HOUSTON -- On a night when play was cautious and few chances were taken, Josh Gatt was easy to spot. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
After coming on at the halftime break the Molde winger made one long run after another, doing what he could to pull apart a Canadian defense that was well organized and content to settle for a draw. The final product came up short on a couple of occasions, and in several moments releasing the ball would have been prudent, but the spark he brought to a team that was sorely in need of it shone.
Though Gatt is by no means a mainstay on the full U.S. national team at the moment, it's easy to imagine him reprising his role from Tuesday night in the near future - coming off the bench in meaningful games against other CONCACAF teams that will be equally content to sit back and defend.
Back healthy after suffering through hamstring injuries at the end of last season, the 21-year-old says he's ready and willing to take on whatever is asked of him.
"I always do what’s asked of me with my team, whether it’s coming off the bench as a sub or to start the game and try to play as many minutes as I can," Gatt said after the match. "Whatever my team asks me I’m happy to do and I want to do and I want to be the best at doing it. So if my role is to come off the bench and provide a spark and bring some energy and some speed to the field, then that’s exactly what I'll do."
Speed and energy are two things the youngster seems to have in abundance, and his willingness to take on defenders at full gallop makes him a constant threat to opposing defenses. But, like most of the players involved for the United States against Canada, fitness could still be an issue with the start of the Hexagonal just around the corner.
Considering the injury problems he faced at the end of his last club season, those concerns will need to be weighed carefully by U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann and his staff, but Gatt feels he's back to his best.
"I've had a really good three weeks - no problems," he said. "I feel like I'm back to my old self when it comes to sprinting where I can run and cut and move as I used to before the injuries where I'm not too worried about it. I feel really fit and ready."
Klinsmann claimed that the performances against Canada wouldn't be decisive in his decisions on who would travel to Honduras next week, but Gatt certainly made a case for himself in the match. Whether that call comes or not is still up in the air, but either way the Michigan native says he's ready to keep the momentum going.
"If I'm called in to go to Honduras I feel ready to play but if not I'll be ready to go back to my club team and continue their preseason and continue some preseason matches and get my season going there as well."
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