Ahead of the USA’s huge 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, Jurgen Klinsmann has called up Alan Gordon to replace the injured Jordan Morris.
[ MORE: 3 questions, USA-Mexico ]
Gordon, 35, has only made two previous appearances for the USMNT and U.S. Soccer specifically pointed out that Gordon is joining the “training camp roster” which consists of 26 players.
He scored three goals and added one assist in 22 games this season for LA, with all of his goals coming in his final six appearances of the season.
The U.S. will train in Columbus on Tuesday as they continue preparations for their opening Hexagonal opener against old does Mexico at MAPFRE Stadium. Despite one of their youngsters in Morris being replaced by a veteran, there are still plenty of newbies in the squad for Klinsmann to choose from.
The intensity of a World Cup qualifier against Mexico in Columbus may blow some of them away as the likes of Christian Pulisic, Julian Green, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Caleb Stanko, Ethan Horvath and Lynden Gooch could be in for quite a shock.
Speaking to U.S. Soccer’s website both Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez (one of which will likely line up alongside John Brooks in central defense following the loss of influential defender Geoff Cameron through injury) urged the youngsters in the U.S. squad to be ready and focused for a totally new experience.
“They need to realize just how big this game is,” Gonzalez said. “That’s we’re playing such a big rival, there’s so much history and Columbus has been such a big part of that history. It’s important from the moment you get here to take it seriously. This is big for us, big for our fan base and big for the future. A win here could put us on the right path for qualifying. They really need to think about what this game entails, what it means for us and to take it seriously and enjoy the moment.”
Besler added that his World Cup qualifying debut against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca in 2013 was an eye-opener.
“To be honest I was probably naive,” Besler said. “I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into.”
Klinsmann will be looking for big performances from Pulisic and perhaps now Green given the injuries to Morris and Clint Dempsey, while Gooch has an outside chance of some minutes following his impressive debut against New Zealand in a friendly last month.
The next wave of U.S. talent is starting to break through and experiences like the one they’ll face on Friday in Columbus will be crucial in their development.