Bruce Arena will rotate his U.S. national team squad for their second group game at the 2017 Gold Cup.
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The USMNT face Martinique in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday and after a 1-1 draw with Panama to open up Gold Cup play last weekend, Arena will make wholesale changes to his starting lineup.
Arena confirmed he will “make several changes and get a look at some other players” for the clash where he hopes to first see a victory, but then an improved displayed from the disjointed performance against high-pressing Panama.
Speaking to the media ahead of the clash with Martinique, who sit atop Group B following a deserved 2-0 win against Nicaragua in their Gold Cup opener, Arena had the following to say via MLSsoccer.com.
“Obviously, we’re playing three games in a week with travel and difficult conditions and heat and humidity,” Arena said. “We also want to see some other players, which is a key focus of this roster and tournament. All of that plus what Martinique does will mean we’ll make some changes.”
This is what we all expected.
Arena is using the Gold Cup to run the rule over plenty of his younger players and fringe squad members ahead of the key World Cup qualifiers in September where the USMNT could clinch a spot at the 2018 World Cup.
For the most part 15 or so players are locked in for Russia next summer, should the U.S. qualify, and the rest of the player pool are fighting for eight spots.
This tournament will be invaluable for Arena to give some players one final chance to impress him before the World Cup qualifiers in September and October where he will lean heavily on the USMNT’s European contingent.
Martinique will be no pushovers as their rapid counterattacks proved for Nicaragua, but the U.S. should ease to victory whoever is out on the pitch. Arena knows that and he’s right to experiment.