The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup has seen multiple teams hit with injuries galore, and that reality, coupled with the looming potential for COVID-19 infections has led Concacaf to make changes to its roster rules for the tournament.
Concacaf has announced that teams will be allowed to make medical changes to their rosters for the knockout rounds, a change that comes after Concacaf initially did away with its long-standing rule allowing roster changes after the group stage.
The change should benefit several teams, including Mexico, which lost the services of star Hirving Lozano in its opening draw against Trinidad & Tobago after he suffered an injury in an ugly collision. The U.S. men’s national team has also been dealing with injuries to Paul Arriola and Reggie Cannon, and watched defender Walker Zimmerman leave Sunday’s 1-0 victory against Canada with a knee injury.
Here are the details surrounding the rule change:
Any proposed medical replacements will only be considered by the Concacaf Medical Committee in cases of serious injury or illness. Such replacements must be proposed to Concacaf for review at least 24 hours before the kick-off of the relevant team’s Quarterfinal match. Additionally, players proposed as medical replacements must come from the previously announced provisional rosters.
If Zimmerman’s injury is serious, Berhalter could call in Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty to fill in at centerback. If Arriola is still unable to recover from the injury he suffered in the group stage opener against Haiti then Berhalter could turn to Orlando City’s Chris Mueller, Los Angeles FC’s Corey Baird or New York Red Bulls youngster Caden Clark as potential winger options.
The USMNT has until 24 hours before Sunday’s quarterfinal against the second-place team from Group C (either Jamaica or Costa Rica) to make roster changes.