When US Soccer released its 2017 Gold Cup preliminary roster at halftime of the friendly against Venezuela on Saturday night, perhaps the most surprising name on the 40-man list was FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
The 22-year-old MLS starter has been playing in the Mexico international youth setup for years, selected for the 2016 Olympics but failing to make an appearance behind team captain Alfredo Talavera.
Fox Soccer analyst Stuart Holden tweeted on Saturday evening that he had talked to Gonzalez’s agent, who confirmed that if Gonzalez makes the final 25-man roster, he is ready to play for the United States. If Gonzalez does indeed see time in the Gold Cup, he would become cap-tied to the United States.
But then, a twist from Holden in the early hours of Sunday morning:
So, it seems Mexico has issued an ultimatum to the United States. Should they call Gonzalez up for the Gold Cup, he’s theirs. However, if they leave him off, Mexico would likely call him up soon, leaving the goalkeeper with a decision to make.
The United States is not hurting for goalkeepers, even with Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, and Nick Rimando all reaching the latter stages of their careers. Ethan Horvath is thought of as one for the future, but was left off the Gold Cup roster, likely to take time to earn a place at Club Brugge. D.C. United’s Bill Hamid has been on the fringes of the senior team for years, but is having a down season in MLS comparatively. Cody Cropper spent time at Premier League club Southampton before coming to the New England Revolution. Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono has been to USMNT camp before, but has not made an appearance. Still just 20 years old, Jonathan Klinsmann performed well at the 2017 U-20 World Cup. Still, to have Gonzalez – born in Edenton, North Carolina – would be a big plus for the United States, both to add him to the pool and keep him away from Mexico.