By IVES GALARCEP
ARLINGTON, Va.– With a busy June featuring three World Cup qualifiers serving as the chief priority for the U.S. Men’s National Team this summer, the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup has long been as seen as a secondary task, and a likely showcase for the plethora of young American players currently on the fringes of the national team radar.
Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t so quick to agree.
The U.S. coach made it clear on Wednesday that he plans on bringing the best available squad to the Gold Cup, irrespective of age, and he also pointed out that the timing of the tournament could force some players to miss it. That means there is a good chance that some fan favorites will be passed over when Klinsmann settles on his final Gold Cup roster.
“The Gold Cup has a lot to do with the timing of their individual situations,” Klinsmann said. “At every position we try to bring the best players in there. Not necessarily we’re going out only for the youngsters.
“If we see an older player in a full rhythm, he’s available and in that moment he would be the number one spot, let’s say as the left back, he will be the left back. No matter of age.”
Klinsmann will select a 25-26 player roster to take part in the stretch of matches from May to June that includes a pair of friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers. He will then have to build a second roster for the Gold Cup. With the Gold Cup scheduled for July, some players who don’t make the May-June could could wind up missing out on the Gold Cup as well because of the fact the will likely be coming off of vacations.
“It’s also important who’s in a rhythm,” Klinsmann said. “Scandinavians are in a rhythm. The MLS players are. Mexico is in a similar break like Europe and that makes it difficult.
“Whoever you leave out of the Mexican-Americans in the May-June camp, most likely we would leave them out of the Gold Cup as well because they would come from vacation and they can’t catch up anymore.”
Based on Klinsmann’s comments, if you are a European-based player who doesn’t play in Scandinavia, where the domestic season runs through the summer, or a Mexico-based player, you are likely not to be called up at all if you aren’t part of the May-June squad.
Who could that spell trouble for? All of the top Liga MX-based players are expected to make the 25-26 player roster for May and June, including Herculez Gomez, DaMarcus Beasley, Joe Corona, Jose Torres and Edgar Castillo, but if any of them don’t make the cut, they will likely be facing long vacations.
The situation is more dire for European-based players on the fringes, though players like Josh Gatt and Mix Diskerud would still be strong Gold Cup options given that their league seasons will be going. Someone like Carlos Bocanegra or Brek Shea could wind up being left out of the mix altogether if he were to not be included in the May-June camp.
One player who could still make it despite being a European-based player unlikely to be on the May-June roster is Stuart Holden, who Klinsmann was very high on when asked about him.
What we do know at this point is that there will be at least a few players who are part of the May/June squad as well as the Gold Cup team. Terrence Boyd, Joe Corona and the goalkeepers not named Tim Howard are all candidates for that sort of double duty, but the overlap isn’t likely to be much more extensive than that. Klinsmann categorically ruled out the possibility of any first-team regulars playing both in the June qualifiers and the Gold Cup, point out the fact that July will be the last chance for many players to take a vacation before a season that will be followed up by the 2014 World Cup.
So what could a projected Gold Cup roster look like? Here is one potential squad:
PROJECTED USMNT GOLD CUP ROSTER
GK- Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson
D- Steven Beitashour, Clarence Goodson, George John, Amobi Okugo, Justin Morrow, Tony Beltran, Brad Evans, Matt Hedges,
M- Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Josh Gatt, Alejandro Bedoya, Benny Feilhaber, Kyle Beckerman, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis
F- Terrence Boyd, Juan Agudelo, Jack McInerney, Will Bruin
What do you think of Klinsmann’s comments? Do you like this projected Gold Cup roster? Who would you like to see included on it? Who don’t you want to see on the Gold Cup squad?
Share your thoughts below.