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Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t appear pleased with U.S. center back depth

Jul 20, 2013, 8:25 AM EDT

Ivan Rmira, Oguchi Onyewu

If you are a U.S. center back not named Matt Besler or Omar Gonzalez, you cannot be feeling too great today.

We always knew that U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann had the option of making up to four roster changes after group play in the ongoing Gold Cup.

Given a bit of flagging creativity during three group stage contests, there were some indication that perhaps a playmaker (i.e., Graham Zusi) might be summoned for the elimination stage.

But it landed as a surprise when Klinsmann added not one, but two center backs. Any way you slice it, that’s not great news for the guys now offering depth behind the two U.S. starters in central defense.

Oguchi Onyewu (pictured) was one of the four players released, along with Corey Ashe, Herculez Gomez, Jack McInerney.

Clarence Goodson may be that Klinsmann still trusts; he was among the top U.S. players in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Onyewu had little to do in his one Gold Cup start, and yet still managed to be on the hook (along with Edgar Castillo) for a Cuban goal.

Michael Orozco’s place on the team may be slipping, too. There’s still time to look at other center backs ahead of next year’s World Cup, although not much. Tim Ream is still out there, prepping for his next season at Bolton. And FC Dallas’ George John looks healthy again after a recent injury.

As for Klinsmann’s apparent disappointment, we could probably say the same thing for forwards, since the U.S. manager also added a pair of frontrunners (Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson). This one is slightly different, however, since a bothersome knee issue had something to do with Gomez’s departure.

And McInerney was always a different situation; the young Philadelphia Union striker’s first mutual look at a U.S. camp was sure to include a period of adjustment.

  1. schmutzdeck - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Orozco has certainly made a good case for himself.

    The USSF website says Onyewu picked up an ankle injury in the Cuba game..

    JK will probably be trying out centerbacks up until the last minute.

    Don’t be surprised if Boca and Whitbread ( if he can play) come back into the picture. I’m expecting the Edu as CB experiment to be revived since that may be the only way Mo gets into the team and he would give JK extra versatility.

    I also remember during the telecast of one of the games, one of the pundits saying, in reference to Gooch, that JK was talking about how lots of teams in Europe are looking for centerbacks.

    We’ll see.. .

    • Steve Davis - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Yeah, I’m not 100 percent convinced the Onyewu injury was a significant factor. Not saying he didn’t collect a minor injury … just not sure if a minor ailment isn’t just a convenient crutch to help soften the blow of releasing a veteran man.

      • overtherepermanently - Jul 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        Regardless of his play, I think he was always out at this point in the tournament with the valid “club situation needs sorting” argument.

      • schmutzdeck - Jul 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Everyone is in such a rush to bury Gooch.

        JK doesn’t strike me as the type to soften the blow.

        There is one season yet to be played and if Gooch can revive his career with some club then that is just gravy for the US.

        Gooch returning to form is unlikely but it costs JK nothing to be patient with him.

        He obviously has a very high regard for his potential to contribute and yes, I would think any neutral observer would be unimpressed with the US center back pool.

        It is one bad Mullan tackle away from crisis.

  2. hildezero - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Orozco sucks, I don’t know why Klinsy kept him in the roster when he should’ve kept Ashe and sent back Orozco. Orozco has been sliding down the roster and hasn’t proved himself.

    • schmutzdeck - Jul 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      Fiscal may suck but it is interesting that as the tournament goes on he is getting more playing time.

      He and Besler seem to be the most mobile of the CB candidates and Fiscal is dangerous on set pieces, something Boca was great at and Gonzo seems not to be, at least for the US.

      So he may suck and may be sliding down the roster but if JK keeps playing him I’m sure he won’t mind.

      • Steve Davis - Jul 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        I’ve never thought Orozco should have been much higher than 4 or 5 on the depth chart (about where he is), but I certainly agree about his good instincts and ability to be a bother on restarts. A lot of that is about desire, and he sure seems unafraid to go mix it up and look for the ball.

  3. apruett - Jul 21, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Why not move Geoff Cameron . He played cb in Houston?

    • schmutzdeck - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      That might happen if Cameron wins the center back job at Stoke. And he might but that seems unlikely.

      He played mostly right back and midfield for them and when he came back to the US he was a little shaky at CB.

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