The US national soccer team is expected to win the Gold Cup despite picking a young squad with no stars. With so much talent coming up, the future looks bright for American soccer.
The USMNT expect to win the Gold Cup despite picking a young squad. Mexico has a number of stars on their team, but the USMNT have been able to pull out wins against them in the past.
Gold Cups aren’t all made equal.
The edition of the biannual CONCACAF tournament that takes place soon after a World Cup year is typically more significant. This was particularly true when it came to a place in the now-defunct FIFA Confederations Cup. Even though there was no prize on the line in 2019, the competing nations sent their “A” teams, which included their greatest players. Heavyweights Mexico and the United States certainly did not hold back.
In terms of which players make the cut for the second edition of a World Cup cycle, the results have been mixed. Some nations utilize it to fine-tune their tactics and people in preparation for a new round of World Cup qualification, while others use it to delve deeper into their player pool.
– Watch ESPN FC every day on ESPN+ (U.S. only) – A viewer’s guide to the Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, and more on ESPN+ – The Gold Cup bracket and schedule
The United States will use the latter strategy for the 2021 Gold Cup. Earlier this summer, US manager Gregg Berhalter said that he wanted to rest most of the European-based players and enable others to begin preseason with their clubs. Only four players from the CONCACAF Nations League Finals roster are eligible for the Gold Cup: MLS midfielders Jackson Yueill, Sebastian Lletget, and Kellyn Acosta, as well as Boavista defender Reggie Cannon. In comparison, Mexico has 14 players who are doing double duty this summer.
As a result, Mexico, rather than the United States, is the Gold Cup favorite, despite Berhalter’s stated goals for the event. In the absence of his foreign players, his goal is to prepare his team for the start of World Cup qualification, particularly with “triple-fixture” windows (three games in two-week intervals) dotted throughout the calendar owing to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect. The team’s depth will undoubtedly be put to the test, and the Gold Cup is the ideal chance to strengthen up key areas before then.
“We’ll have almost the whole player pool ready for World Cup qualification by the conclusion of this tournament,” Berhalter stated.
Historically, the United States has had minimal opposition in the Gold Cup group stage. The USMNT has a 35-1-4 record in that round of the tournament, with the lone loss occurring in 2011 against Panama.
However, the group stage in this year seems to be more difficult than in previous editions. This cycle, Canada has made significant progress, defeating the United States in the Nations League for the first time in 34 years. Manager Steven Herdman has also brought in several of his first-choice players, including Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich and Cyle Larin of Besiktas. Meanwhile, Haiti advanced to the Gold Cup semifinals in 2019, after being defeated in World Cup qualification by Canada in June. Martinique seems to be the weakest team in the group, but it has previously tested the Americans, including a 3-2 loss in the 2017 Gold Cup group stage.
This American team also has a lot of young players on it. Five of the players are uncapped, while 14 have made less than ten international appearances. However, given the United States’ depth and resources, reaching the final is the very least that should be anticipated.
Gregg Berhalter, the manager of the United States Men’s National Team, has rotated his players and is taking a young team to the Gold Cup. Even yet, the expectation remains the same: to win it all. Getty Images/Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images
When the entire squad reconvenes in September for World Cup qualification, the competition offers chances for players to take on larger responsibilities. Walker Zimmerman of Nashville SC has an opportunity to show Berhalter that he belongs in the starting lineup alongside John Brooks.
Yueill will also be seeking to avenge his performance against Honduras in the Nations League semifinal, while Lletget is eager to cement his place in Berhalter’s midfield rotation. Finally, can a guy like Cristian Roldan, who has performed well for the Seattle Sounders, push his way back into the team?
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio, NYCFC defender James Sands, and Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson are among those hoping to earn their international debuts. Matt Turner, the goalie for the New England Revolution, is likewise ready to take the next step in his career.
The most open position on the field, though, is up front, where no one has really established a claim to the starting position. Daryl Dike, 21, seems to have the best chance among the attackers on the Gold Cup squad. He followed up a strong debut season with Orlando City SC with an outstanding loan stint with Barnsley in the English Championship, where he scored nine goals in 22 games. Last month, he also scored his first international goal in a 4-0 friendly victory against Costa Rica. Gyasi Zardes, a long-time Berhalter favorite, is expected to play centrally as well.
Berhalter will be using regular attackers like Caen’s Nicholas Gioacchini and Schalke’s Matthew Hoppe to reinforce regular wingers Paul Arriola and Jonathan Lewis, so the battle out wide will be interesting to watch. It indicates to a squad with certain flaws, as Berhalter pointed out. However, the team’s objective remains the same as if the whole group were present.
“Let’s be clear, we want to look at this as a squad that can contend for the Gold Cup, and that’s going to be our expectation,” Berhalter said earlier this month. “Will it be difficult? Absolutely, but we believe this squad has the backbone, we believe this group has enough experienced leadership to make a run at the Gold Cup.”
The USMNT’s adventure starts against Haiti on Sunday night.
The usmnt vs haiti is a game that will take place on Saturday, June 17th. It will be the first time the USMNT has competed in this tournament since 2007.
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