Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't publically named his final squad for the 2013 Gold Cup, but Tigres has announced that Jose Francisco Torres will be part of it. The club tweeted that the midfielder had been named to the United States team for the tournament, which starts July 7 and begins for the Americans on July 9 when they play Belize in their group stage opener.
"Gringo" has had his struggles at the international level, playing horribly when given his first major chance against Costa Rica in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and disappointing again in South Africa, where he was overwhelmed by Slovenia when handed a start in the Americans' second group stage match. Torres was substituted at halftime in both contests and while Klinsmann has given him more chances since taking over, he has not played for the U.S. since an invisible showing in the a win over Jamaica last September.
The hope is that this time Torres can carry over his club form to the U.S. He is coming off of a fantastic season for Tigres, where he was a regular starter and played the best soccer of his life. Whereas he has always been a capable, if conservative, passer, but would struggle to put his stamp on a match and fade away, Torres was consistently influential last season. He was more aggressive in his passing and more confident in his tackling too, making him less of a liability defensively.
Klinsmann has emphasized a possession-oriented, proactive style of play that Torres fits well into. He is better technically than any midfielder the U.S. has and while diminutive, he showed last season that he can apply the type of defensive pressure that Klinsmann wants from his midfielders.
The problem for Torres has always been carrying his club form over to the international level and showing the skills that he has shown before in Liga MX against the faster, more physical teams the U.S. plays. The Gold Cup will be his latest chance to show he can make the jump from club to country and after his outstanding season at Tigres, it appears to be his best one yet.