[USA MEN]U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann took advantage of the Concacaf rule implemented for the 2013 Gold Cup that allows teams to make up to four changes for the knockout stage of the competition. He brought in Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Eddie Johnson, who all started the last two qualifiers, as well as Alan Gordon, and dropped Cory Ashe, Herculez Gomez, Jack McInerney and Oguchi Onyewu.
Gonzalez and Besler would be expected to step into the starting spots at center back while Johnson could start at right midfield or left midfield, positions at which Klinsmann has used five players in the group stage. [UPDATE: Gonzalez will only join the USA after the quarterfinals -- if it advances -- so he can play for the Galaxy this weekend.]
U.S. Soccer gave no reason for the departure of the four players -- whether the moves were based on form or lack thereof or predetermined moves made in consultation with the players based on their club situations.
Onyewu and Gomez each started only one Gold Cup game, the 4-1 win over Cuba. Neither Ashe nor McInerney played in the group stage.
Onyewu, who has struggled on the national team to return to the level he performed at before his 2009 knee injury, was beaten on the Cuba goal but otherwise performed rather well against an albeit weak Caribbean foe. He is a player in need of finding a club where he can play regularly if he wants to compete for a World Cup 2014 spot.
He said recently he was not ready to leave Europe, but he won't be returning to Spanish club Malaga and he seems to have no future at Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, which owns his contract.
Gomez was taken off at the half for Chris Wondolowski, whose two goals against Cuba gave him five for the tournament. Gomez, who missed the June qualifiers with a knee injury, recently joined Tijuana and will need to settle into a new club, his fifth Mexican club in the last three-plus seasons.
Gold Cup Roster Changes:
IN: Erick Norales (Defender; Marathon)
OUT: Johnny Palacios (Defender; Olimpia)
IN: Jose Maria Cardenas (Midfielder; Morelia)
OUT: Darvin Chavez (Midfielder; Monterrey)
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
IN: Kevan George (Midfielder; Columbus Crew)
OUT: Khaleem Hyland (Midfielder; Racing Genk)
IN:Omar Gonzalez (Defender; LA Galaxy), Alan Gordon (Forward; San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Forward; Seattle Sounders), Matt Besler (Defender; Club: Sporting KC).
OUT:Corey Ashe (Defender; Houston Dynamo), Jack McInerney (Forward; Philadelphia Union), Oguchi Onyewu (Defender; Sporting Lisbon).