With veterans Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra, two centrepieces of the U.S. defense
for a long time, both out, and with Clarence Goodson off with a strained hamstring, Jurgen Klinsmann, using his different 25th lineup in 25 matches as U.S. coach, gambled by starting Matt Besler, who had played only one game for the USMNT, pairing him with Omar Gonzalez. The move paid off. They proved criticism before the game about how they were too young were wrong. Both got tested and was connected and committed.
And Klinsmann echoed that "The guys were outstanding," Klinsmann said. "Our back line, you know, many said they were inexperienced. They deserve a huge compliment..." Besler and Omar Gonzalez -- two Major League Soccer defenders of the year -- are Major League Soccer’s products, with Besler playing with Sporting Kansas City and Gonzalez with Los Angeles Galaxy. They anchored a back line that suffered on the flanks, with DaMarcus Beasley that struggled at left back while Graham Zusi and Herculez Gomez often tracked back to became fifth defenders. It’s far from say that they could handle anything next future or that U.S. back line solved its lacks but their defensive effort earned them a high grade. Besler and Gonzalez helped keeper Brad Guzan to secure his second clean sheet in two games and spurned Mexican trio of Javier Hernandez, Javier Aquino and Jesus Zavala. In the right place at the right time, Gonzalez did his job in the middle of the U.S. defensive package, cleaning the box both in the air and on the ground and leading an organized team from the back. He performed well covering his zone in tandem with Besler in the first serious game of his young USMNT career. Besler looked comfortable stepping in after Goodson went out wih his injury and built off a great display in the shutout. He was able to read the game, defending like a veteran. He stayed active despite an early yellow card for a tactical foul on Giovanni Dos Santos and despite the task to deal with Hernández and provided a pivotal block on a Carlos Salcido shot in the 69th minute. Besler and Gonzalez showed U.S. have depth behind Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, and Goodson.