US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in four MLS-based reinforcements for the Gold Cup knockout stages, but the biggest of the bunch won't be available to him in Baltimore this weekend.
While Matt Besler, Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson are en route to Baltimore to join the USMNT ahead of their quarterfinal against El Salvador at MM&T Bank Stadium on Sunday (4 pm ET | FOX, Univision), Omar Gonzalez will stay in Southern California to anchor the LA Galaxy's backline against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
Gonzalez will join the national team for the semifinals in his hometown of Dallas should the US advance past El Salvador, according to U.S. Soccer.
The identities of the USA's quartet of reinforcements were released Wednesday night around the 10 pm ET deadline imposed on all eight quarterfinal teams by CONCACAF, but the Gonzalez wrinkle was not revealed until Thursday morning.
According to U.S. Soccer, these call-ins were laid out months in advance – dating back to before the USMNT's matches in May and June – with clear communication to the clubs in question.
“Coach Klinsmann spoke with each of the four coaches before making his roster changes,” USMNT press officer Michael Kammarman told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “This was discussed well in advance and all conversations were positive.”
Gonzalez and Besler forged a sturdy partnership at the heart of the USMNT defense during the squad's daunting sequence of World Cup qualifiers in March, and it was widely assumed that Klinsmann planned to pair them together in the final stages of his team's Gold Cup run.
But that possibility will be deferred at least one game, with Besler now added to a center-back mix that includes Clarence Goodson – man of the match in Tuesday's Group C-clinching win over Costa Rica – and Michael Orozco Fiscal. Michael Parkhurst has experience in central defense but is seen primarily as a right back option by Klinsmann.