Pulse.ng logo
Go

Bruce Arena US national team coach sets Gold Cup lineup with eye on World Cup

A squad dominated by talent from MLS features 13 players with less than 10 caps, four of them making their first appearance at a US team training camp.

  • Published: , Refreshed:
Matt Besler of the United States kicks the ball against Giovani Dos Santos of Mexico in the second half during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier November 11, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio play

Matt Besler of the United States kicks the ball against Giovani Dos Santos of Mexico in the second half during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier November 11, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio

(Getty/AFP/File)

US national team coach Bruce Arena named a 23-player roster Sunday for next month's Gold Cup, using the North American championship to evaluate talent for next year's World Cup.

A squad dominated by talent from Major League Soccer features 13 players with less than 10 caps, four of them making their first appearance at a US team training camp.

"Anytime you're in the midst of World Cup qualifying and very close to not only qualifying, but being at a World Cup a year later, you have to have a competitive environment," Arena said.

"These players will push to position themselves to be a big part of things moving forward."

Only three European-based players were selected, Chelsea defender Matt Miazga, Nottingham Forest defender Eric Lichaj and uncapped midfielder Kenny Saief of Gent.

Most Americans coming off the European season were used in World Cup qualifiers earlier this month, recording a 2-0 home win over Trinidad and Tobago and a 1-1 draw at Mexico to stand third in the six-team CONCACAF qualifying group with four matches to play. The top three teams claim automatic berths to Russia next year.

Arena took over the American team for a second time after last year's firing of ex-Germany star Jurgen Klinsmann after the Americans lost their first two qualifiers. The US has since won twice and drawn twice under Arena.

New England's Juan Agudelo and Seattle's Jordan Morris are joined by Kansas City newcomer Dom Dwyer in attack while Brad Guzan, with 54 caps, offers the most experience at goalkeeper.

Experienced defenders include Kansas City's Matt Besler, Mexico-based Omar Gonzalez of Pachuca and Kansas City's Graham Zusi while veteran midfielders Alejandro Bedoya of Philadelphia and Gyasi Zardes of Los Angeles are also included.

In all, 12 players on the roster have been part of the US World Cup qualifying effort.

"It's a good roster with a nice blend of experienced, veteran players and a good group of newcomers as well," Arena said. "There's good balance at every position. We can play a number of ways.

"I think all these players have a desire to play for the US and will be working hard. It will be a competitive camp. They are going to be highly motivated, very coachable and they have an opportunity to make a statement."

Players began camp Sunday at Nashville, Tennessee, ahead of a Gold Cup tune-up match next Saturday against Ghana at East Hartford, Connecticut.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.