The call-ups are done, and the rosters are known. Every team participating in this year’s Gold Cup has unveiled their rosters, and as expected the U.S. and Mexico look the strongest but other teams look to have the talent to challenge the top two. After a day reading some quality analysis and thinking about the selections, there can be some definitive statements made about who are the big winners and losers in this round of international call-ups.
Players have been advised that they will miss about a month of action and any time this many players miss that much time, there is a definitive impact on league quality and play. More specifically, though, some teams will benefit from the call-ups while some will face some tough challenges.
Here are our list of call-up winners and losers. Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments section:
- MLS – The league saw a record 32 players selected for international duty this cycle, with seven being chosen for the U.S. The league is strengthening its claim that it is showcasing world class talent, and that talent is spread throughout the league with all but three teams losing a player to international duty.
- DC United – Charlie Davies not being called up to the U.S. team is excellent for the Black-and-Red, especially if Bob Bradley insinuated he would still be on his radar. DC retains its top offensive threat during a schedule stretch that is tough but, if they can grab some points, sets them up nicely for a playoff run. In the past, DCU talent like Harkes and Olsen were US stars; now the team loses only Dejan Jakovic to Team Canada (and keeps Andy Najar). This will allow them to continue building cohesiveness in the Olsen system and have their best players available for a tough month.
- Team Jamaica – Don’t look now, but the Jamaicans are actually a pretty good team. Imagine a starting XI that includes Donovan Ricketts, Tyrone Marshall, Shavar Thomas, Dane Richards, and Omar Cummings. Maybe they are not the favorites in this tournament, but I wouldn’t take them lightly.
- Teal Bunbury – It’s odd that someone who was left home would be a winner, but I think Bradley had a plan for Bunbury that included his exclusion. Sporting KC is losing four players, is finishing a brutal road trip, and has to open a new stadium all while trying to generate a buzz among the fans. Sporting KC is now Bunbury’s team – he will be there for the stadium’s first kick, he is the most recognizable face for the next month, and he is becoming the de facto face of the franchise. I think Bradley knows this will happen and I think he wants it to happen.
- Seattle, Chivas USA, Dallas – These are the three MLS clubs that did not have anyone called up. Two of them (Seattle and Dallas) are riding hot streaks and making a playoff push, while Chivas has played well save a poor result in the SuperClasico. I’m curious to see if these clubs can take advantage of their opponents’ absences and continue to push up the table.
- MLS – It will be tough over the next month as some of the league’s brightest stars won’t be playing. Fans hoping to see Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski when LA and San Jose face off will be disappointed. True, players like Beckham and Henry will provide some star power, but those New England games are about to be a lot less interesting.
- San Jose – As Chris Wondolowski goes, this team goes. No Chris Wondolowski is a major problem for the ‘Quakes. Their three mid-June matches are at DC, at Kansas City, and hosting LA, matches that could go either way. They are hoping Wondo isn’t the key to those matches.
- New York – The team with the most players called-up has to be considered one of the losers. In all, New York loses five players to international duty: Rafa Marquez (Mexico), Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream (USA), Dane Richards (Jamaica), and Dwayne De Rosario (Canada). While this does not necessarily decimate the team – after all they still have Henry, Rodgers, etc. – it does subtract depth from a team that already had depth issues.
- Colorado – The biggest loss for the Rapids is that they are about to get a healthy Omar Cummings back, but instead he will be trying to begin playing again with Jamaica. For a team that has desperately needed a healthy offense, this was a big (though not unexpected) blow.
- MLS Players Not Called Up – The “Camp Cupcake” MLS players who did not receive a second call up may be on the outside looking in. Players like Jeff Larentowicz, Zach Lloyd and Sean Franklin have to wonder if they will get a second chance at wearing the U.S. shirt.