being the sturdy vet.
The formation Klinsmann uses will determine which players will really get their chance to shine. A 4-3-3 could offer a Beckerman-Diskerud pairing behind Holden, Torres, or Bedoya or flipped with two creative players and just one of Beckerman and Diskerud. A 4-4-2 would limit the options in the central midfield, but give a great opportunity to those on the wings.
Forwards: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
What a wide range of options Klinsmann has in this group of 5 forwards. Gomez is a current first teamer and in great standing with Klinsmann. Donovan is trying to win the trust of the manager after such a great national team career and then turning his back on his teammates. Wondolowski is the great league finisher that can’t seem to transition that touch to the international stage. While Bruin and McInerney are the next generation of national team forwards who are looking to start their national team careers with a bang.
Once again the formation will be the key to how many of these forwards are given a shot, but I would expect a majority of substitutions will be used to give different forwards a shot at making an impression in the last 15 minutes of games. Donovan and Gomez are the obvious front runners, but don’t count out Bruin or McInerney being given a real shot.
Expected lineup for Guatemala friendly before Gold Cup:
Parkhurst – Onyewu – Goodson – Castillo
Diskerud – Beckerman – Torres
Donovan – McInerney – Gomez
Full Gold Cup Schedule:
Tues. July 9th, 8pm – Portland, Oregon – USMNT vs Belize (FOX Soccer)
Sat. July 13th, 4pm – Sandy, Utah – USMNT vs Cuba (FOX)
Tues. July 16th, 8pm – Hartford, Connecticut – USMNT vs Costa Rica (FOX Soccer)
Sat. July 20th, 6pm – Gold Cup Quarterfinals – 3rd place Group C – Atlanta, Georgia
Sun. July 21st – Gold Cup Quarterfinals – 2nd place Group C (4pm), 1st place Group C (7pm) – Baltimore, Maryland
Wed. July 24th, 7 or 10pm – Gold Cup Semifinals – Dallas, Texas
Sun. July 28th, 4pm – Gold Cup Final – Chicago, Illinois