To date, the USA has gotten very little out of its outside
backs and wingers. Fabian Johnson was the best U.S. weapon at the 2014 World Cup but he's been largely invisible on the offensive end at left back. In another
way, the Cuba game will be key to getting Kyle Beckerman going. So many of the best U.S. matches have come when Beckerman pulled the strings -- creating
Klinsmann's "passing flow" -- from his holding midfield position. In his two starts at the Gold Cup, Beckerman has been very quiet.
3. What role for DaMarcus Beasley?
Two years ago, Klinsmann made three changes between the group stage and quarterfinals. Matt Besler started all three games en route to the title, Eddie Johnson came on in the second half against El Salvador and had a huge tournament, while Gonzalez played just a few minutes in the final to help protect a 1-0 lead against Panama.
Of the three players Klinsmann has brought in for the quarterfinals -- DaMarcus Beasley, Joe Corona and Alan Gordon -- Beasley is the most intriguing addition. Beasley, who started at left back for the USA at the 2014 World Cup, had announced his international retirement at the end of last year, but he's a Klinsmann favorite and was convinced to come out of retirement. "Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge," said Klinsmann, "because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings."
The latter point is key. Klinsmann likely didn't bring him in to be a cheerleader. He said Beasley "gives us a couple of different options on how to put pieces together." Those options might include inserting Beasley at left back and moving Johnson over to right back, where he excelled at the World Cup. Timmy Chandler's two starts at right back have been very poor.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Leon, Mexico).
DEFENDERS (7): Ventura Alvarado (Club America, Mexico), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), 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).
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes, France), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jor Corona (Veracruz, Mexico), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham, England), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC).
FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ, Netherlands), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Sandy Sanchez (Las Tunas), 21-Diosvelis Guerra (Artemisa)
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Andy Vaquero (La Habana), 3-Yenier Marquez (Villa Clara), 4-Angel Horta (Camaguey), 5-Jorge Luis Clavelo (Villa Clara), 6 -Yaisnier Napoles (Camaguey), 13-Jorge Luis Corrales (Pinar del Rio), 15-Adrian Diz (La Habana), 16-Hanier Dranguet (Guantanamo), 19-Yasmany Lopez (Ciego de Avila)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Alberto Gomez (Guantanamo), 10-Ariel Martinez (Sancti Spiritus), 17-Dairon Perez (Camaguey), 18-Daniel Luis (La Habana), 22-Alain Cervantes (Ciego de Avila), 23-Felix Guerra (Granma)
FORWARDS (2): 9-Maikel Reyes (Pinar del Rio), 20-Armando Coroneaux (Camaguey).