After last night’s friendly flop against Jamaica, it is time for the Men’s National Team to pare down its roster for the Gold Cup. Head coach Gregg Berhalter unveiled the 23-man lineup this morning:
Some of these are no-brainers – for example, the four players chosen to represent their given position groups in the graphics – but there are some semi-surprising omissions: young striker Josh Sargent and winger Jonathan Amon skipped out on the U20 World Cup to go to pre-Gold Cup camp with the senior team, and now won’t make the list.
I remain a skeptic on Omar Gonzalez – he’s certainly an OK player, but he’s moving back to MLS this Summer, already over 30, and also scored an own-goal to prevent the USMNT from making the World Cup for the first time since before he was born. Any individual piece of that is not disqualifying. There has to be a certain point at which the combination is too much to bear. There are a couple other guys who you could consider borderline, as well (Daniel Lovitz and Nick Lima, though like Gonzalez, it’s clear they’re Berhalter’s guys).
A couple seem to have played their way in during the camp: Duane Holmes was one of the few bright spots last night, and Tyler Boyd is in the midst of his first call-up after filing a one-time switch from New Zealand.
In all, it’s a pretty good roster, if not the most inspiring the US has ever put out. That sort of makes sense with the U20 World Cup ongoing in Poland, U23 Olympic qualifying coming up in October, and of course the simple fact that it’s the first competitive tournament under a new coach who’s still trying to get a feel for his team. Add Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Christian Pulisic to last night’s roster (or, heck, Jozy Altidore – I like Josh Sargent but remain a skeptic that he’s anything special yet), and the result – and the feelings about the game – are completely different. Is it a little troubling that the depth doesn’t seem to be all that impressive without those Bundesliga standouts? Certainly. Better hope they’re healthy for the next month.