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Arena expecting ‘very few’ first team regulars to join USMNT for Gold Cup

The upcoming Gold Cup is ceratainly about new faces and experimentation, and Bruce Arena reiterated that he expects to see plenty of both when the U.S. Men’s National Team takes the field at this summer’s tournament.

Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Arena said he expects few first choice players to join the USMNT for the Gold Cup, which runs from July 7-26. The U.S. begins the tournament on July 8 against Panama, and Arena says he expects few if any of the team’s big stars to be involved from the get-go.

“Almost none. Very few,” Arena told SI. “Maybe [Omar] González and [Matt] Besler. Maybe [Clint] Dempsey and [Jozy] Altidore at some point. [Darlington] Nagbe is a possibility.

“I have to see in the next couple weeks how everyone is doing. We’re pretty sure [Brad] Guzan is coming in. [Tim] Howard can come in after the group stage. So we’ll have to name at least two other goalkeepers.”

One of those goalkeepers that could join the roster is Jesse Gonzalez, who is reportedly getting closer to finalizing a one-time switch to the USMNT.

Arena went on to say that it is doubtful that Christian Pulisic joins the squad, despite being named to the 40-man preliminary roster. The U.S. must select an initial 23-man squad to start the tournament and each team is allowed six player swaps heading into the knockout rounds.

“It’s bad timing for [the Gold Cup], because the guys in Europe have gone through this long club season and now the World Cup qualifiers,” Arena said. “They need a break. They have three weeks off, and asking them to come in for Gold Cup makes no sense. It would take three weeks to get them ready.”


  1. Good Arena! Youth movement!

    Acosta was an amazing surprise at Azteca, & Acosta looked great against evil “green rats”.

    Now we need under 23’s USNT games with interim coach (maybe Tabare) now!

    • I thought Acosta did enough to keep himself in the conversation for 23-man rosters, but calling his performance “great” is incredibly hyperbolic. I do, however, look forward to more of his caps as he continues to grow within MLS.

      • Acosta’s role was to harass & disrupt the Mexican mids, making them move laterally or backwords enough for help to arrive. Other than the the one play that lead to the Mexican goal where he should have fouled Hernandez, he executed his role well. Add in his service on free-kicks and I’d say that he did well (not great, but he did raise his standing).
        Short term Arena will need to be careful when and how he uses Acosta, but he does have the skill set to either partner a more veteran CM or back them up. He’s not a finished product, but I’d take him over McCarty any day of the week.

      • Acosta did well in Azteca & very few World elite players do well in Azteca. Of course, Acosta is not World elite but Acosta better than average, & Acosta shows great maturity in deal those types intense important games for a youth dude.

  2. I wish Bruce would bring in Sargeant to train and sit on the bench for the Gold Cup. Get him prepped for the u-17 tourney and keep working on his development.

    • That is a great idea, but I wonder if he will be going through preparations for the U-17 world cup by then. If not, this would make great sense.

    • I don’t think we’re there with Sargeant at this point. He’s a good prospect, but nothing more right now. The only time I can remember calling in anyone about that age successfully were Altidore and Pulisic. Jozy was already playing with NYRB at that age and no explanation needed with Pulisic…
      I’m not sure it would help his career and would only heap pressure on a young player. Agudelo is coming to mind.

    • Probabaly a bit too intense. Younger players have not had the playing time to develop the cortisol levels needed to play day-in-day-out ,even if it is just practicing. Tuchel had to keep Pulisic off roster towards the end of the season, as his fatigue was showing. Fortunately the spate of rest, or light work and play, worked. Pulisic played in some 50+ games for BVB this last season and handled it well becasue of the monitoring BVB did on him, Dembele and the other young players on the team.

      With the U17WC looming, you do not want to overwork/overtrain a young player.

    • He has been in on almost every U17, U19, and U20 camp in the last six months, just like the pros he needs a break too. He is also eligible for two week trials with European clubs even if can’t sign until February so he may have one or two of those planned during July as clubs begin training. Bremen has said they expect a bigger club to swoop in and steal him away.

  3. I’ll have to look at the roster again but is there anyone on it who can play as a 10, cuz CP won’t be playing this summer.

      • Remember you said that if you get to see him play there. He’s a player where offense goes to die. There is another player on the Revs, not called in, that should have been that can do that job

    • Will depend on the formation that Bruce deploys. For all we know he’ll deploy us in a 4-4-2 “Empty Bucket” and pair Acosta & Roldan as the 2 CMs. If he wants to keep along the diamond formation or 4-2-3-1 than an option would be to shift Nagbe centrally and field Saief as the LM.


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