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Roster Rigging

5 Alternate Takes on the U.S. Gold Cup Roster

Jurgen Klinsmann is about to announce his roster for the 2013 Gold Cup, and we're all curious to see who he chooses. But if we ran the show, things would look quite a bit different for the tournament.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
June 27, 2013
10:00 AM
Jurgen Klinsmann has named his provisional Gold Cup roster, and he’ll pare that down to 23 some time Thursday. But you know us. After opening up the Starting XI to be a total free for all, we decided to take it one step farther. If it were up to us, throwing Klinsmann’s preferences and all else to the wind, which 23 players would we take to the Gold Cup? We answered below (as did Matt Benson from Soccer Over There who we invited to join because we like him).

Several trends emerged. We all think Jack McInerney’s time has come. We’re all dreaming of seeing John Anthony Brooks wear a U.S. shirt. Everybody thinks this is the perfect opportunity to reintegrate Stuart Holden into the side and everybody but Matt wants to see veterans Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra get a shot at working back to the A team. That’s not to say we all want to time travel and see a squad full of veterans. Only Noah would tab Oguchi Onyewu for his team.

George John isn’t on the provisional roster, but four out of five ASN panelists prefer calling up the FC Dallas center back. Mix Diskerud, who like John hasn’t been cap-tied to the U.S. and is eligible for another country, is on Klinsmann’s provisional roster and also makes 4/5 of our rosters. Another frequent pick is New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo. On the topic of Brek Shea, Matt is again the odd man out (we’re liking him less and less), with everyone else including the Stoke City midfielder.

Enough talk. Here are the picks:

Noah Davis

Noah’s Starting XI
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Tally Hall
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, John Anthony Brooks, Tony Beltran, Omar Gonzalez, Edgar Castillo, George John, A.J. DeLaGarza
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Landon Donovan, Mix Diskerud, Stuart Holden, Josh Gatt, Brek Shea, Alejandro Bedoya, Jose Torres
Forwards: Jack McInerney, Juan Agudelo, Will Bruin, Bobby Wood

I'd pick a younger roster, although I'm with Jurgen Klinsmann on wanting a bit of experience and depth. Hence the inclusion of Carlos Bocanegra and Kyle Beckerman, who bring both of those qualities. John Anthony Brooks won't put on the red, white, and blue, but we can always hope. Donovan and Holden record scratch the Starting XI back to 2009 when all was right in the world. Let's see what the kids can do up top.

Josh Deaver

Josh’s Starting XI
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Tally Hall
Defenders: Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Carlos Bocanegra, John Anthony Brooks, Edgar Castillo, Eric Lichaj, DaMarcus Beasley
Midfielders: Jose Torres, Stuart Holden, Mix Disekrud, Josh Gatt, Joe Corona, Alejandro Bedoya, Brek Shea, Conor O’Brien, Luis Gil
Forwards: Landon Donovan, Jack McInerney, Terrence Boyd, Juan Agudelo

More important than just bringing in new players, the Gold Cup is the best opportunity for emerging talents to prove they belong on a World Cup roster. In that vein, you have to bring back Gonzalez and Besler for additional reps anchoring the backline. Is Brooks ready? Is Bocanegra done? Who are our outside backs? Who is the No. 3 keeper? These are all questions to answer on defense. With the midfield looking more certain for 2014, now would be the chance to sort out your depth chart. O’Brien and Gil earn their first caps, while Holden, Bedoya, and others look to make their case. Up front, you bring together three of the most promising young American strikers to learn from the U.S all-time leading goal scorer. New talent, emerging starters and trusted vets: a winning combination.

John Godfrey

John’s Starting XI
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid, Dan Kennedy
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, John Anthony Brooks, Edgar Castillo, George John, Eric Lichaj, Michael Parkhurst, DeAndre Yedlin
Midfielders: Joe Corona, Landon Donovan, Josh Gatt, Stuart Holden, Mike Magee, Dax McCarty, Amobi Okugo, Brek Shea, Jose Torres
Forwards: Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Aron Johannsson, Jack McInerney

The Gold Cup ought to be a proving ground: Show you belong on the 2014 World Cup roster spot or get the hell out of the way. Given the GK pecking order, Kennedy and Hamid would each get one game in goal; an underused Guzan would get the PT after that. Can Boca still bring it? Let's find out. Is John undervalued? Let's decide. Would love to see Lichaj or Yedlin step up and be special at the always-problematic fullback spot. The midfield logjam continues even on the B team, but like everybody else I want Donovan and Holden and Shea to earn a seat on the flight to South America. All four forwards have tantalizing potential, but it's McInerney's show. I believe Jack Mac will score multiple goals in this tournament and make it to Brazil.

Matt Benson

Matt’s Starting XI
Goalkeepers: Sean Johnson, Tally Hall, Steve Clark
Defenders: Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Anthony Brooks, Edgar Castillo, Eric Lichaj, Alfredo Morales, Jonathan Spector, George John
Midfielders: Josh Gatt, Mix Diskerud, Stuart Holden, Joe Corona, Alejandro Bedoya, Conor O'Brien, Mike Magee, Luis Gil
Forwards: Terrence Boyd, Jack McInerney, Bobby Wood, Andrew Wooten

I decided to go with a mixture of U.S. back-ups (to get them playing time), guys who have played well in Europe and have no caps (to check them out in camp and in game situations), and other MLS players who have played well this season (reward them for their play and check them out). Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler appear to be the center back pairing for 2014, but with both of them inexperienced at the international level I want to give them as many reps as possible before Brazil. nd in a perfect world, it would be nice to cap tie Anthony Brooks.

Jon Arnold

Jon’s Starting XI
Goalkeepers: Tally Hall, Steve Clark, Dan Kennedy
Defenders: Seth Sinovic, John Anthony Brooks, George John, Tony Beltran, Carlos Bocanegra, Eric Lichaj, Justin Morrow
Midfielders: Josh Gatt, Mike Magee, Landon Donovan, Mix Diskerud, Dax McCarty, Brek Shea, Alejandro Bedoya, Stuart Holden, Conor O’Brien
Forwards: Jack McInerney, Terrence Boyd, Will Bruin, Juan Agudelo

This is the perfect situation for Jurgen Klinsmann to take a risk. Nobody is really worried if you don’t win the tournament, and it would take a serious issue not to get to the knockout stages. Why not go with a young team of guys who have shown promise but don’t have many (or any) caps? My team is quite heavy on those young guys, but I also like including Donovan, Bocanegra, and Holden who can explain how things are done and regale with tales of top-flight matches.

As always, now it’s your turn. Who would you put on your roster or who is on ours that you don’t think has any place with the national team?

Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to make your own Starting XI.

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