A look at the USMNT 2021 Gold Cup provisional 60-player roster
June 18, 2021
It still remains to be seen who will make the final cut and club conflicts can still arise as the transfer window is only in its early stages. Releases are mandatory for this tournament but Berhalter has said he does not want to take players away from important European preseasons. This would include players joining new teams, preparing for European competitions, or are at clubs with new managers.
At the 2021 Gold Cup, the U.S. team will be based out of Kansas City for the Group Stages and is in Group B. Here is its schedule:
- July 11: vs. Winner of Preliminary Match 7
- July 15: vs. Martinique
- July 18. vs. Canada
Final rosters are due 10 days before the start of the tournament and must consist of players from the provisional list.
The USMNT provisional roster
Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Tim Mela, Matt Turner
Julian Araujo, George Bello, Reggie Cannon, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Justin Che, Kyle Duncan, Chase Gaspar, Johnathan Gomez, Aaron Herrera, Henry Kessler, Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown, Donovan Pines, Miles Robinson, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines, Walker Zimmerman
Frankie Amaya, Cole Bassett, Gianluca Busio, Johnny Cardoso, Caden Clark, Leon Flach, Sebastian Lletget, Djordje Mihailovic, Moses Nyeman, Kevin Paredes, Andres Perea, Kellyn Acosta, Paxton Pomykal, Cristian Roldan, James Sands, Hassani Dotson, Tanner Tessmann, Eryk Williamson, Jackson Yueill
Jozy Altidore, Paul Arriola, Corey Baird, Cade Cowell, Daryl Dike, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Nicholas Gioacchini, Julian Green, Matthew Hoppe, Jonathan Lewis, Rubio Rubin, Chris Mueller, Ricardo Pepi, Robbie Robinson, Memo Rodriguez, Mason Toye, Gyasi Zardes
Thoughts on the roster
Youth is served
On the roster, 14 players were eligible for the cancelled 2021 U-20 World Cup. Of those 14 players, seven are from the highly regarded 2003 birth year and are eligible for the 2023 U-20 World Cup.
2021 U-20 eligible: Araujo, Bello, Busio, Cardoso, Che*, Clark*, Cowell*, Flach, Gomez*, Hoppe, Nyeman*, Paredes*, Pepi*, Tessmann
* denotes 2003-born
Among those players, the most likely to make the Gold Cup team are Philadelphia Union defensive midfielder Leon Flach, LA Galaxy right back Julian Araujo, FC Dallas defender Justin Che, Red Bull midfielder Caden Clark, Atlanta United left back George Bello, and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio.
Not all of the young players will make the team. There will be some focus of a blended roster but with the number this high, expect several of the 2021 U-20 class and maybe even a few of the 2023 U-20 class to make it
Matthew Hoppe is certainly possible although it remains to be seen how his club situation will shape out after Schalke’s relegation.
One particular note is that Moses Nyeman made the team and but he is still not in possession of a U.S. passport. Per U.S. Soccer, it was “in the process of being completed.”
Some Nations League overlap
For the purposes of having veteran leadership, it seems as if there will now be at least some degree of overlap from the Nations League team. Sebastian Lletget and Kellyn Acosta seem the most likely to be included and this would provide some leadership to a squad that could otherwise be young and inexperienced. Jackson Yueill remains another possibility .
In terms of other veterans, Daryl Dike was not on the Nations League roster but was with the team the entire time. If he is not transferred before the start of the tournament, the Gold Cup seems like a good place for him.
The reasons why certain European-based players were left off the roster vary from player to player due to circumstances. The player whose absence is most striking is Luca de la Torre. The Heracles midfielder enjoyed a strong first season in the Eredivisie and performed well with the U.S. team at the March camp. With Heracles a typical midtable club and de la Torre an established player now, it seemed like he might have had an opportunity to play in this tournament.
Also among the European-based players, Chris Durkin at St. Truiden seems like he might have had a chance to sneak into the provisional list.
In MLS, the move away from Michael Bradley is now a bit more noticeable and it will be interesting if Berhalter discusses Bradley during media availability in the upcoming tournament.
The rest of the omissions are on the fringes – Justin Glad, Brooks Lennon, etc.
Mexico flexes muscle
The U.S. team will not walk into the tournament as the favorites. Mexico’s provisional roster consists of most of its best players. Canada also has a provisional roster which includes Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies.
Anything can happen when whittling the provisional roster down to the final roster, but the U.S. team appears to be the only CONCACAF team, so far, dialing it back for the Gold Cup.
For the U.S. team, this tournament is about building depth in the overall player pool. The Nations League provided a solid core but as everyone knows, there will be injuries, there will be suspensions, and there will drops in form.
To get through World Cup qualifying, it will take a lot more than 23 players. This Gold Cup will see the U.S. team not as the favorite, but in a position where it can expand the player pool.
Goalkeepers: Matt Turner, Sean Johnson, Brad Guzan
Defenders: Walker Zimmerman (captain), Miles Robinson, Erik Palmer-Brown, Justin Che, Julian Araujo, Kyle Duncan, Sam Vines, Aaron Herrera
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Jackson Yueill, Leon Flach, Gianluca Busio, Cristian Roldan, Caden Cark, Sebastian Lletget
Forwards/Wingers: Paul Arriola, Julian Green, Daryl Dike, Gyasi Zardes, Nicholas Gioacchini
Some notes on the predicted roster:
In the end, I think it will be tough to justify Reggie Cannon, Matthew Hoppe, or Cameron Carter-Vickers missing their preseasons.
I think Matt Turner will get a chance to play his way onto the team’s top 23 for World Cup qualifying.
Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget, Paul Arriola, Walker Zimmerman, and Gyasi Zardes are the team’s veteran leaders.
This roster would also a number of players ages 21 and under: Dike, Busio, Gioacchini, Flach, Clark, Araujo, Che.
Sam Vines is an interesting player to keep and eye on because there is room inside the top 23 or top 25 on the USMNT for a solid passing left back.
The winger player pool on this group is not deep. Paul Arriola seems like the only one truly ready. The next best options would require players to play there out of position.