Jozy Altidore was dropped from the U.S. Gold Cup roster for the knockout rounds of the tournament, coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced Tuesday afternoon.
Klinsmann removed Altidore, Greg Garza and Alfredo Morales and replaced them with Alan Gordon, Joe Corona and four-time World Cup player DaMarcus Beasley.
Altidore, who grew up in Boca Raton, was coming off a hamstring injury when the tournament began and he struggled in the early rounds. He played only the first half in a 1-0 win over Haiti on Friday, and remained on the bench for a 1-1 tie with Panama on Monday.
“We believe that Jozy’s just not there yet,” Klinsmann said on ussoccer.com. “Jozy never really got into this tournament and never really picked up the rhythm. 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.
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“That’s why Alan Gordon was on the standby roster from the beginning and that’s why we brought him in. He’s fully fit, he’s so full of energy, he scores goals with the Galaxy, and he fits in right away. 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.”
Gordon, a forward with the Los Angeles Galaxy, played on the United States’ winning Gold Cup team in 2013.
Beasley, 33, had announced his retirement from the national team last winter, but Klinsmann persuaded him to make a comeback. He had been playing with the Houston Dynamo. Beasley has 121 appearances with the U.S. team and has played in six Gold Cups — 2002, ’03, ’05, ’07, ’13, ’15.
“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.”
Klinsmann said Garza has a bright future.
“He’s an emerging player,” the coach said. “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.”
The United States won the “Group of Death” with a 2-0-1 record after beating Honduras 2-1, Haiti 1-0 and tying Panama 1-1. The team plays in a quarterfinal Saturday in Baltimore.
“It was the most difficult group we received with Honduras, Panama and Haiti,” Klinsmann said. “With Haiti, a team that is very unpredictable, nobody really knew what the quality about that team is and now they are through. We might meet them in the semifinal again — it’s a team full of talent and good players. With Panama, they’re finalists in 2013, and Honduras is a team that went to Brazil for the World Cup — they’re another two strong teams. I said from the beginning that this will be very, very tough.”