Despite winning Group A in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, several questions remained of the U.S Men's National Team roster. The rules allow teams to make as many as six changes to the roster in the 24-hour period following the group stage. With some awful defense at times, many believed that a call up for Matt Besler was coming. Today Jurgen made three changes but the KC kid was left off the roster once again.
DaMarcus Beasley for Greg Garza, Joe Corona for Alfredo Morales, and Alan Gordon for Jozy Altidore.
After hearing some of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's comments about the changes, it would seem he was planning to make a couple changes all along. He saw the Group Stage as a chance to give some up-and-comers quality minutes to grow for the future.
"Greg Garza is there for the future. He’s only getting better. He’s done tremendously well these last two weeks, he knows that he has to grow more, get more experience and it’s as simple as that. It’s why we made the switch."
When he speaks of Beasley it is clear he knew this change was coming from the beginning.
"Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge, because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings. He brings a lot of experience into this group, and he’s hungry. He’s still as hungry as day one in his career. That speaks for us having him back in the group and now it gives us a couple of different options on how to put pieces together. We’re very happy to have Beas back."
Much of the same was said of the switch of Corona for Morales. Jurgen talked about Morales being on the rise while he can use Joe Corona's experience for more help on the field now.
The Jozy Altidore situation is slightly different. He was still trying to come back from an injury and he was just simply nowhere near the form the Americans need from a striker. It must be disappointing for Klinsmann.
"We believe that Jozy’s just not there yet. Jozy never really got into this tournament and never really picked up the rhythm. He’s just simply not in the shape right now to help us."
Alan Gordon, who was part of the 2013 Gold Cup winning team, comes in for reinforcements off the bench.
"He’s fully fit, he’s so full of energy, he scores goals with the Galaxy, and he fits in right away. He’s a pure giver to the group, and he might be a player that can make a difference at any second when you bring him in."
While those changes all make a lot of sense, it seems another change could have helped make a difference. With everything Jurgen has said about switching out young players for experience, it is curious that Besler is still left out. Ventura Alvarado showed great speed and glimpses of his potential, but has looked incredibly shaky (especially paired with the other youngster in John Brooks) more often than not. Alvarado was lazy and at times looked out of his league, even against mediocre opposition.
The final group stage match with Panama saw John Brooks get another yellow, causing him to miss next match, and Alvarado was beaten like he wasn't even there on Panama's goal. I thought these events may force Jurgen's hand. With such questionable defense, you'd think calling up a guy with World Cup experience would be a no-brainer. Even if it is for no other reason than depth!
That being said, Sporting KC fans are probably not going to be too torn up about it. As Captain, Besler has provided a veteran presence and anchored a back line that's been ravaged by injuries.
Up next for the USMNT are the Quarterfinals on Saturday in Baltimore. The opponent has yet to be determined as Group B wraps up play tonight and Group C tomorrow.