U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann
's selection of 17 of the 23 players he took to the 2014 World Cup underlined his conservative nature in picking his
squad for the USA's Gold Cup defense. But the better focus is on the players he took to Europe for the USA's historic wins over the Netherlands and Germany earlier in June. Here's a look at
Klinsmann's 23 picks, plus 12 alternates. GOALKEEPERS (3):
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England),
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Leon, Mexico). Alternate:
Bill Hamid (D.C. United).
No surprise here. Brad Guzan
started in both games against the Netherlands and Germany, and the 2015 Gold Cup will be his big test. His only previous trip to the Gold Cup came in 2007
when he was the third-string keeper behind Tim Howard
and Kasey Keller
. DEFENDERS (7):
Ventura Alvarado (Club America, Mexico), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt, Mexico), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez
(LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers, England). Alternates:
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo); Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Greg Garza (Atlas/Mexico); Michael Orozco (Puebla/Mexico); Brek Shea (Orlando City SC).
Klinsmann started Ventura Alvarado
and John Brooks
for both games in Europe. They struggled against the Dutch but played better as the match
against Germany in Cologne went along. German-Americans Timmy Chandler
and Fabian Johnson
are the likely choices on the
outside. Greg Garza
and Brek Shea
were used at left back earlier in the year, but Klinsmann's experimenting is over.
Garza struggled with injuries at the end of the Mexican season at Tijuana -- he's since moved to Atlas -- while Shea's poor game against the Netherlands hurt his case, not to mention his return to
midfield at Orlando City.
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes, France), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad
Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt, Germany), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham, England), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City). Alternates:
Joe Corona (Veracruz/Mexico); Perry Kitchen (D.C. United); Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution). Alejandro Bedoya
and Graham Zusi
, who both started on the wings at the 2014 World Cup, return for the Gold Cup after injuries kept them out of the
national team picture earlier in the year. Since then, Gyasi Zardes
has emerged as a Klinsmann favorite, capable of playing up front or on the wings, like he
does for the LA Galaxy. DeAndre Yedlin
, who excellent off the bench in both Amsterdam and Cologne, will likely be Klinsmann's supersub at the Gold Cup, like he
was at the 2014 World Cup. The Gold Cup will also be an encore for the Kyle Beckerman-Michael Bradley
pairing, this time in the preferred diamond midfield. FORWARDS (4):
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose
Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution); Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy); Jordan Morris (Stanford
Neither Jozy Altidore
nor Clint Dempsey
traveled to Europe, but the USA still put six goals on the
board against a pair of superpowers. Chris Wondolowski
didn't travel to Europe, either, and his selection over the talismanic Jordan Morris
is something of a surprise.
Quarterfinal changes? Klinsmann can change up to six players for the quarterfinals, assuming the USA advances that far. Two years
ago, Matt Besler
was brought in for the knockout stage and started all three matches as the USA won its fifth regional championship. Besler could replace Tim Ream
. One cannot rule out Morris' return for the quarterfinals.