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Sporting to keep Zusi and Besler during Gold Cup

The absence of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler on the Gold Cup roster will be a blessing for Sporting KC as they head into a tough stretch of matches in July.


Jurgen Klinsmann has decided that Graham Zusi and Matt Besler will not be needed for the 2013 Gold Cup roster, which will be a blessing for Sporting Kansas City.

Klinsmann had made an agreement with MLS that Omar Gonzales, Matt Besler and Eddie Johnson would not be called in but there was still the idea of Zusi being called in for the group stage. Now Sporting will get to keep both Besler and Zusi for July unless Klinsmann decides to call them in for the knockout stage.

July holds five matches for Sporting KC. These five matches could end up being the five most pivotal matches in the entire season because of how it could place Sporting heading down the home stretch of the season.

First they have a home match against Vancouver, the fifth place team in the West. This should be a game that Sporting wins but, as we know, they sometimes have trouble winning matches at home.

Then they travel to take on a Chicago Fire team that's, well, on fire. They are undefeated going back to May 18th and the addition of Mike Magee has made the Fire a very dangerous team. A good result in Chicago will be difficult.

Sporting will then host Toronto FC. As with the Vancouver match, Sporting should win this match but Sporting did lose in Toronto earlier in the season. Sporting cannot allow themselves to fall into a trap game.

From there Sporting will travel to the Western Conference leading Real Salt Lake in another tough match at Rio Tinto Stadium. Sporting will need to be in top form for this match.

Finally Sporting will face Montreal in perhaps the biggest match of the month. Sporting manhandled the Impact in March, Montreal turned the tables at the beginning of June. Montreal has looked unbeatable and Sporting will have to pull out all the stops to get a result in Montreal.

Klinamann's decision to leave Zusi and Besler off of the Gold Cup roster gives Sporting more weapons going into the month. It gives Sporting it's defensive anchor that will provide some consistent defending and will put the back line in a better situation overall.

In regards to Zusi, this decision gives Sporting KC it's best playmaker, whether he be on the wing or at the attacking midfield position. Without Zusi Sporting has had trouble getting good service to the forwards. They've had to resort to the pass, cross, recollect, repeat style of offense that doesn't utilize Claudio Bieler at the centerforward position to the best of his ability. With Zusi back, Sporting should have better service to the forwards.

Speaking of Zusi, this month may be the best opportunity to move him back to the attacking midfield. The callback of Dom Dwyer plus the lack of a corresponding move (so far) has given Sporting a wide variety of capable forwards. Sporting should have enough depth up top to move Zusi the position where he can do the most good as a playmaker, providing assists to the goal-scorers up top.

So thank you Jurgen Klinsmann. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting Sporting keep Besler and Zusi for July. Sporting isn't anywhere close to "panic mode" but a good month in July could do wonders for Sporting KC moving forward through the rest of the season.