Future Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan was called up to the U.S. national team for its upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama. In a bit of a surprise, current Atlanta United left back Greg Garza did not get the call. Instead, manager Bruce Arena will be going with DaMarcus Beasley and Jorge Villfaña at left back and playing Fabian Johnson in midfield. Tim Ream could also get some time there as well.
ESPN’s Julie Stewart-Banks tweeted this yesterday after the announcement:
Ahead of ATL game, Bruce Arena told me Greg Garza needs to keep getting games, improve his positioning on and off the ball. #USMNT— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) March 15, 2017
Garza was part of the January camp for the USMNT, played throughout the Atlanta United preseason, and has went 90 minutes in both regular season games so far. This is coming after a spell recently at Tijuana where Garza was struggling to get games after his return from injury.
His role in Tata Martino’s system is different than the role Bruce Arena would ask him to play. Martino wants Garza to bomb forward consistently and to get heavily involved in the attack. His diagonal run to the near post opened up space for Yamil Asad’s goal in the opener against New York. In preseason, his recovery runs and positional awareness did ring some alarm bells, but that seems to have improved in the regular season.
Even though he is not part of this squad, it sounds like Greg Garza is still in the mix for the USMNT going forward. Playing consistently with Atlanta will go a long way to earning him playing time for the national team.
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