USMNT Watch: Omar Gonzalez Impresses in Pachuca Debut

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2016

Jul 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; MLS All Stars midfielder Kaka (22) of Orlando City SC and defender Omar Gonzalez (4) of the LA Galaxy high-five during the first half of the 2015 MLS All Star Game against the Tottenham Hotspur at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Omar Gonzalez didn't have to wait long to impress the fans of his new club, the United States men's national team center-back impressing on his debut for Pachuca on Friday night. 

The performance from the former LA Galaxy man helped kick off a solid weekend in Liga MX for the USMNT contingent south of the border. 

Over in Europe, the group of USMNT-eligible players who play in England participated in the third round of the FA Cup. 

Back home in the United States, manager Jurgen Klinsmann solidified his roster for the January camp while a rising star earned some valuable hardware.

Below in our weekly USMNT Watch is a recap of all the news surrounding USMNT-eligible players from the last week.


Gonzalez Earns Assist in Pachuca Debut

Gonzalez used his aerial ability to his advantage on Friday night as he assisted on Pachuca's lone goal, which was scored by Franco Jara in the 43rd minute. 

The USMNT center-back went on to impress at the back for Tuzos in their 1-1 draw with Club Tijuana. If he strings together a good amount of consistent performances in Mexico, Gonzalez could be on the USMNT roster for the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala in March.

Jul 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; United States defender Omar Gonzalez (3) during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup group play game against Haiti at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge Villafana, who moved from the Portland Timbers to Santos Laguna after winning MLS Cup in December, started and played 90 minutes in Santos' 2-0 loss to Club Leon. William Yarbrough kept a clean sheet for Leon, while Miguel Ibarra did not feature off the bench. 

After failing to earn any playing time at the back end of 2015, Ventura Alvarado started for Club America in their 0-0 draw with Puebla. Alvarado played at right-back because of injuries in the squad. 

Jonathan Bornstein started for Queretaro on Friday, and Edgar Castillo was in the starting lineup for Monterrey on Saturday. 


Yedlin Has Shaky Game, Cropper Helps MK Dons Earn FA Cup Replay

DeAndre Yedlin was the only USMNT regular in the starting lineup for a Premier League side on Saturday in the FA Cup. The Tottenham Hotspur loanee played 90 minutes at right-back in Sunderland's 3-1 defeat to Arsenal. Yedlin was strong on a few occasions, but he also displayed some deficiencies throughout his time on the pitch.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal is challenged by DeAndre Yedlin of Sunderland in the penalty area during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on January 9, 2016 in London, Englan
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Cody Cropper earned a start in net for MK Dons in their road draw with Northampton Town. The young netminder made four saves in the 2-2 draw. The two sides will meet at Stadium MK on January 19 in the replay.

Jonathan Spector started at center-back once again for Birmingham City in their 2-1 defeat at home to Bournemouth

Danny Williams played the full 90 minutes for Reading in their 2-2 draw on the road with Huddersfield Town. The two sides will meet at the Madejski Stadium on January 19 to determine who advances to the fourth round. 

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:  Jason Davidson of Huddersfield Town looks to get past Chris Gunter and Danny Williams of Reading during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round between Huddersfield Town and Reading at John Smiths Stadium on January 9, 2016 in
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Tim Ream and Eric Lichaj both made appearances off the bench for their respective sides. Ream's Fulham fell to Sheffield Wednesday, while Lichaj and Nottingham Forest advanced by way of a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers

Tim Howard and Brad Guzan were left on the bench for their respective matches on Saturday. Everton are through the fourth round and Aston Villa earned a replay with Wycombe Wanderers on January 19. 


Klinsmann Adds 4 Players to January Camp 

U.S. Soccer announced on Friday that four players were added to the roster for the annual January camp. Goalkeeper David Bingham, defenders Brandon Vincent and Steve Birnbaum and midfielder Perry Kitchen received a call from Klinsmann to join the group in California. The San Jose Earthquakes pair of Fatai Alashe and Marc Pelosi withdrew through injury.

Bingham impressed in his first full season as San Jose's starting goalkeeper. He earned the January camp nod after Jesse Gonzalez turned down his USMNT call-up at the last minute to remain with Mexico's U23 squad.

September 16, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham (1) passes the football against the Montreal Impact during the second half at Avaya Stadium. The Impact tied the Earthquakes 1-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent joins Stanford University teammate Jordan Morris on the roster. Vincent is expected to be a top-three pick in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft. Birnbaum and Kitchen had solid seasons with D.C. United. Birnbaum earned a start against Chile in 2015 after a nice January camp. 

Of the four additions, Vincent may have the best chance to earn playing time since the depth at full-back is scarce at the moment. Vincent and Eric Miller are the only two true full-backs on the January camp roster. Matt Polster and Kellyn Acosta could play there if need be, but both are defensive midfielders by trade.


Morris Wins Hermann Trophy

Morris took home college soccer's top honor on Friday as he won the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is the soccer equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. 

Dec 13, 2015; Kansas City, KS, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Jordan Morris (13) scores the first goal in the NCAA College Cup Championship game between Stanford and Clemson at Sporting Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports
Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

The 21-year-old scored 11 goals for Stanford and helped the Cardinal win the National Championship. Morris was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year, and he was a first-team All-American. 

Earlier in the week, Stanford announced Morris was turning pro. While many think the Seattle Sounders are in the lead to sign the USMNT star, he is set to spend time in Germany training with Werder Bremen, per Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated. 


Joe Tansey covers U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90


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