72513_goodsonclarence_isi_usmntmj070513342 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
Surprise surprise

Clarence Goodson: Center Back with Knack for Attack

He’s not one of the United States’ marquee attackers, but Clarence Goodson is lending a hand with the team’s scoring efforts during the Gold Cup. The man in the middle isn't surprised.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
July 25, 2013
10:30 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas—Clarence Goodson doesn’t see the fuss.

Sure, he’s a center back, but why wouldn’t he help out with the attack?

“I think I’ve always been pretty dangerous for the national team,” he said after two key passes led to goals for the U.S. in a 3-1 win against Honduras. “Whatever team I’ve played on, I’ve been able to get some goals. I don’t think that it’s anything new really, I just think that we’re all in good form at the moment, myself included.”

His defensive form is solid, and he’s been a fringe A-team member for years. It’s his attack that has blossomed in the Gold Cup. Goodson scored the first goal in the quarterfinal against El Salvador and also tallied in the build-up match against Guatemala.

He's helping others find the back of the net as well. The defender spotted a couple of passes Wednesday night but heaped credit for his helpful setup play onto the attackers who finished the job. “If they make a good run, I’ll do my best to put the ball in a good spot, and I think that today, throughout the whole tournament guys have been making excellent runs,” Goodson said. “We have very good offensive players. Full credit to them for their movement off the ball, and we were able to score some good goals.”

Jurgen Klinsmann has relied on Goodson in some tough situations, including the home World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in Denver. But when given the chance to rotate players before the knockout rounds started, the manager brought in the center back pairing of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez. Besler slotted into the lineup immediately while Gonzalez stayed behind with the Los Angeles Galaxy and joined the team in Texas.

Despite the new additions, Goodson wasn’t surprised to be in the starting XI against Honduras. “I had no reason to think I wouldn’t. I’d played well to that point throughout the entire competition,” he said.

Additionally, Goodson said, Klinsmann has earned the right to make tough roster decisions with his successful recent track record.

“We leave that down to Jurgen, and he makes obviously the right decisions,” Goodson said. “You can see all the people that have played are able to come in and have done an excellent job. So no matter what the starting eleven has been, it’s been fantastic for us.”

Like the tango, center back pairings only take two, but Goodson is persistent in asking to cut in. Keep it up and he’ll need to learn to samba too, with a trip to Brazil surely imminent.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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