US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has never been afraid to make big decisions.
On Tuesday, he made three.
Klinsmann made three changes to the USMNT’s 23-man Gold Cup roster ahead of Saturday’s quarterfinal in Baltimore, bringing in Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley, LA Galaxy forward Alan Gordon and Club Tijuana midfielder Joe Corona for Greg Garza, Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore and Alfredo Morales, respectively.
All eight countries that qualify for the Gold Cup knockout rounds are allowed to make roster changes in the 24 hours after the conclusion of group play, with managers able to replace up to six players from their 23-man group stage roster with players from their initial 35-man preliminary roster.
The US concluded group play on Monday night, drawing Panama 1-1 at Sporting Park after clinching first-place in Group A last week. The Americans will play the third-place finisher from either Group B or Group C in the quarterfinals in Baltimore on Saturday (5 pm ET, FOX and Univision in the US, Sportsnet World in Canada).
The decision to drop Altidore for Gordon was the most noteworthy move, with the internationally inexperienced Galaxy striker coming in for the US’s fifth all-time leading scorer. Altidore started the first two group games for the US, playing 59 minutes in the opener against Honduras and getting removed at halftime of the win against Haiti. He did not feature in the game against Panama on Monday.
Garza and Morales each made one appearance, with Garza starting and playing the first 67 minutes against Haiti last Friday and Morales playing the first half on Monday night.
The captain of the US’s 2013 Gold Cup winning squad, Beasley joins the group as the most experienced international on the roster, having earned 121 caps and played in four World Cups for the US. This is his first call-up to the national team since announcing his international retirement – which he has since returned from – late last year. Beasley was named to the AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan XI on Monday.
Like Beasley, Gordon and Corona were both a part of the US team that won the 2013 Gold Cup, with Corona scoring a pair of goals in the tournament to help the Americans to the title.