Matt Miazga went the full 90 minutes today for Vitesse F.C. in the Dutch Cup final. They beat AZ Alkmaar, 2-0, for their first ever trophy won as a club. That is good news for the USMNT prospect who is currently on loan from parent club Chelsea. Miazga has appeared in 21 of the 32 matches for Vitesse this year and that consistent playing time abroad should catch the eye of Bruce Arena.
With injuries currently plaguing the USMNT senior team regulars, John Brooks being the latest victim. One has to wonder if Brooks isn't fit in time for the June World Cup qualifiers, would Miazga be called into the squad?
Don't count on it. Why you ask? Because Miazga doesn’t seem to be very high on Bruce Arena’s depth chart. With other potential replacements ahead of him, he’s likely to not be the first on the emergency call list if Brooks can’t play in these two important matches.
However, in this summer’s Gold Cup however I fully expect Miazga to be a huge part of the team. I expect him to start at least 2 of the 3 group games, as I believe Arena will take this opportunity to start some of the younger players to get them experience in a senior team tournament. As well as to find some contributors for the distant and near future as a few spots are still up for grabs.
So, if Miazga doesn't replace a possibly injured John Brooks who does? I imagine Omar Gonzalez steps straight into the starting role alongside Geoff Cameron. Bruce Arena likes to play his guys, and Gonzalez is one of his guys. They know each other well from their L.A. Galaxy days. Arena trusts him and for two games of this importance it is reasonable to expect him to start players he knows.
Two other choices I can see being in the running to fill in for Brooks are Matt Besler and Tim Ream, both guys have been around the block. Besler has been one of the best defenders in MLS for years now, and his 39 caps help pad the resume as well. Bottom line is, Besler is solid and extremely reliable. He doesn't do anything fancy but he gets the job done. He is also able to play with his weaker left foot better than most, making him a perfect fit for the left side of central defense. In fact, Besler would be my first choice to fill in for Brooks.
Tim Ream, not exactly top of my list but Arena called him and started him for a game in the last round of qualifiers. I fully expect history to repeat itself with Ream getting the call-up and possibly getting the start. Ream has 23 caps so the experience is there, but not many of those have been in such high pressure situations.
So, after a bit a detour we arrive back at the main point. If you’re a USMNT fan and you’re dying to see what Miazga can do. Tune into the Gold Cup this summer as you can expect him to play a significant role. And while it will be good to see him perform well and establish himself for the future.