There will be a strong Major League Soccer presence on the United States men’s national team Tuesday when it opens CONCACAF Gold Cup group play against Belize in Portland.
However, no Seattle Sounders will be on the roster for the game.
“(National team coach Jurgen Klinsmann) has been very cognizant about making sure that the MLS players don’t get burned out and used too much in this series of games,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “So he had pretty much made the commitment that if he used guys for the qualifying rounds, that he would use a different set of guys for the Gold Cup. And he’s honored that, not just with the Sounders but with (other MLS players). I think it’s a good way to be and allows him to look at other players.”
That’s why Sounders forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder/defender Brad Evans will be training in Tukwila on Tuesday after appearing regularly during the United States’ last run of World Cup qualifying games.
And while Evans understands Klinsmann’s decision, there’s still a part of him that wishes he could be on the pitch at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Jeld-Wen Field.
“Obviously, it would be great to be down there,” Evans said. “But
at the same time, this is my club team. … Right now, I want to be here. I want to be getting results with this team. The better you do with your club team, the more chance you’ve got of getting noticed with the national team.”
Evans and Johnson could still be called to Gold Cup duty if the U.S. advances to the knockout rounds.
Klinsmann will begin the competition with 11 current MLS players on his 23-man roster: goalkeepers Bill Hamid (D.C.), Sean Johnson (Chicago) and Nick Rimando (Salt Lake); defenders Corey Ashe (Houston), Tony Beltran (Salt Lake) and Clarence Goodson (San Jose); midfielder Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake); and forwards Will Bruin (Houston), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
The United States-Belize match will be part of a doubleheader that begins with Costa Rica meeting Cuba at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel.
On Thursday, the Gold Cup shifts to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where Panama (1-0) will meet Martinique (1-0) at 5:30 p.m., and Mexico (0-1) will face Canada (0-1) at 8 p.m.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is the championship tournament for national teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The tournament takes place every two years.
This year’s winner will meet the 2015 winner in a single-game playoff to represent the region in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
“That’s massive,” Evans said. “… You qualify for Confederations Cup, ultimately that’s one of the biggest stages. Everybody’s watching those games. You’ve got teams like Italy and Brazil playing. Anytime you’ve got a chance to play against the world’s best, that’s why you play the game.”
Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is expected to return to full training Tuesday and to be available Saturday when the Sounders visit the San Jose Earthquakes. … Schmid said defender DeAndre Yedlin also should be ready to return to the starting lineup Saturday. … Reserve goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and midfielder Andy Rose have hamstring issues that could cost them one or two weeks, Schmid said. … Midfielder Alex Caskey might undergo surgery for an ankle injury.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org/soccer