May 3, 2013, 12:01 PM EST
Stuart Holden’s addition to the U.S. national team’s May camp serves another purpose, one beyond extending the midfielder’s fitness and form with an eye toward a potential role in Jurgen Klinsmann’s rotation.
His presence may just provide some needed cover for a team staring at some yellow card peril. Seven men will miss a match with their next caution. (The list is down below.)
June is a vital month in the World Cup qualifying effort. Three matches can go far in guiding this team to Brazil 2014. So clearly, every base needs covering, every eventuality thought through.
The problem is this: Klinsmann cannot just call in 28 guys and be done with it. That’s not the right way to handle things. He’s calling in 22 or 23.
If he calls in MLS men just for “cover” he damages relationship with domestic coaches. For instance, San Jose’s Frank Yallop doesn’t want to see Chris Wondolowski or Alan Gordon brought into U.S. camp as practice players, hanging around “just in case” while missing MLS matches.
Klinsmann wouldn’t want that, either.
Nor can Klinsmann use “B-team” performers out of Europe or Mexico. He wants a young guy like Terrence Boyd or a Josh Gatt for July’s Gold Cup duty, and he can’t do that and have them available for June’s qualifiers. To do so would mean not providing any summer break, and that’s not the right way to do things, either.
So there’s Holden. He doesn’t want a break. He looks like great cover to have around, a guy with a great attitude who has also been around in a few big international games.
The list of U.S. players sitting on a yellow card; they will miss the next match upon a subsequent booking:
- DaMarcus Beasely
- Matt Besler
- Michael Bradley
- Brad Davis
- Clint Dempsey
- Maurice Edu
- Fabian Johnson
- Graham Zuzi
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