USMNT continues to integrate new faces ahead of Panama match

Gyasi Zardes  is looking to make an impression on Jurgen Klinsmann

Gyasi Zardes is looking to make an impression on Jurgen Klinsmann

By Ivan Yeo

As they practiced inside the StubHub Center on Friday, the narrative surrounding United States National Team continues to be the same even as they warm up for their final match before the next round of international dates.

That narrative is integrating new players into the team setup as well as trying current players in different roles. We already know what Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore will bring to the table when the U.S. faces Panama at the Home Depot Center on Sunday afternoon.

But as is the case with every January camp, the narrative surrounding it are the new faces that are in camp and what do they bring to the table. Gyasi Zardes could be the next emerging striker and maybe a partner to Altidore, or it could be Wil Trapp adding an element and some depth to the midfield, or it could be Shane O’Neill finding a place on the backline for the US.

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had the highest priase for Zardes, and how could he not after what he accomplished in 2014, where he emerged as one of the top strikers in MLS with 16 goals as well as a goal for the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup final. Zardes’ quick emergence after a disappointing 2013 campaign certainly caught Klinsmann’s attention in terms if how he was able to put it all together so quickly.

“He confirmed what we already saw the whole season,” Klinsmann said. “He’s a very talented forward, and now knowing him a bit more on the personal side, he’s very teachable, he’s listening, he’s eager to improve and he wants to do extra shifts every day.”

Then there’s Wil Trapp. The midfielder emerged from Columbus Crew SC’s academy in 2012, but it wasn’t until late last season that Trapp started to find himself. Aside from scoring his first career goal, Trapp had a performance against the New York Red Bulls that led Thierry Henry to say that Trapp “owned the show.”

“Wil Trapp was outstanding today,” Henry said after the October 20 match, which Columbus won 3-1. “I know [Federico] Higuain usually gets all the [credit], and their striker [Aaron Schoenfeld] will get credit because he scored two goals. But Wil Trapp was the key.”

Klinsmann offered a unique take on Trapp’s abilities.

“He’s a sponge,” Klinsmann said. “He’s a proactive sponge. he speaks up, he’s not shy and he’s confident in himself.”

Surely you can expect to see more of Zardes and Trapp showcase more of their abilities on Sunday afternoon in what is expected to be another tough matchup against an emerging Panama squad.


About Author

Comments are closed.