MLS In Focus: LA Galaxy forward and potential USMNT striker Alan Gordon

Image, LAGalaxy.com

by RYAN BRISTER
MLS Writer

U.S. Soccer released the provisional roster for this summer’s Gold Cup on Wednesday. There are 35 players on the provisional roster, and they will have to be cut to 23 by July 27th.

There were a couple surprises on the list, including DaMarcus Beasley, who previously announced his retirement from international soccer.

But even Beasley’s un-retirement doesn’t feel as out of place on the roster as Alan Gordon. Beasley, who is five months younger than Gordon, has a long history with the team and plays a position of relative need — left back.

Gordon has none of these working for him; he is one of many

MLS fans know what Alan Gordon brings to the table by now. After eight middling years in MLS, mostly with the LA Galaxy, Gordon burst out with 13 goals for San Jose in 2012. He and Chris Wondolowski were the Bash Brothers for the Supporters’ Shield-winning Earthquakes. At 6’3″, 190 lbs, Gordon provided much of the bash, proving to be a force for winning headers. His play earned him call-ups and a single appearance for the USMNT.

Gordon’s goals went as soon as they came. He hadn’t scored more than 5 goals in a season before 2012, and hasn’t since. But his career has underwent a renaissance since being traded back to the Galaxy last season. He scored five times for LA last fall, and has four goals already in 2015.

Gordo

To Gordon’s credit, his goals have been important, timely ones. Twice this year, he has scored in second-half stoppage time. Against Houston, he won the game for the Galaxy; he brought them back to a draw in Portland.

Gordo2

There is nothing subtle or complicated about Gordon’s game. He wins headers because of his size, and he often turns those headers into goals. This is simple, but simple often works. Simple has turned Gordon, at age 33, into a super sub for the defending MLS Cup champs.

It might just bring him back into the national team picture in time for the Gold Cup.


There are two sides to the Alan Gordon coin, should he make it into the Gold Cup roster (which is far from a given). You could point out that Klinsmann was criticized last summer because his World Cup squad lacked a suitable replacement for Jozy Altidore, who missed most of the tournament with injury. Gordon certainly fits the mold of a target forward with size and strength that the USMNT could have used. His ability to come up with goals from set pieces could prove useful if the U.S. needs a goal down late against, say, Mexico.

The argument against Alan Gordon on the Gold Cup squad goes something like this. Alan Gordon is probably not one of the 23 best American soccer players at this moment in time. When a player like Benny Feilhaber isn’t on the 35-man roster, it’s jarring to then see Alan Gordon’s name. While he possesses a useful skill, it is limiting to have on your squad a player who is fairly one-dimensional. And while the Gold Cup is valuable in its own right, it can also provide useful experience for younger players. 22-year old Bobby Wood, for example, isn’t on the 35-man roster despite two goals in this week’s friendlies.

I, personally, do not want to see Alan Gordon at the Gold Cup, for all the reasons listed above. Jurgen Klinsmann has earned the benefit of the doubt by now, but this is one of his more puzzling decisions.