The U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) kicks off their participation in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup tournament against 2019 semifinalist Haiti tonight at Children’s Mercy Park (CMP) in Kansas City, Kansas. The USA has more wins in the Gold Cup than any other nation, going 61-9-9 all-time.
A majority of the 23 players who make up this roster comprise the newest development pool that head coach Gregg Berhalter is evaluating. Only fours players played in the recent Concacaf Nation’s League games in Denver.
Berhalter’s roster does include familiar faces to recent U-23 and senior teams’ rosters. Colorado Rapids’ Sam Vines, Kellyn Acosta, and Jonathan Lewis bring their youth-filled energy, skills, and experiences to this important tournament that will be played in Kansas, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.
Acosta starred for the Yanks in the Nations League final against rival Mexico.
The U.S. will also face Group B foes Canada and Martinique this week at CMP, home to Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City and National Women’s Soccer League club Kansas City NWSL.
During a recent press conference hosted by U.S. Soccer, Berhalter stated, “When we were looking at both the Gold Cup and the Nations League, we were thinking about one big roster picture, not two separate rosters, the idea was to prepare our entire player pool in a competitive Concacaf format for World Cup qualifying.”
He added, “When you look at this roster, it’s basically another group of players that’s going to get the opportunity to compete to win a trophy. By the end of this tournament, we’re going to have virtually the entire player pool prepared for World Cup qualifying.”
This will be the last competitive tournament that Team USA will play in before FIFA’s 2022 World Cup qualification play commences in September.
To qualify, the Yanks will need to leverage all of its depth and run the table with wins in the seven-month 2021-2022 Concacaf Octagonal, which will continue through March 2022. The new format includes more games over a condensed timeframe.
Eight teams will compete for three berths to the World Cup during international open windows rather than 18, and four of five windows will include teams playing three matches in seven days. Roster depth will be critical for the Stars and Stripes to advance.
Berhalter and his coaching staff will use this development camp and tournament, plus those he hosted in the past nine months to select his World Cup qualification team.
The head coach expects to win this tournament. His remixed roster averages just under 25 years of age. Nine players are 23 years or younger. Sam Vines is 22, Jonathan Lewis, 24, and Acosta, 25. The swift left-footed Vine brings three caps to the team, while Lewis has 7, and Acosta has 31.
“We don’t want to look at this as an experimental team. We want to look at this as a team that can compete to win the Gold Cup. Let’s be really clear with that,” Berhalter said during the same media event. ”And that is going to be our expectations. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. But we think there’s enough backbone in this group. We think there’s enough veteran leadership in this group to make a run at winning the Gold Cup.”
Six players have Gold Cup titles under their belts including Kellyn Acosta, Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Paul Arriola, Cristian Roldan, and Gyasi Zardes. Three teammates more bring prior experience at the tournament: Jonathan Lewis, Reggie Cannon, and Walker Zimmerman.
According to U.S. Soccer, L.A. Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget is the only senior men’s national team player to appear in all 11 of the team’s matches over the last two years. He is tied for the team’s goal-scoring lead this year with three goals. Gyasi Zardes’ team-leading 16 Gold Cup caps currently place him in a tie with Kyle Beckerman and former Colorado Rapids player and gaffer, Pablo Mastroeni, for 10th on the USMNT’s all-time Gold Cup appearances list.
Since 2018, Zardes leads all U.S.eligible players in MLS with 47 goals. The veteran striker also sits eighth all-time on the USMNT’s Gold Cup scoring list with four goals. Berhalter will be depending on the Columbus Crew attacker to come up big this week, and propel the Yanks to the next round of play. Since the start of the Gold Cup in 1991, the U.S. has gone an impressive 35-1-4 during the group stage.
USA vs Haiti
The U.S. and Haiti last met in the 2015 Gold Cup group stage in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Yank’s won 1-0 when Zardes set up Clint Dempsey for the lone goal.
The USMNT is 6-6-5 against Haiti all-time. Les Grenadiers are one of only two Concacaf teams against which the USA does not hold a winning record – the other is Team Mexico.
The last time the U.S. lifted the Gold Cup was in 2017 when they defeated Panama, 2-1, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
2021 GOLD CUP TOURNAMENT USMNT ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 22-Brad Guzan (Atlanta United; 64/0), 18-Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), 1-Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 1/0)
DEFENDERS (8): 21-George Bello (Atlanta United; 1/0), 2-Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 18/1), 20-Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP; 5/0), 4-Donovan Pines (D.C. United; 0/0), 12-Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 3/1), 16-James Sands (New York City FC; 0/0), 3-Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; 3/0), 5-Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 14/2)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 23-Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 31/2), 6-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), 17-Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 24/7), 10-Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 20/0), 19-Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; 0/0), 14-Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 12/0)
FORWARDS: (6): 7-Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 35/8), 11-Daryl Dike (Orlando City; 3/1), 8-Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 3/2), 13-Matthew Hoppe (Schalke/GER; 0/0), 15-Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 7/2), 9-Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 56/12)
USA SCHEDULE – 2021 GOLD CUP
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Sunday, July 11 at 7 p.m. MT
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park — Kansas City, Kansas
TV Information: FS1, Univision, and TUDN