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Stock rising: Three U.S. men who have elevated their value through Gold Cup performance

Jul 23, 2013, 4:10 PM EDT

Mix Diskerud

We keep saying it: winning the Gold Cup carries some big picture importance as U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann drives his toward greater professionalism and away from any shards of complacency.

But the bigger (and perhaps more important) subtext is how 4-6 Gold Cup matches affect the U.S. player pool. The World Cup roster will be announced in just 10 months, after all, and no more than 12-14 men are locks to be among the 23.

So here are three U.S. men who have impacted their standing in the pool through heady performance:

(We won’t include Landon Donovan, who was always a separate case; Donovan has clearly re-established himself as a difference maker, and one who can fit in. Barring injury, the man is going to Brazil. Nor will we include Stuart Holden, who is certainly making progress, which was always the Gold Cup target for him personally, but isn’t far enough along to make any hard pronouncements.)

Joe Corona

It would have been nice to see the young Liga MX attacker make a more consistent impact in matches against the regional minnows. Still, those two goals mean a lot, and his confidence has seemed to grow through the tournament. As I said Sunday, Corona has probably lapped Jose Torres on Klinsmann’s depth chart at this point. Simply put, Corona has done better at exploiting his opportunities.

Mix Diskerud

The Norwegian-born midfielder is carving out a spot in the pool as Michael Bradley’s understudy in the linking role. Like Stuart Holden, Diskerud (pictured above) is versatile enough to play centrally or in wider roles (though not as an outright winger). He could even play in a holding role, although that last little bit of barbed-wire bite remains missing from his game. If Diskerud can sharpen that part, he’ll be a decent bet to find a spot on the 23-man roster for World Cup 2014.

Brek Shea

Anyone paying attention to the tournament (and to Shea’s performances in a U.S. shirt previously) knows two things: he can absolutely, positively make an impact at international level, and; he has all the consistency of two-month-old puppy dog.

Shea’s aggressive, direct-line approach with the ball and without it is a lacking element in the U.S. player pool, especially when Clint Dempsey isn’t around. His game-winning goal against Costa Rica did two things: it helped clear the evaluation slate after that awful 45 minutes against Cuba, and it reminded us all that Shea has frequently found a way, usually through a big assist, to stamp a meaningful imprint when he gets into games.

Would that Torres could say the same.

  1. capspackcrew - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Having Shea on the WC roster will be imperative. He may not be ready or consistent enough to warrant a starting spot by any means (by the 2018 wc I think he will be) but he skills will be tough to leave off. Coming off the bench in a game where the US has gotten stagnate and unable to crack a tough defensive shell, Shea’s straight up and down game creates chances all over the pitch when he plays. His size creates problems and his motor is always going. He’s the type of player who could score a huge goal and he needs to find a spot. Not to mention he is a freak athlete. He is a big goal waiting to happen. Worth bringing along no doubt.

    • mikeevergreen - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      The thing I like about him is that he takes the ball all the way to the end line, taking off-side out of play. If we could only slip Stoke City a few quid to play him regularly.

  2. hildezero - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I agree with only two, but not with the Corona decision. Torres is better than Corona.

    • tridecagon - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      Based on what? From the performances I’ve seen for the national team in the past year, Corona is the better choice. Torres looks lost too often.

      Either way, these guys are bit players – but you never know when a bit player will become a big deal in the WC picture.

    • soccerjohn - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      Have to say, Torres is silky smooth sometimes and displays a touch that I’m not sure anyone but Donovan surpasses in some phases of the game. But, Corona makes a bigger impact. Torres plays too deliberately and isn’t particularly fast. Corona doesn’t seem capable of doing things Torres can do–Torres’ skill can be tantalizing–but he makes a bigger, more positive difference to the team IMO.

      • mikeevergreen - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        On corner kicks, Donovan and Torres are in the corner and it looks like the Dirty Tricks Committee is in session.

  3. phillyphannn83 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    “Would that Torres could say the same.”

    English please.

    • boscoesworld - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      That is proper English. Maybe a bit high brow for some but proper.

      • mvktr2 - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        I was glad to see it.

  4. boscoesworld - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Torres is lost. He is not strong on the ball and rarely useful in the attack. Worst of all he plays out of position way too often. If you are a wide player you play wide. He doesn’t seem to get that. He pinches in and clogs the middle too often. Since Corona plays the opposite side a comparison here is only for a roster spot. I think Shea vs Torres and how they play the position is the ?.

  5. hildezero - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    @tridecon

    Based in how they play. Let keep it simple for you… Torres is better than Corona.

  6. bigdinla - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Torres is better on the ball, but Corona is a better winger. Torres is slow of foot and thought. He is really only useful on set pieces.

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