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Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore lead USMNT Gold Cup replacements

Photo by Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In his quest to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to Gold Cup glory, head coach Bruce Arena is set to call in the big guns.

Usual starting goalkeeper Tim Howard will be joined by Toronto FC vets Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore on the official roster once the USMNT completes its final group stage match against Nicaragua on Saturday, Goal reports. The three have already met up with the team for training, and will be joined by a Cascadian duo of Seattle Sounders striker Clint Dempsey and Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe.

The sixth and final switch was reportedly down to either Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik or FC Dallas netminder Jesse Gonzalez, who recently made a one-time switch to the USMNT after representing Mexico previously. Despite reported efforts from FC Dallas to hold on to Gonzalez, Arena reportedly got his man, as Gonzalez joined up with the team in Cleveland on Saturday.

The veteran nature of the six swaps shows Arena’s dedication to making a deep run into the tournament, despite his initial roster favoring a more experimental feel. After struggles against Panama and Martinique, several players on the group stage roster may be playing to stick with the team in the knockout rounds. Bradley’s influence in the midfield will be particularly welcome, as the combination of Dax McCarty and Kellyn Acosta was easily overrun by the Panamanian midfield.

Despite struggles by the defense against Martinique, surrendering two goals late before Jordan Morris saved the day for the team, it appears that Arena will stick with the group he’s got on hand.


  1. Jozy & Dempsey seem like waste, especially when Morris & Dywer doing well. Reinforce the midfield better, so these kids (Morris & Dywer) could score more.
    I understand reinforcing the midfield. USNT is not gelling well in the midfield.

    • Not really any midfield help that was on the 40 man roster. Will Trap the only CM available and you know 80 some goals from Jozy and Clint to 5 goals from Dom and Jordan.

    • I would not say Morris played well. He did score a couple goals, but most of his touches were poor and he showed no creativity. When he had the ball, he was too often unable to do anything productive with it.Both goals were really orchestrated by others, but he was able to finish them.

      Dwyer scored, but that missed penalty and long periods where he was just invisible has me wondering if he is just a slightly younger and slightly weaker Wondo or Hercules Gomez.

      Dempsey and Altidore are much better.

      As for the midfield, after Bradley, who else will make a big impact? Nagbe has been uneven with the Nats, Jones is not healthy, if Bedoya is off having a baby, Arena must be trusting Acosta (maybe Nagbe) to pair with Bradley. I think only Feilhaber or Klejstan (who weren’t on the 40 man preliminary roster) might be an improvement and even that is debatable..

  2. OK…so Howard, Gonzalez, Bradley, Jozy, Dempsey, & Nagbe are coming in to re-enforcement the team….so who is going to be dropped? My guess is as follows:
    1) Morris, Sounders will want an exchange of Morris for releasing Dempsey, and I think Bruce will do it.
    2) McCarty or Roldan will be sent packing. Today’s game will be the decider as neither have impressed as of yet.
    3) Guzan hasn’t even joined his new club yet, so guessing Arena will release him to join his new club.
    4) Since we haven’t seen either Sean Johnson or Hamid your guess is as good as mine for who’ll be sent packing.
    5 & 6) Arriola & Coronal. The Liga MX are about to start back up, so both will go back to TJ for the start of their season. Omar stays with the team since he’s a more established player at his Club.

    • We’re losing two keepers. Guzan was supposed to be in Atlanta a month ago; he needs to go earn a paycheck now. Hamid did OK; think Johnson gets dropped.

      We’re losing two forwards, most likely. Agree that Arena swaps Morris for Dempsey with Seattle so as to not gut the Sounders. After that Agudelo, who has done nothing, is gone.

      We’re losing two midfielders, one outside and one central. Rowe certainly stays. After that I think it’s Pontius or Arriola; I think Pontius goes but Arriola has not played well. From the middle it’s either Roldan or McCarty and Roldan seems lower on the pecking order.

  3. If this Gold Cup has taught us (myself included) anything, it’s that we don’t have anyone capable of usurping Bradley’s place in the lineup.

    • Bradley’s starting spot is as safe as anyone right now. Real question for me is how are we going to lineup? Are we a 3 man central midfield or 2? is Pulisic staying central or going wide?
      Acosta and Jones seem to be in front of the pack to partner Bradley with Bedoya just behind? Hyndman and Danny Williams have a great chance to make a claim in the fall.

      • Based on recent games Pulisic Bradley Acosta but Jones might get called if healthy

        Corona might make it as a Pulisic sub

        Hyndman and Williams haven’t been called under this coach and while this argument verges on circular I’d not assume a call until they get a first one

    • Yeah that’s the rough part is for transition and improvement purposes we needed some fresh DM blood to step up, Plenty were given a chance and no one but maybe maybe Acosta earned A team time. Even Acosta didn’t really sell the idea he’s the future but more that he’s the least useless so he could be risked in a real quali game.

      • I think Danny Williams needs another look. He had one stinker for the nats and then got banished. Now that he will be playing in the EPL, we’ll get a chance to see how well he stacks up with top players. Hopefully he steps up his game and makes the national team and makes us better.

      • Acosta in pole position with this group but with the entire player pool? I’m not sure where Acosta stands with the entire group? The current Gold Cup squad in midfield lacks athleticism, straight ahead speed, most of all lateral quickness. Quickness to the ball and with the ball critical moving forward. The only midfield attribute more important is ball winning and a physical presence in the defense third stomping out fires. Acosta went from the shallow end to the deep end quickly against lesser international competition. Arena put him in as the engine and carrying a lot of leadership roles. Acosta lost confidence and it showed with his poor set piece deliveries. Hoping the experience is something to build on and improve because Acosta has a lot to offer to the USMNT.

        However, Williams deserves a serious look paired with Bradley. He can go box to box with purpose on both ends.

        Pure speculation is fun but performance is what matters and what matters most is winning.

    • I don’t think that was ever the plan. We have done this at a couple recent gold cups and even lost games in the process. New team for playoffs. Disappointing bit is really how few of these pool guys earned a future.

      • I think he was not eligible for the USMNT at the time the US roster was being finalized. he is now and Arena want to run the ruler over him. With the exception of one or two players on the backline, they did OK for their inexperience. the Midfield was not the same story.

    • They meant for him to be on this roster in the first place, timing didn’t work out, and they might even play him one game to cement the deal and test his mettle.

      Bringing in two keepers also could be seen as dismissive of Guzan who has had a poor tournament so far.

      • The deal is done it is a one time switch he can not play for Mexico no matter what. I believe it was always the plan to release Guzan to begin his time with Atlanta after the group stage.

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