Jul 17, 2013, 1:04 PM EST
United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann hinted late last night – actually, something a little stronger than a “hint” – that reinforcement are en route as his team preps to meet El Salvador in this weekend’s Gold Cup’s quarterfinals.
Even more difficult matches lie ahead, assuming Klinsmann’s young team handles its business Sunday in Baltimore. Tournament rules allow teams to make up to four changes after the group stage; any additions must come from the original list of 35 names submitted back in May.
My best guess: Graham Zusi (pictured) soon be on the scene. That’s who I would most like to see, at least.
If we examine it from this angle, the Sporting Kansas City man makes the most sense: “Where has the United States been lacking in the group stage?”
It’s tricky, because Klinsmann’s current bunch had barely been stretched before Tuesday’s late, 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Still, there have been areas on the field where player performance rated weaker than others.
For me, Oguchi Onyewu remains a bit of a problem. He lost his mark on one of Cuba’s few opportunities. Not. Good.
Left back remains a bit wobbly in my mind, as Edgar Castillo and DaMarcus Beasley have both demonstrated ongoing defensive liabilities. (Castillo more than Beasley, but still ….)
Right back remains an issue; Michael Parkhurst and Tony Beltran have performed fine defensively, but neither has raised much of a fuss on attack, and that is a sure requirement at international level.
There is some creative ability still missing – and that’s where I believe Klinsmann might lean.
Graham Zusi can create from the very area where the United States has lacked. Alejandro Bedoya could not poke any holes in the Costa Rican defense last night. Joe Corona was better three nights earlier … but I just wasn’t as excited about his performance against Cuba as some others. U.S. attackers need to dominate their areas against the regional minnows; Corona was good in the game, but I would argue that he wasn’t great.
Landon Donovan could man the right side, but Klinsmann has used him mostly as a second forward over the last four matches (the Gold Cup group contests plus the pre-tourney friendly against Guatemala.)
I won’t be shocked to see another center back come in, either Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler. The problem is that both clubs have MLS matches over the next two weeks. LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena has already complained about player absenteeism for international duty, so that may be an obstacle for Gonzalez.
Zusi’s arrival may block a call for Besler; as Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes could potentially balk at losing two of his best men to a tournament that, honestly, doesn’t mean much beyond the player personnel subplots. (And thank goodness we have those to argue about, eh?)
Any changes must be made today – so we won’t have to wait long on this one.
Dec 21, 2013, 3:20 PM EST
The young American international scores No. 18 this season for Alkmaar as his sensational season continues in Holland:
Dec 21, 2013, 2:30 PM EST
Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen dropped points, while teams at the bottom of the Bundesliga table managed to gain a few.
Dec 21, 2013, 1:50 PM EST
Watch this bizarre own goal as Kompany slices the ball over Joe Hart and into his own net:
Dec 21, 2013, 1:29 PM EST
Recaps, reaction, video highlights and more from all seven PL games on Saturday:
Dec 21, 2013, 1:13 PM EST
Want to watch all the PL action and hear the experts analyze every game? Watch MOTD live here:
Dec 21, 2013, 12:58 PM EST
Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay spoke after his side lost to Liverpool, stating that, despite an ultimatum from owner Vincent Tan, he would not resign.
Dec 21, 2013, 12:26 PM EST
Baggies bounce back as fighting spirit surfaces in rambunctious battle with Hull:
Dec 21, 2013, 12:17 PM EST
Sunderland fought hard for all three points, but in the end, they remain dead last after a goalless draw with Norwich.
Dec 21, 2013, 12:13 PM EST
The Toon are on the verge of the top four after another superb victory at plucky Palace:
Dec 21, 2013, 12:04 PM EST
Villa managed to make the match interesting for about five minutes, but ultimately it was fairly easy for Stoke to get all three points.
Dec 21, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
United back in the groove as superb attacking display dispatches Hammers:
Dec 21, 2013, 11:57 AM EST
Fulham came back from 2-0 down, but City were simply the superior side, ultimately trotting out the winners.
Dec 21, 2013, 11:05 AM EST
United flying high as Moyes’ men are putting on a show at Old Trafford, watch the second half unfold:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:58 AM EST
Rooney returns, can he help United down the Hammers? Watch live, right here:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:43 AM EST
Can the Eagles clip the Magpies wings down at Selhurst Park? Watch live, right here:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:36 AM EST
Against Cardiff, Luis Suárez added two more goals to his season tally, making Malky Mackay’s position even more precarious.
Dec 21, 2013, 9:31 AM EST
Uruguayan superstar bags 18th and 19th goals of the season, watch his sublime strikes:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:26 AM EST
West Brom look for their first win in seven matches as they welcome Hull City to the Hawthorns.
Dec 21, 2013, 9:19 AM EST
Will City pile more pressure on the teams above them with a win over Fulham? Watch live, here:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:13 AM EST
With neither side particularly adept at scoring, will we see any action at the Britannia today? Give us your thoughts.
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