The US Men’s National Team roster for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup was announced Thursday. Head coach Gregg Berhalter named a squad of 23 players for the tournament as the U.S. look to rebound from their 2019 loss to Mexico in the final. Among the players selected was Nashville SC centerback Walker Zimmerman, the reigning MLS Defender of the Year.
“Our priority is to win the Gold Cup. Anytime we’re competing for a trophy, we want to win it,” Berhalter said. “It’s going to take a good effort by the group, but it’s certainly a focus of ours. We know the games are going to be difficult, and as we looked at the roster for this tournament, we focused on guys who are in form and can help the team win.”
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United; 64/0),Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 1/0)
DEFENDERS (8): George Bello (Atlanta United; 1/0), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 18/1), Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP; 5/0), Donovan Pines (D.C. United; 0/0), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 3/1), James Sands (New York City FC; 0/0), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; 3/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 14/2)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 31/2), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 24/7), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 20/0), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; 0/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 12/0)
FORWARDS: (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 35/8), Daryl Dike (Orlando City; 3/1), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 3/2), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke/GER; 0/0), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 7/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 56/12)
The USMNT will compete in Group B against Canada, Martinique and a team yet to qualify through the play-in round. Their first match will take place on July 15 against Martinique at Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park.
Berhalter has opted for a much younger group. 12 of the 23 players in the squad have yet to earn a cap at the senior level, while the average age on the roster is just under 25 years old.
“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,” Berhalter said. “When you look at this roster, it’s basically another group of players that are 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.”
19 of the 23 players are based in MLS, with Boavista’s Reggie Cannon, Tenerife’s Shaq Moore, Caen’s Nicholas Gioacchini and Schalke’s Matthew Hoppe the loan European representatives.
“A lot of the work we’ve done since 2019 is to prepare this group and also build team cohesion. With this roster, many of the players are already familiar with how we do things, are already familiar with our environment and are already familiar with our style of play. I think that’s going to help us,” Berhalter said. “When you look at some of these core guys, like Walker [Zimmerman], Sebastian [Lleget], Kellyn [Acosta], Jackson [Yueill], Paul [Arriola], Gyasi [Zardes] … these are guys that have been in over these last two years and have been major parts of the team. Although it’s a young team, we think it’s an experienced team and we’re looking forward to getting even more experience in a Concacaf competition.”
The U.S. are favored to advance from Group B, and are one of the favorites to take home the trophy. They’ve won the tournament five times, and have made it to the final on ten occasions.
The 2021 Gold Cup kicks off on Saturday, July 10.