Bruce Arena’s going to love this. With Robbie Keane potentially banged up and Landon Donovan already in U.S. Mens’ National Team camp, Omar Gonzalez — the third of the LA Galaxy’s big three — has been called up for the Gold Cup, one of four changes Jurgen Klinsmann made to his team on Wednesday for the competition’s knockout rounds.
Each of the eigth team teams that advanced past the Gold Cup’s group stage could call up new players to their squad, provided they were on the 35-player preliminary roster previously submitted to CONCACAF. Along with Matt Besler, Alan Gordon, and Eddie Johnson, Gonzalez will join a U.S. team set to face El Salvador in the quarterfinal round.
Corey Ashe, Herculez Gomez, Jack McInerney and Oguchi Onyewu were the four players dropped from the U.S. squad. Neither Ashe nor McInerney saw any action in the tournament, Gomez started against Cuba but failed to make an impact, while Onyewu’s performance in the same match played in big part in Cuba’s only goal.
The most notable part of the call-ins may have been a name that was omitted, with many expected Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi to get the call. Looking at the forwards brought in and considering how Landon Donovan’s performance as a supporting striker, it’s tempting to wonder if the LA Galaxy star will be playing wider in the next round. If that’s Klinsmann’s intention, omitting Zusi makes a more sense.
Fans will be disappointed that McInerney, whose popularity has soared after his hot start to the season, didn’t see a minute of action, but ever since he was omitted from the 18-man roster for the pre-tournament friendly against Guatemala, this move has been in the cards. When asked about McInerney’s lack of playing time, Klinsmann always alluded to the value of merely being in camp while declining to say the Union striker would see action in future. To the degree that he and Ashe (hampered by a thigh injury) impressed in training, it was never enough to get them off the bench.
On the MLS front, both LA and Kansas City will be hurt by the loss of their best defender, though each have enough depth to deal with the short-term setback. Alan Gordon had accumulated a yellow card suspension for San Jose, cushioning his loss, while Obafemi Martins’ return to health leaves him and Lamar Neagle to start up for Seattle top in Eddie Johnson’s absence. Conversely, both Ashe and McInerney will be valuable editions to teams looking to improve their place in the Eastern Conference.