We now know that Gregg Berhalter will be picking his 23-man Gold Cup squad from a 40-man list, one revealed by Concacaf on Monday. Here's who we see making the final cut prior to next month's competition.
Gregg Berhalter's player pool for the USA's potential Gold Cup roster has been whittled down to 40.
Concacaf released every nation's preliminary squad on Monday, from which the 23-man teams will be chosen for this summer's competition. They reveal a window into each manager's big-picture view of his players, while also taking into account untimely injuries and personal situations that have derailed some players' chances at performing on the regional stage.
Unlike in past editions, once the Gold Cup roster is set, that's it. There are no line-change-like substitutions between the group stage and knockout stage. Players will be committed from start to finish, so each manager's flexibility isn't what it once was.
With all of that said, here's what we now know about the USA's Gold Cup squad and how we think it'll be reduced after a training camp leading into the competition and the official roster deadline:
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Sean Johnson (NYCFC), Tyler Miller (LAFC), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
Steffen, provided he's healthy, will be the USA's starter–and that can only help his UK work permit case ahead of his move to Man City–but this five-man shortlist is quite telling when it comes to Berhalter's thinking. It shows that hasn't fully turned the page on the 34-year-old Guzan, and that D.C. United's Bill Hamid apparently isn't close to the top of the depth chart. There's also an omission of Jesse Gonzalez, FC Dallas's 23-year-old backstop who probably figured he'd be in the mix to start by now after completing the FIFA switch to the USA from Mexico two summers ago. That, evidently, couldn't be further from the case.
Projected to make Gold Cup cut: Steffen, Horvath, Johnson
Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham), Marlon Fossey (Fulham), Greg Garza (FC Cincinnati), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas), Andrew Gutman (Charlotte Independence), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Tim Ream (Fulham), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
Adams listed as a defender means he'll man the right back spot in Berhalter's tactical set-up, which was the plan all along. But that's even more crucial given that DeAndre Yedlin is nowhere to be found on this preliminary list. The Newcastle fullback was expectedly omitted after undergoing surgery for a groin injury at the end of the season, and he won't be ready in time. That's a boost for Lima and Cannon, two right backs eager to work their way onto the squad.
In the center, there's no John Brooks, another injury casualty at the end of the club season. Long is nursing a fresh hamstring injury, which puts his participation in jeopardy as well. The two of them could have been Berhalter's starting tandem this summer. Instead, that door is wide open for Miazga and Gonzalez.
Left back remains a wide-open competition, and with Garza going down over the weekend with another injury, uninspiring choices like Ream and Lovitz stand out as potential starters–though the forward-pushing Antonee Robinson could have a say about that despite his struggles against top opponents in previous friendlies under Dave Sarachan. Ream's versatility–the ability to play in the center and out wide–should guarantee his place on the squad.
Projected to make Gold Cup cut: Adams, Gonzalez, Lima, Long, Lovitz, Miazga, Ream, Zimmerman
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From New York to Leipzig, Jesse Marsch and Tyler Adams' journeys to Germany have been linked.
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Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
There are not a ton of surprises among this batch, with McKennie, Pulisic, Bradley, Lletget, Roldan and Trapp all fortifying their places under Berhalter with their performances since he took charge. Just how many midfielders Berhalter elects to take is the real question. The versatile Adams can always slide into one of the central positions, meaning the manager could look to build the depth on his squad elsewhere. That could wind up being bad news for guys third or fourth on the depth chart, such as Nagbe and Mihailovic, or players who have yet to feature under Berhalter, like Holmes.
Projected to make Gold Cup cut: Bradley, Lletget, McKennie, Pulisic, Roldan, Trapp
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Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jonatham Amon (Nordsjaelland), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake), Tyler Boyd (MKE Ankaragucu), Joe Gyau (Duisburg), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Ramirez (LAFC), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)
That Bobby Wood no longer cracks the USA's top 11 forwards confirms the extent of his fall, and that Andrija Novakovich isn't included, either, shows that the 22-year-old Netherlands-based forward has more work to do to get back into the picture despite a nine-goal season in the Eredivisie. Andrew Wooten, who had a superb season in Germany's second tier with 17 goals, also is not close to the first team.
As for those who are, Altidore just returned from his latest hamstring injury, meaning he should be in good shape to go this summer. The same might not be able to be said for Morris, who was recently hurt vs. Orlando City. His hamstring strain is said to not be serious, but time will tell whether he's competition-ready.
That U.S. Soccer went to the extent of securing Boyd's one-time switch from New Zealand ahead of this competition is an indicator he's firmly in Berhalter's plans, but it would be a big wild card to throw an uncapped player into the Gold Cup mix. Berhalter will surely get the chance to assess him when camp starts and then make up his mind whether it's worth taking that risk before the final roster deadline or going with a player who has already proven his worth as a valuable substitute on the wing like Lewis.
Sargent's inclusion was not a surprise after Tab Ramos revealed that's why he was left out of the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster. As for Gyau, it's incredible to see him included in this group at all. Still just 26, the speedy winger has had his career derailed by injuries, but it's clear that Berhalter & Co. are still closely watching his progress.
Projected to make Gold Cup cut: Altidore, Arriola, Lewis, Ramirez, Sargent, Zardes