June 23, 2015
By Charles Cuttone
With eye toward winning Klinsmann names Gold Cup squad
The United States wants to win the 2015 Gold Cup. That statement was made clear by Men's National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann in naming a veteran-laden 23-man roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Championship.
The roster includes 17 players from last year's World Cup squad and ten players who have been on Gold Cup winning teams in the past, including sox from the USA's most recent victory in 2013. The team is split almost evenly between MLS call-ups (12) and foreign-based players (11). After the Group Stage, teams that qualify for the quarterfinal round may replace up to six players on the roster.
"Our approach for putting together the roster for this summer's Gold Cup, which is very, very important to us, is obviously to do everything possible to win this competition," said Klinsmann. "Winning it would qualify us for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, so putting the pieces together is very crucial. That's why we came out with a roster full of quality, but also a lot of experience; players that are used to playing in the CONCACAF region and also younger players that came through the ranks over the last year that made a stamp on the senior National Team program."
Among those younger players Klinsmann referred to are LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes and former Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin, whose performance in last year's World Cup led to a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
Another relative newcomer is Ventura Alvarado, who has appeared in five straight matches since making his debut in a U.S. uniform on March 25 against Denmark. Alvarado is a regular starter for the Club America team that captured the CONCACAF Champions League title and a trip to the FIFA Club World Cup. Alvarado has started in the last three games for the U.S. MNT, in which the team is 3-0-0.
"It's an exciting roster, and obviously we have a chance to make some changes after the group stage if necessary," said Klinsmann. "We put all of these things into consideration, and we believe we have a very, very strong group that can win this prestigious tournament."
Not surprisingly, Clint Dempsey was named to the roster, this despite his red card and actions toward the referee in the Seattle Sounders U.S. Open Cup match against the Portland Timbers. Dempsey was suspended three games by MLS after the ejection, and his subsequent grabbing the referee's notebook and tearing it up. U.S. Soccer's Open Cup adjudication panel is reviewing the matter, but his MLS suspension would carry over to the National Team as well, but the three league games will have passed before the National Team's game in Nashville against Guatemala on July 3.
"It’s something that nobody wants to see. It’s a mistake, and mistakes happen," Klinsmann said in an interview posted on USSoccer.com. "So, obviously when he comes in next week to Nashville in preparation for our friendly game with Guatemala, we’ll sit down and talk through that and we’ll go from there. "
The starting goalkeeper position appears be clearly in the hands of Brad Guzan, especially in light of back to back wins over Holland and Germany, but number two 'keeper Nick Rimando was in nets two years ago when for five of the six U.S. wins enroute to the CONCACAF title. Klinsmann has made a change in the third goalkeeper spot, which over the past couple of years has gone to either Sean Johnson of the Chicago Fire or Bill Hamid of D.C. United. This time around, Klinamann has selected 26-year-old Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarborough, who has played 90 minutes over two games for the U.S. this year.
The game in Nashville (FOX Sports 1, UniMás and Univision Deportes Network) is the only tuneup before the Gold Cup kicks off on July 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. That game will also be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and UniMás.
A Gold Cup win would mean an automatic berth to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Under the current qualifying set-up, a playoff between the 2013 Gold Cup winner and this year's winner would determine the CONCACAF representative, but if the U.S. wins again, there would be no need for the playoff.
U.S. Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/2007), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/2011, 2013), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS (7) : Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC/2009), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy/2013), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers/2011)
MIDFIELDERS (9) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/2009, 2013), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/2011, 2013), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/2007, 2011), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo/2005), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC/2013), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4) : Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/2011), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC/2005, 2007, 2011), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes/2011, 2013)