Jozy Altidore out of U.S. Gold Cup squad as DaMarcus Beasley returns
U.S. striker Jozy Altidore will miss the rest of the Gold Cup after coach Jurgen Klinsmann made three changes to his squad ahead of the knockout round.
The U.S. added defender DaMarcus Beasley, midfielder Joe Corona and forward Alan Gordon to the team, replacing Altidore, Greg Garza and Alfredo Morales.
Beasley, 33, returns to the national team despite announcing his international retirement last year. He has continued playing in MLS with the Houston Dynamo.
Teams could make up to six changes to their 23-man squad before the knockout round, using players from their 35-player preliminary lists.
Altidore, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, did not play in Monday's 1-1 draw with Panama, when the U.S. already had their place secured as winners of Group A.
He sent a tweet wishing his teammates well as they try to win the CONCACAF tournament for the second straight time.
Altidore started the Americans' first two games last week but failed to find the net and was substituted in the second half of both wins. He also left his final game with Toronto FC before joining the U.S. in the 71st minute.
Klinsmann previously stood by his decision to name the 25-year-old to the squad but said the injury was too much for Altidore to overcome.
"We believe that Jozy's just not there yet. Jozy never really got into this tournament and never really picked up the rhythm," Klinsmann said in a statement.
"He's just simply not in the shape right now to help us. For Jozy it's just simply going back to Toronto, picking up his rhythm, getting in shape, working on his fitness and then he will start scoring goals again. That's why Alan Gordon was on the standby roster from the beginning and that's why we brought him in.
Gordon has scored four MLS goals this season for the LA Galaxy and also scored the winner against Club America in the International Champions Cup friendly on Saturday night.
"He's fully fit, he's so full of energy, he scores goals with the Galaxy, and he fits in right away," Klinsmann said of Gordon. "He's a pure giver to the group, and he might be a player that can make a difference at any second when you bring him in."
Beasley has 121 international caps for the U.S., the fifth-most all time and more than anyone else on the current squad.
"Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge, because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings," Klinsmann said. "He brings a lot of experience into this group, and he's hungry. He's still as hungry as day one in his career. That speaks for us having him back in the group and now it gives us a couple of different options on how to put pieces together. We're very happy to have Beas back."
Garza started at center-back in the second group-stage game against Haiti, a 1-0 win. His appearance was his first in an official international competition and ties the Mexican-American to the U.S. in the future.
"With Greg Garza it's tough. It hurts when you have to tell a player that they're not part of the final stage of the competition," Klinsmann said. "Hopefully he joins us in Philadelphia for the final to be with the group again. He's an emerging player.
"Greg Garza is there for the future. He's only getting better. He's done tremendously well these last two weeks, he knows that he has to grow more, get more experience and it's as simple as that. It's why we made the switch.
"It's really fun to work with Greg. He has a great character, a great attitude every day -- he gives you everything. For him it was another step in the right direction for the national team and he totally understands that we want to switch it for right now."
Morales, who was born in Germany to a Peruvian father, was also cap-tied to the U.S. when he started the draw against Panama.
Klinsmann said of Morales: "He's still in the process to become a part of our team in the fine tuning element. There are certain things that just don't click yet, and it'll just take a little bit of time. Right now in the tournament, we don't have that time."
Corona was a fixture in the 2013 Gold Cup, though he was left off the squad for the 2014 World Cup. He plays his club soccer in Mexico for Tijuana.
"With Joe we have that option to bring him in now," Klinsmann said. "He knows CONCACAF inside out. Joe Corona is very experienced in playing against the teams from the Caribbean and Central America.
"He's a player that can also help us, here and there, to hold the ball better, to take care of the ball. With his great technique, with his one-touch passing, he makes things very easy and simple. I think it's a great opportunity to have Joe back, even if it hurts a little bit for Alfredo, but that's just part of the game."