Jun 27, 2013, 4:43 PM EST
With the never-ending relay race that an international soccer squad, youth must always take over for age at some point or another to keep the wheels turning and the squad supplied.
With the Gold Cup roster released, it’s already been heavily discussed how mixed the squad appears, with the presence of both fading veterans and untested youth.
However, not only is the squad balanced with both ends of the spectrum, the baton will almost literally be handed over in this year’s Gold Cup.
Jurgen Klinsmann has signified with his roster choices that he will almost certainly use the veterans in the defense (see: Onyewu, Oguchi) to lead the way and assist those new youngsters and find out who’s cut out for the future of the national team.
New names in the midfield and front line include Will Bruin, Jack McInerney, Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, and Joshua Gatt. Those five have a combined 11 caps between them all.
Most eyes will be on the young tandem of Mix Diskerud and Jack McInerney. If they get significant time, it will give the country a wonderful look at what’s to come in the next few years. Diskerud is still not officially cap-tied to the United States, although he’s said his intentions remain with the Stars and Stripes and not Norway.
McInerney has torn up Major League Soccer winning two consecutive Player of the Month awards, tied for the league lead with 10 goals, and carrying the Philadelphia Union squarely on his shoulders.
Much has been discussed about Onyewu, who is at a crossroads, and could be on his last national team legs unless he makes an impact.
However, he’s not alone. The role of the veterans in this squad isn’t simply to carry the youth on their shoulders until they can support themselves. They have plenty of work to do of their own.
Also in support of the new kids will be the likes of Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski, Herculez Gomez, DaMarcus Beasley, and Clarence Goodson. Donovan has to prove he can contribute at a high level as he used to before his sabbatical – any drop in value and he could be replaced by the surging Graham Zusi. As Klinsmann put it, it’d Donovan’s “chance to prove where he’s at.”
Wondolowski must make it clear to Klinsmann that his spotty MLS season isn’t a sign that age is rearing its ugly head.
Gomez has never been a USMNT regular, and at 31 years old surely has his last opportunity to make a World Cup roster and contribute. He must show his performance in the early stages of this World Cup qualification cycle wasn’t a one-time deal.
And finally Goodson also has plenty of work to do if he has any hope to break into a suddenly crowded USMNT back line, with his contributions from South Africa a distant memory.
Whether they’re young or old, each player has plenty to prove in the Gold Cup this year.
While it’s not the most important competition on the United States’ calender, it is of vital importance to just about every member on the roster.
If the kids make their mark, the country will have watched the passing of the baton, assisted by some of the bigger names in United States soccer over the last decade who may fade into the shadow of youth.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:20 PM EST
Diego Costa has again claimed his own innocence. And you know what? I believe that he believes he’s done nothing wrong.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:43 PM EST
Big Sam was quick to take the credit away from Liverpool and place the blame for Saturday’s loss on his own injury “crisis.”
Jan 31, 2015, 9:24 PM EST
Van Gaal remembers what happened last time his side led Leicester, and he learns his lessons the first time.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
All of the day’s confirmed, officially official transfer dealings from Saturday, Jan. 31.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:27 PM EST
The actual games took a backseat to shenanigans as two of four semifinals places were booked on Saturday.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:45 PM EST
All of Saturday’s action from Spain and Italy.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST
Arsenal and Southampton hope to keep their assaults on the Top Four in order, while Aston Villa and Swansea City hope to snap skids.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST
And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST
There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST
Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
All the goal scoring came within the 41st and 45th minutes at Stamford Bridge, as City failed to cut into Chelsea’s first-place advantage.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Want to see Benzema’s brilliant bender? Of course you do.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Blind believes United are getting close to what LVG expects.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:21 PM EST
It started off slow and tentative, but the big match between Chelsea and Manchester City is opening up
Jan 31, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
Moyesy is learning Spanish from a Manchester United fan…
Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
For the Toffees, defense is the way forward for the rest of the season.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
“It’s always difficult to be honest when you’ve had a long break,” Defoe said. “But I’ve had a mini-pre-season and I’m getting sharper and sharper.”
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