Diskerud shines off the bench in Gold Cup Final

Landon Donovan

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

CHICAGO — As Mix Diskerud settled in on the bench for Sunday’s Gold Cup Final, he wasn’t dwelling on the fact he wasn’t starting. He was ready to watch the U.S. Men’s National Team win a trophy.

Diskerud’s attention changed quickly as he saw Stuart Holden grimacing in pain. He didn’t have much time to think. Diskerud knew he would have to jump into the middle of an intense match with no warm-up and try to make his mark in his first international final.

Not only did Diskerud hold his own, he shined, earning SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors  with a well-rounded and composed performance that helped the Americans win their fifth Gold Cup title.

“I was worried about Stu. That was my first thought,” Diskerud said of the sequence that led to his 23rd-minute entrance into Sunday’s final. “ And then I’ve got 30 seconds to warm up. That’s not enough, but it worked out.

“It took me a couple of minutes to get into the game, and get the pace of the game,” Diskerud said. “I feel like when I came out in the second half I was really more calm and I got to control the game and get the flow.”

Diskerud impressed with his two-way play, making challenges defensively and delivering crisp passes with equal ease.

“It’s difficult in a game like this, where you get comfortable on the bench and you’re thinking you’re going to watch the game, and then 10 minutes later you’re warming up,” Donovan said. “I give (Diskerud) a lot of credit.”

“I said it in the team meeting this morning to Jose (Torres) and to Mix that it hurts me as a coach to leave you on the bench because you deserve it like everybody else to be in the starting 11,” Klinsmann said. “But at the end of the day you can only choose 11, and they were okay with it.

“When (Holden’s injury) happened, I was confident that if I put Mix in, that he will play that role like he was on the field from the beginning,” Klinsmann said. “Mix is challenging his next level, and the way he was from the beginning of camp was impressive.”

“As a player you want to start every single game, but the coach wants to do what’s best for the team and I respect that,” Diskerud said of not starting the final. “I’ve got no problem with that. I’m competing with Stu Holden, who’s done very well in his career, so I wasn’t too disappointed about that.”

Diskerud acknowledged how tough it was to settle into the match, though he didn’t take long to find the game.

“The first couple of minutes you’re exhausted, you go around and can’t catch your breath,” Diskerud recalled. “But after a couple of minutes you get used to the tempo of the game.”

The result was a winner’s medal in Diskerud’s first international tournament with the U.S., a tournament that cap-tied him to the United States. That decision to play for the U.S. rather than his native Norway was not an easy one, but he certainly wasn’t regretting it after Sunday.

“It was a big decision for me,” Diskerud said of playing for the U.S. over Norway. “I wish I could play for both nations, but that’s not possible, so this is what happened and I’m so happy.”

Diskerud couldn’t contain his smile after Sunday’s final. Not only because of the championship, but because of what he, and most observers, considered a strong tournament.

“I feel like I got to show what I’m capable of and I hope the coach and the U.S. Soccer fans liked that,” Diskerud said. “I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my team, and hopefully I’ll get the chance again to prove myself going forward.”

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74 Responses to Diskerud shines off the bench in Gold Cup Final

  1. Brian says:

    I was impressed with his work rate on both ends. I am more than comfortable with him as a top backup in the midfield. He seems more willing to when the ball than SK and distributes just as well. Edu will need a strong start to his season because Beckerman also put his name in the top group. I expect to see mix called in for the September WCQ’s.

    • Ben says:

      Yeah, right now, Bradley and Jones obviously, but then Cameron, Mix, and Beckerman are all right there fighting for the back up positions.

    • nick says:

      I think even with a good start Edu doesn’t get called. Barring injury, hes not close to the WCQ or Brazil team…

  2. MikeG says:

    Diskerud moved up the depth chart and now where he is is his to lose or keep. Keep working hard. Good luck.

  3. Old School says:

    Next man up.

    Diskerud exemplifies why that saying is so true for all team sports. Make the most of your chance, Mixx.

  4. Af says:

    Mixx’s play made this catastrophic Holden news palletable.

  5. jon says:

    Mixx really stepped it up a notch. I’ve had my doubts about the grit and defensive ability (the passing and technical skill has always been clear) but he showed that side by being a pest in midfield all night. Still get nervous about how he can drift in and out of really physical games. Now that we’ve seen the toughness, I’d love to see him continue to hone his craft in a tougher league, where he needs to get stuck in every night. His agent’s got to get on it. With that gold cup reel how could team in France or the Netherlands not take chance on Mixx??

  6. Josh D says:

    Was as impressive as I hoped he’d be. A fantastic talent. I’m glad he took this tournament by the collar and forced Klinsi to consider him for the remainder of qualifiers. He deserves to be on the plane next year.

    Let’s hope his play has also opened the eyes of a few suitors. He could do with challenging his game in a harder league.

  7. User 222 says:

    Mixx should go to Italy….. and NOT England…. De Jong, Evans, Kompany… they’re butchers…

    • Brandon says:

      Diskerud was the 7th most fouled player at the Gold Cup. He was fouled more than any other player on USMNT.

      Of course, going to Italy isn’t the solution. That’s where De Jong plays now.

      • Kosh says:

        On that point – did anyone find it funny that somewhere between min 65 and 75 of games some random dude would take a cheap shot a Mixx (yeah I said it :)). Kid had the sh*ts of it in the final and leveled a guy of his own. You can tell that’s not his game but sometimes you gotta show some teeth to get you some ‘spect.

        Kid played outta his mind – with heart and he wanted this. He got better as the tourney went on. He’s got my ‘spect. :)

    • Naugles says:

      DeJong plays in Italy. So does K.P. Boateng (think Michael Ballack).

  8. rph says:

    I think we should all refer to him as “Mixx” instead of “Mix” just to cheese Bobb off.

  9. Creige says:

    Without Stu, I would have Mix in my starting 11 next to Bradley. Jones is good when you need someone with bite but Mix opens up the game offensively. The Panama game proved he could do all the defensive dirty work too.

    • Eric says:

      Mix over Geoff Cameron or even Sacha Kljestan? Really? Mix’s stock definitely rose this Gold Cup, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he broke into the A-team starting XI. Definitely worth a spot on the bench, though.

      • Creige says:

        Yup. Cameron will likely not be used in that position at all. Kjlestan hasn’t shown well. Mix was also very good against Russia and South Africa. Secondly the A team is not really an A team .

        • Bob Saget says:

          Isn’t the A team by definition an A team? You could say our A team may not compare to Germany or Spain’s A team, but they are still our A team.

      • DCUffda! says:

        Unless Mikks goes to a top league he will only be a sub in Brazil.
        He’s showed promise in the copa, but he needs a higher level of competition to grow.

        With any luck he’ll move to a feistier league, and become an Ozul-lite type of player.

      • Tom Patton says:

        Certainly over Kjestan. Sacha is not of international quality and demonstrates every time he gets on the pitch for the U.S.A. he is the worst of the worst of the 11.
        He should stay in Belgium and get his coaching license in hiss free time

    • Kosh says:

      I love posts like these. It gives you a glance on how folks view Jones’ game. Yeah dude is rough in the tackle – an enforcer type – but he is no 6, neither is Bradley, so that tends to show when they are both on the filed. Plus if the GC showed us anything it’s that JK’s system really shines with a true 6. That’s why Beckerman had such a monster tournament.

      Regardless, Jones is a top player and is very good at what he does and if he is to sit on the bench it would have to be for a true (and better) 6 or a guy like Cameron (who may not be a 6 but allows Bradley to terrorize the opponent). Jones brings more than just “bite” he is a quality player and so far I don’t see how a guy like that sits out from the starting 11.

      • louis z says:

        for this GC level the 6 was the way to go, against better and faster Euro or S.American passing team, our 6 (Bekerman) will be shred to pieces.

      • the original jb says:

        I think its a great point about JK’s system being most effective when a true #6 is playing well. For me, I would like to see what happens if Jones is told explicitly to play the #6, and to be very careful before making any runs forward. In other words, can he be disciplined enough positionally if told to play that way. He has all the physical tools and experience to be dominant there, even against the best. I’m sure he would rather play as an 8, but frankly thats not where the US needs him.

    • CplDaniel says:

      The Panama final overstates Mix’s defensive qualities. Panama only had twenty-something percent of possession, and played the majority of the game with 9-guys in the box and at 10-guys behind the ball. They were playing not to lose soccer, which is different from a team playing to win. You are all overstating his proven defensive prowess by citing this game. I like him as a sub, but definitely would put him way behind Cameron as a sub for Jones or Bradley in a defensive game.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      We absolutely need the bite of Jones in our midfield though. We aren’t going to be playing concacaf B teams anymore. I’m not trying to take away from Diskerud. He had a great tournament and proved that he deserved a shot with the A team. That said, Jermaine Jones is a starter for Schalke in the Bundesliga and Champions League. There is a reason Diskerud hasn’t reached that level yet. Jones is the superior player.

    • skyman says:

      I hate to say it so bluntly, but you don’t quite know what you’re talking about. Look, JJ plays CL ball, has played a major role on a team that won a Bundesliga title, and as much as I like Mix, he plays where? I dunno, somewhere in Scandenavia. I’m just not impressed yet with his professional résumé, and when it comes time to play the Argentinas, Italys, Belgiums, and other powerful teams, you’re really going to put Mix ahead of JJ?
      No way, and thank goodness Klinsmann surely sees it the same way I do.

  10. Eric says:

    I really, really want Mix and Zusi to be on the World Cup squad together, just for the possibility that they might one day do a shampoo commercial together.

  11. Joe says:

    23 for Brazil

    Howard – Guzan – Rimando

    Goodson – Besler – F Johnson – T Chandler – Beasley – Cherundolo – Gonzalez

    Bradley – Jones – Donovan – Dempsey – Zusi – Diskerud – Shea – Corona – Cameron

    Altidore – Johannson – E Johnson – Gomez

    • Ben says:

      I could live with that team.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks. I took my best crack at it. The inclusion of Johannson was more hopeful than realistic at this point, but we could see him included, if he shows well.

        There are some interesting “bubble” players like: Bedoya, Bocanegra, Gatt, Boyd. Klinsmann certainly doesn’t have an easy job with this bunch.

        • Lost in Space says:

          Gatt will not be recovered from his surgery in time to crack the 23. Boca will only be there if JAB doesn’t commit and there are injuries to (Goodson & Beasler).
          Boyd may beat out Gomez if Herc doesn’t get consistent time once back from knee surgery.
          Little worried about Dolo as well….hope he can recover in time to provide some leadership to the backline.

    • johanneskrauserII says:

      Where the heck is Bedoya in your list? Some of the important goals from Donovan came from his pin-point passes.

    • JJJ says:

      Don’t forget about JAB on defense.

    • alocksley says:

      Watch out for Boyd. Could be in for a big year.

    • Rocco says:

      This list reveals a lack of a consistent natural left winger. A lot of great fill in options of course but …

      • Bobb says:

        Uhh there are three, Shea, Beasley, F Johnson (who will most likely be starting at LB but still)… How many more left sided winger options do you want on a 23 man roster?

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          Not to mention Donovan, Zusi, Gomez, EJ who have all been successful there too.

      • louis z says:

        I know, don’t worry we are working on Shawn Parker but he is being difficult, give us more time.

    • Brandon says:

      A friend and I were spit-balling last night about the squad for Brazil, and the team we agreed upon was similar to yours. Only differences were Gomez, Johannsson, and Shea, whom we would replace with Beckerman, Boyd, and Torres in. No real complaints about your squad though.

    • CplDaniel says:

      Wait: Where’s Wondo?

    • VonnegutLives says:

      Why do you include Shea? His goal in the final was luck at best. Every other time he touched the ball in the 30 minutes he was on showed why he is not good enough to play for Stoke. He chokes in possession and doesn’t have the balls to pull the trigger. I would prefer Gatt, though he probably won’t be heathy, or F. Johnson over Shea.

  12. The Squad says:

    MiX showed well in the final…

    He came in aggressive and was skillful on the ball against and in-form Panama side.

    Pretty good passes, worked a few triangles well and kept everything headed towards the goal.

    Folks don’t seem to be high on Edu at the moment, but this is exactly what he contributes when posted in the midfield

    The ball moves forward.

    MiX had a great Gold Cup when called upon.

    Probably slightly ahead of Corona and Torres. Of course, he’ll see big minutes to spell Donovan, Jones or Zusi in crucial games.

    Have to wonder where he and his agent are in terms of club play in the future..

    Where do they see this guy. He’s got some skill. He’s got a little tape now.

    Hopefully he has a good Cup with a goal or two.

  13. chris_thebassplayer says:

    With Stu out, Mix has a unique role for the nats. His defense now is coming along and will improve with more experience, but he is a true 8. He’s already better than Kjestan…he is physically faster and mentally quicker with the ball. I guess it just depends on the strength of the opponent and the formation we play, and where MB plays. I don’t see Mix in competition with any of the Dmids…maybe more in competition with MB and JJ…who are kind of hybrid 6 / 8 players.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      I agree he is in competition with Kljestan and probably Torres/Corona as well. Edu and Beckerman are competing for a different role in the roster.
      Cameron looks like a safe bet to make it at this point. Not only a quality player but can fill in at 3/4 positions. Can’t underestimate the value of a guy like that in the 23.

    • DCUffda! says:

      Would like to see how Bradley and Mikks mingle in the midfield.

  14. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Ives, thank you for fine tuning the moderation…posts are coming in real time…much appreciated.

  15. Mike R says:

    I think Mix brings an attacking quality that no central USMNT player has. Bradley might be better overall but I don’t think there’s a better distributor his no look passes and overhead passes to wings are pure class. I don’t think anyone else can even make over accurate over the head passes to the wings. Not saying he is bettershould start but if your looking for a goal at the end of the game he’s a good option. Bradley is obviously a better two way midfielder.

  16. Arty says:

    I love his play and his honesty about his national identity. I like hearing that he still cares about Norway rather than giving the political answer that he’s always been 200% American rah rah rah. Dudes as American as any other especially considering how we set up our citizenship laws. Global world, global Americans. Love it. Going to keep helping us down the line, look at Aron Johannson.

    • RB says:

      And I love how on-target Ives was on this point about Diskerud and other dual nationality players in his most recent podcast, when he told people to start calming down and start trying to understand a bit better the type of forces at work in such players’ lives. Very well done, Ives. Thank you.

  17. DCUffda! says:

    Without starting in tougher league Mikks will have a tough time breaking in to the starting lineup by brazil time, but I’d love to see Klinsmann starting paring him with Bradley and/or Jones , to see how that plays out.

    I could also see Klinsmann putting him at the RM spot, because as well all know Klinsmann aint got no problem throwing crazy around.

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