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Five biggest surprises from the preliminary USMNT Gold Cup roster

With the Concacaf Gold Cup set to kick off in just under a month’s time, the U.S. Men’s National Team will shortly begin preparations for a possible title under head coach Gregg Berhalter.

With a wide-range of players to choose from ahead of his first tournament as USMNT boss, Berhalter had some tough decisions to make with players coming off injury as well as disappointing seasons abroad. With 40 players chosen on Monday for the provisional roster, the final roster will need to be trimmed to 23 in roughly two weeks.

Here’s five surprises from Berhalter’s provisional roster:

1.) Marlon Fossey

A bit of a head-scratching decision by Berhalter who called in Fossey, a player who has yet to appear for the USMNT. Currently with English second-tier club Fulham, Fossey is coming off only three league appearances with Fulham’s U-23 side this season due to injuries.

A right back by trade, Fossey is talented but raw at the senior level despite appearing for the U.S. U-20 MNT. With Tyler Adams being toyed with at right-back and Nick Lima also an option at the Gold Cup, Fossey’s inclusion could have waited until he’s back to consistent minutes with his club.

2.) Andrew Gutman

The former Mac Hermann winner at the University of Indiana may be having strong season in the USL, but Gutman is another player who has zero international experience. At 22, Gutman has time to be included in the future and with Antonee Robinson and Daniel Lovitz better at this moment his inclusion is also interesting.

Since joining the Charlotte Independence on loan from Scottish Premier League side Celtic, Gutman has two goals and one assist in 11 appearances. A talented left-back, Gutman could see the pitch in the coming future for the USMNT but he needs to grow at club level before he makes the jump to the National Team.

3.) Joe Gyau

Once a promising talent for the USMNT, Joe Gyau seems to be past his time. Now 26, Gyau is coming off a relegation season with MSV Duisburg where he failed to make much of an impact against second-division sides. Gyau scored two goals and added one assist in 20 league matches for Duisburg, less than Andrew Wooten and Julian Green, both players not called in by Berhalter.

Gyau has yet to make a splash domestically and may need a chance of scenery to help him advance in his career. He has not won a cap since October 2014 and it is truly unsure how he can beat out the likes of several other proven players.

4.) Corey Baird

Corey Baird is a young talent for the USMNT but he has yet to show his true worth with the team despite a strong rookie season in MLS in 2018. Baird’s eight goals in 31 matches for Real Salt Lake is promising but he has yet to be influential for the USMNT.

He’s been able to win three caps but will find it tough to beat out better competition at the forward position. Baird’s willingness to do the dirty work offensively is a plus for the future, but there’s honestly better goal-scorers than him on this roster, even some guys off the roster who didn’t get a call-in.

5.) Omar Gonzalez

Omar Gonzalez is an experienced guy who Gregg Berhalter knows from the past, but it’s hard to see how he fits in to the future of the team. At 30, Gonzalez is in the latter stages of his career and will find it hard to start over plenty of younger and better options in the backline.

He may be included just for experience sake like Michael Bradley, but it seems like a wasted roster spot in the end. Gonzalez may have a chance to start against some physical offensive sides but in the long run his days with the USMNT are growing thin.

Who did you think was a head-scratching decision by Berhalter? Are there any players you would’ve liked to see on this list?

Share in the comments below.


  1. Agree with Gonzalez,Baird,Gyau on this list.
    Although, I’m curious on Gyau’s form since battling back. Does he still have speed?

    I have no problem with Berhalter calling in young wildcards.
    In particular at the fullback position. Celtic saw enough in Gutman that they signed him.

    If I recall, I kid named Yedlin made his first cap in January camp 2014.
    Fast forward a few months later and he is playing a significant role in the World Cup.
    Signed by Tottenham by fall.

    One camp, one call in, can elevate a player.

  2. If i’m being honest i think a lot of the head scratchers have to do with the fact Olympic Q is not far away and there are plenty of U-23 eligible players on this roster. I don’t think it’s a coincidence all of those age eligible players are there tbh

  3. In addition to choices I questioned yesterday, I’d like to add Julian Green. While he has been kind of hit and miss in Germany, whenever he has played with the USMNT he has stood out in a good way most of the time. I think he has at least the skill set of Nagbe, but is younger and a better attacker.

    • Lletget is the better comparison as they’d play the same 10 role. Obviously Pulisic has that spot nailed down so who’s the back up. Green probably better offensively Lletget defensively. Lletget could also play the 8 Green it wouldn’t be his strongest spot, both could play wing in a pinch.

      • I seem to get this a lot, so I guess I need to be clearer. I will say something like player A is better than player B in a certain aspect and people think I’m saying we should be playing player A in player B’s spot. That is not what I meant. I’m just saying that player A (Green) has certain skills and the closest comparison to those skills in the US pool is Nagbe. That doesn’t mean I think he should play the same position as Nagbe. So, to make myself clear, because Green dribbles the ball as well as Nagbe (or anyone else on the team) and is at least as good a passer, he should be included in the 40 and probably the 23 at a position that suits his talents. He has played, at various times, as an attacker, winger, or CAM. So, he can be plugged into any of those roles, depending on who else is playing for us at the time and the abilities he has will be a benefit to the team.

      • If only soccer was just about dribbling and passing. It’s easy to say player A should be in the 23 man roster until you actually put it together. You can’t just pick your 23 best players. You might end up with 9 CBs 4 GKs 5CFs 3 CAMs 2 DCMs.

  4. Guzan’s best days are way behind him and his distribution is atrocious, constantly giving the ball right back to the opposition. Wasted spot.

  5. These guys are only surprises if they make the squad. Fossey was closing in on Fulham minutes before his injury, Gutman would be starting in MLS had he signed with them, and Gyau is a true winger of which we have few (position of need).

  6. Gyau could’ve been replaced by Sabbi, Gall, Tillman, Wooten and three of those players need cap-tying. Baird is in the position as Gyau compared to those I just named. Gonzalez isn’t playing as frequently as Ventura Alvarado who is at a better club. There will always be players people think deserve this or that more than others (Alfredo Morales is another for me); but, my god does it seem like form was a non-factor in this squad.


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