United States head coach Gregg Berhalter named a new-look squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Thursday, leaving out several Europe-based stars in a roster drawn mostly from Major League Soccer.
Berhalter plans to use the regional championship as an opportunity to expand his player pool with one eye on the final rounds of CONCACAF’s 2022 World Cup qualifying competition starting this year.
None of the players which started for the USA in last month’s CONCACAF Nations League final victory over Mexico in Denver — including Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna and Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest — are included in the squad. Berhalter however insisted the selected squad was picked with a view to winning the Gold Cup.
“Anytime we’re competing for a trophy, we want to win it,” Berhalter said. “It’s going to take a good effort by the group, but it’s certainly a focus of ours. We know the games are going to be difficult, and as we looked at the roster for this tournament, we focused on guys who are in form and can help the team win.”
However Berhalter acknowledged the squad was selected with one eye on the World Cup qualfication campaign. The final round of CONCACAF qualifiers has expanded from six to eight teams this year, meaning the US will face 14 games compressed into a seven-month period rather than the usual 18 months.
“When we were looking at both the Gold Cup and the Nations League, we were thinking about one big roster picture, not two separate rosters,” Berhalter said. “The idea was to prepare our entire player pool in a competitive CONCACAF format for World Cup qualifying.
“When you look at this roster, it’s basically another group of players that are going to get the opportunity to compete to win a trophy. By the end of this tournament, we’re going to have virtually the entire player pool prepared for World Cup qualifying.”
USA squad for CONCACAF Gold Cup:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Defenders: George Bello (Atlanta United), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR), Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP), Donovan Pines (D.C. United), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), James Sands (New York City FC), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
Forwards: Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Daryl Dike (Orlando City), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke/GER), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)