2019 Gold Cup

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Choosing a USMNT XI for the Gold Cup

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Noting that most positions on the international stage are up for grabs based on form, there are special opportunities on the wing, right back, and center back when it comes to the USMNT at the Gold Cup this summer.

That’s because of two related things, one fact and one close to it:

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  1. DeAndre Yedlin and John Brooks are missing from the lineup due to injury. Brooks is easily the Yanks’ No. 1 center back, and Yedlin is a right back when Tyler Adams is unavailable and good enough that Gregg Berhalter tries to shoehorn him in at right wing when Adams is manning that spot.
  2. Mexico’s the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament with more in-form club players in Europe than the U.S., including would-be Premier League Best XI forward Raul Jimenez of Wolves. And who’s going to have to deal with Raul? You guessed it, the big American center backs.

Presuming Berhalter is still wed to Adams as the part-fullback, part distributing midfielder role, that has our lineup for important Gold Cup matches with few sure things.

Zack Steffen (if healthy)

Adams — XXXXX — XXXXX — XXXXX

McKennie — Bradley

XXXXX — Pulisic — XXXXX

Altidore

Now you may not like that I’ve assumed Bradley and Altidore’s places here, but there’s little doubt both are still quite capable against CONCACAF competition and also have the experience in this exact competition and against Mexico. Surely both are motivated for a bit of redemption as well.

Friendlies against Jamaica and Venezuela will give Berhalter a chance to try out players like Tyler Boyd, Marlon Fossey, and Miles Robinson should they impress amongst a 40-player field (although the Jamaica match on June 5 in Washington, D.C. is a day before the final rosters are due for the Gold Cup).

Now what we are trying to solve here is who is the best bet to help the Yanks win the dang thing.

Defenders: Aaron Long, Matt Miazga, and Tim Ream are the favorites to start at the two center back spots and left back, but Daniel Lovitz will try to push Ream after a rough season at Fulham. Both Walker Zimmerman and Omar Gonzalez are in good form, and you can bet Berhalter will give Cameron Carter-Vickers a chance to earn some time. A flat back four role gives Antonee Robinson hope in place of Ream, and if Adams moves into the midfield, Nick Lima did alright in his right back role in January.

Midfielders/Wingers: The spots around Pulisic should be filled by those who can keep the width of the field but also serve somewhat as enforcers for the No. 10. Sebastian Lletget gives them a good shot on one side, and Paul Arriola provides a similar spot. While Joe Gyau, Josh Sargent, Duane Holmes, and Djordje Mihailovic can hope to challenge, the MLS vets with experience outside the country are good bets to get the gigs.

Zack Steffen (if healthy)

Adams — Miazga — Long — Ream

McKennie — Bradley

Arriola — Pulisic — Lletget

Altidore

Does that get the job done against Mexico? Probably not, but it’ll give Tata Martino’s men a hassle.

USMNT’s initial 2019 Gold Cup roster includes surprises

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The USMNT’s preliminary 40-man squad for the 2019 Gold Cup this summer has been revealed.

And there are a few surprises.

First up, it is likely you will all be asking where John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin are. Well, both are injured and are not included in the squad which was confirmed by CONCACAF on Monday.

In a release the governing body says that the final 23-man squads will be released in early June and after that “only injury-related changes will be allowed, up until 24 hours before each team’s first match” as any replacements “must come from the preliminary 40-player roster.”

That means Yedlin and Brooks are out no matter what, and that leave Gregg Berhalter with some big issues to solve defensively.

Some of the intriguing additions to Berhalter’s squad are dual nationals Marlon Fossey and Duane Holmes, while Andrew Gutman, Joe Gyau and Jonathan Amon are also included.

Young stars Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie join veteran defenders Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez. Usual suspects Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Brad Guzan are in the squad.

Below is the 40-man roster in full for the USMNT, as they are second favorites to win the tournament behind reigning champs Mexico.


U.S. Soccer makes it official: USMNT’s first Gold Cup tuneup to be vs. Jamaica

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It will be a rematch of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final as the U.S. begins its preparations for this summer’s Gold Cup.

U.S. Soccer announced that the U.S. Men’s National Team will host Jamaica in a friendly match on June 5 in Washington D.C. at Audi Field, the home of D.C. United. Jamaica, ranked No. 53 in FIFA’s latest world rankings, has made the finals of each of the last two Gold Cups, and they’ll be hosting matches at the Gold Cup for the first time in tournament history in this year’s edition.

“As we prepare for the start of the Gold Cup, this is the perfect opportunity in terms of opponent and venue,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “Playing against Jamaica we get exposure to another different style of play, and one that we may see later in the tournament. For us, there’s always something special about playing in the nation’s capital. There have been so many memorable games for the National Team in Washington, D.C., and now we look forward to beginning another chapter in the new stadium.”

For the U.S., it’s a strong test and part of a really solid 1-2 punch of friendly matches, beginning with Jamaica and then Venezuela ahead of the Gold Cup. Berhalter is hoping it will prepare the U.S. for battles with Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. Should the U.S. advance, it could face potentially Jamaica, Honduras, or even El Salvador in the quarterfinals or semifinals, with a trip to the final on the line.

Gregg Berhalter has just a few weeks before he has to make one of his first big decisions, albiet one with a lot of flexibility. By May 16, Berhalter must submit to CONCACAF his provisional Gold Cup squad, which can include up to 40 players and four goalkeepers. By Monday, June 3, just two days before this friendly match against Jamaica, Berhalter must submit his final roster of 23 players, including three goalkeepers.

Berhalter, any any coach, has up until 24 hours until the USMNT’s first game (on June 18) to make any emergency replacements. As such, it’s likely that Berhalter will carry more than 23 players with him when the U.S. plays Jamaica and Venezuela.

USMNT learns Gold Cup group stage opponents

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The United States men’s national team gets its a formal chance to take a measure of vengeance against the two teams which knocked it out of the last round of World Cup qualifying.

Trinidad and Tobago, of course, is the nation whose B-teamers beat the USMNT in Couva, allowing Panama to clinch a World Cup berth via a ghost goal.

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The Yanks will also meet Guyana in the first Group D match, which will be June 18 at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It’ll be T&T versus the U.S. in Cleveland four days later, before the Yanks wrap up group play with Panama in Kansas City on June 26.

That’s about the only good news, as the Yanks are in arguably the toughest group of the bunch (though they should surely advance to the knockout rounds as a top seed).

Group C is also tough, with El Salvador joining Jamaica, Honduras, and Curacao.

Group B sees Costa Rica drawn with Haiti, Nicaragua, and Bermuda.

Group A is a great draw for Mexico and Canada, who will have to get past Martinique and Cuba.

CONCACAF Gold Cup matches to be played in Kingston, Jamaica

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MIAMI (AP) The CONCACAF Gold Cup will be played in the Caribbean for the first time when a group-stage doubleheader takes place on June 17 in Kingston, Jamaica.

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The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said Tuesday that Jamaica will join Honduras in Group C, which also plays in Houston on June 21 and Los Angeles on June 25.

CONCACAF plans to announce the full schedule on June 10. The United States opens on June 18 at St. Paul, Minnesota, plays four days later in Cleveland and finishes the first round on June 26 at Kansas City, Kansas. Semifinals are July 2 at Glendale, Arizona, and the following day at Nashville, Tennessee. The final is July 7 at Chicago.

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