After earning three wins in the group stage, Jurgen Klinsmann decided to reinforce the defense by adding Matt Besler and Omar Gonzales, among other replacements.
US Gold Cup player changes: OUT-Ashe, Gómez, McInerney, Onyewu. IN-González, Gordon, E. Johnson, Besler.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 18, 2013
Matt Besler will join the United States ahead of their quarterfinal match with El Salvador this Sunday, which means he will miss Sporting Kansas City's match with Real Salt Lake this Saturday. If the United States advance to the finals, which they have done the past four Gold Cups, Besler would also miss Sporting's away match with Montreal next week.
Here is the schedule for the Gold Cup knockout stage that Matt Besler will try and help the United States win.
The good news for Sporting Kansas City is that neither Graham Zusi nor Benny Feilhaber received a call-up as well. Both were rumored to possibly receive a nod from Klinsmann. This allows Sporting KC to keep their midfield intact and one of the best playmakers in the league.
Ike Opara will most likely get the nod to replace Besler for the next games. Opara has held his own well at the center back position when playing this season and will be a serviceable defensemen against RSL and Montreal. In my personal opinion, it's better to lose Besler than to lose Zusi. Not to understate Besler's talent or contributions to the team, but Opara is a much more serviceable replacement than what Sporting has for Zusi.
The Sporting defense will miss their anchor for the next two games but any time that Besler and Omar Gonzales can get some work in will pay off in 2014 at the World Cup.