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Concacaf announces roster replacement rule change for Gold Cup knockout rounds


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.


  1. Cowell and Kessler brought into camp. Zimmerman is officially out so seems Kessler is for sure in. I’m guessing they’re still testing Arriola’s recovery.

  2. Can Jonathan Lewis pretend to have an injury too. I wouldn’t mind seeing 3 new USMNT players into the knockout roads. Caden Clark would be great, I’m hoping Zimmerman and Dike is okay cause you can’t replace those guys.

  3. Doubt anyone was obsessing about it, but for travel/practical reasons, as well as the general mentality they took to European players needing to get to camp, it’ll be MLS replacements. So though we could bolster the team with CCV and Green, it won’t be. You could bring in a starter, we’ll bring in bench to maybe get a sub cameo.

      • CCV was starting for Spurs this weekend, he’s not giving up that exposure. He’s very unlikely to be in the plans when everyone is back for them but gives him a good chance to look the part of EPL defender.
        Clark was on the bench for NYRBs Saturday but it got postponed so not sure his actual fitness. Pomykal might be a better replacement at this point. He was a beast for FCD over the weekend.

    • Mueller (Arriola) & Glad (Zimmerman) …if Dike’s shoulder is severely injured then I like to see Clark

  4. I feel like it’s a back-door knockout roster swap like it used to be. More limited of course. But the rules were supposed to be before game 1 or you’re stuck. Now, while I think covid is a fair reason to replace people right now, I’d be curious how many of those cases coincide with people actually still in the tournament. In plain English, a lot of those teams played short and got sent home. Lot of good it does them now.

    That being said, if they consulted everyone and it’s what they wanted, ok, it’s your tournament. Sure everyone has some dings at this point.

    • It was ridiculous that Concacaf implemented traditional roster rules for this tournament in the first place. Both UEFA, CONMEBOL, and Olympics used/using expanded rosters. It’s too bad they came to their senses so late, Haiti having to play with 13 players available. US, Honduras, Canada, Mexico all with injured players probably the other teams too but I’m not as familiar with them.

  5. can Cannon play in Zimmermann’s spot in the 3 CB look if Walker can’t go, even with the callups available? if it’s 2 CBs with no WZ then Sands-Robinson, yes, even with the callups, with Cannon and Vines? but then we need a 6 to recover in all of the those spaces behind Vines and still build out…Williamson? or some callup (I doubt it). And let’s see Busio play for 30 minutes or so against others who are tired while he is not, see what happens, and not as the 6 but higher, whoever is injured or gets called up. lucky break for Berhalter to smooth out some of the uneveness of his original squad if WZ is hurt. If he’s not and can go, Sands at the 6? Yes for me

    • i question whether the 3 back thing has worked all that well. one of the goofy things about US soccer these days where the coach rotates among his shiny object formations — tinkering around aimlessly — and we’re like, but does this fit a 3 man backline. i didn’t know 3 backs were required or that the formation particularly worked. we kind of spent our canada game sitting on our own end.

      • Beerholder reminds me of Steve Sampson in ‘98, forcing the players into his system instead of building a formation to suit the strengths and weaknesses of the players available.

      • I think.our fans need to have some.perspective instead of taking every opportunity to throw a dig at Greg. With thay being said if you look at the game and the previous one the man backli e worked just fine, that is u til Zimmerman got injured and Berhalter was forced to change his formation to account for having to play Pines, a guy that probably shouldnt have been called in to begin with, so Greg can absolutely be blamed for that miscalculation! I recall fans saying that Greg never has a back up plan, or that he’s too rigid with his system, and now thats he’s shown otherwise the goal posts are moved again amongst the fanbase with a new narrative that he’s doing too much now….which one is it, make it make sense!

      • There is a choice when forming a team on whether 1) to choose the best players you can get and implement a system that allows them do do well or 2) to choose as system and then select players to fit into that system. A couple years ago, in MLS Bob Bradley did the first with LAFC and did quite well while Jesse Marsch did the second, jettisoning players who he felt did not fit the system, he also did quite well. Their teams won the Supporters’ Shield in 2019 and 2018 respectively. So to me it is an open question which approach is best. However, if you don’t pick the best players in 1) or you fail to pick players to fit the system for 2) I think failure will be the result. I think GB is trying to use the second approach, but is failing to find the players who can execute it. No matter how good a player is, if a player is not put into an environment where the talent fits, that player will fail (or at best look average) and so will the team.

        Of course, I think Bradley would claim he has a system and is picking players (and shedding them) based upon how well they fit into the system. But I think in the beginning, he looked at the best players he had, Vela, Rossi, Kaye, Attuesta, Blessing, … and designed a system that would allow their talent to shine. He has since added and dropped players based on how well they supported and enhanced his vision for the team, so he has morphed into more of a Marsch/Red Bulls approach where he looks for players who will fit into the way LAFC wants to play. I think that that the transfer out of Zimmerman is at least partly due to that in addition to financial considerations.

        Bradley has all the players in the world that LAFC can afford to pick and choose from while GB has all the US eligible players to choose from, but GB’s choice is more limited in that if he picks players based simply on the system, the quality of players will drop off. Pines and Lewis selections are examples of that.

    • great posts all! GB has work to do with this group, unbalanced roster choices and injuries requiring some flexibility to any plan perhaps? we’ll see. Cannon as a 3rd CB also allows for easy system change to 4 back line with the options that provides if he can do it, but hopefully WZ can go…anyone know anything on that front? to me, the big thing is the 6, and who can play it best, and what system allows that player to express himself best. There are some options on this roster seems to me, Sands and Acosta my picks and not Yueill or Busio, but Busio higher up later in games maybe worth a look?

    • If Berhalter insists on playing the 3-CB formation, this will be a brilliant idea. I thought England’s 3-CB formation during 2020 Euros featuring Kyle Walker as the right side CB and Trippier as the right wingback was pretty effective and solid defensively. We can have Cannon take Zimmermann’s spot and keep Moore at the right wingback position. Cannon will be technical enough to help distribute from the backline and defend as a right side CB having Sand and Robinson playing alongside next to him.

      • Bingo!! Simon! England & Belgium have been deploying 3 CBs since WC’18! England uses 2 CBs and a RB, while Belgium goes with 3 CBs. Tata’s Atl United used 2 CBs (LGP, Parkhurst), and a RB (Escobar). I was an advocate for Shaq being that type of CB but with this roster. Cannon is the candidate for the right CB in a 3 CB formation.

  6. get Caden Clark in here ASAP, although I could see Berhalter going for Mueller instead because he’s not coming off an injury and knows what Greg wants from working with the USMNT in January camp…..Trusty I would like to see too!


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