Gold Cup: Tim Ream enjoys "calm, controlled" defensive outing in long-awaited USMNT return

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When Jurgen Klinsmann decided to completely overhaul the US national team's defensive unit from the first game of the Gold Cup to the second, Tim Ream's name appeared in the starting lineup for the first time since the 2011 tournament.

“It’s been a while,” said Ream after Friday's 1-0 win over Haiti. “It’s been a long four years with the move over to Bolton. It’s all kind of come full circle now for me. I’m enjoying playing, I’m enjoying being with this group and enjoy being at the Gold Cup again.”

Following a two-year absence from the USMNT, Ream returned to the fold last year, having bolstered his own resume by carving out a name in England after two seasons with the New York Red Bulls.

In his last two seasons with Bolton, he has averaged 43 games on their back line and was named the Wanderers' Player of the Year in both of those campaigns.

“You grow as a player,” said Ream. “I was young, in the middle of my second year in MLS. I’ve grown leaps and bounds. The way I play, the way I position, just everything about my game is matured, especially with moving over and being challenged right away in England.”

Ream & Co. were also challenged heavily in Friday’s match. But despite bending, they did not break under Haiti’s relentless early pressure.

“I think it took a little bit of time for Tim to get into that game,” said Klinsmann. “Then, in the second half he was calm, he was controlled and played a good game. It was difficult for him the first 20-25 minutes because they were all over the place. It was tough on our back line.”

Getting more comfortable as the game wore on, Ream helped his side preserve their one-goal lead and post the shutout as he put in a full 90 minutes for the first time in months.

“I was joking with a few guys in there that it’s been about nine weeks since I played 90 minutes,” he said. “First of all, to get the start was great for me. Coming on the last couple of games in substitute appearances is nice, but to start a game and to be in it from minute one is always good for a player, especially myself. To be out there starting, getting the win and getting the shutout is a great feeling.”