There’s no speculation like roster speculation, but at the very least, the Concacaf Gold Cup contenders have given more insight into how they’ll build their teams for next month’s regional championship.
The nations that will compete in the Gold Cup, including the guest nation Qatar and those that still have a qualifying round to go through, have revealed their preliminary rosters for the competition, with a roster of up to 60 players each as part of the selection process. of its end. equipment.
Preliminary rosters represent a formal step and are ultimately really long lists of names in the player pool of each respective nation. “Shrinking” the pools to 60 or more players isn’t really doing much, and those final 23-player rosters aren’t expected until the end of the month. But the preliminary squads make give an indication on the thinking and approach of managers to the competition.
The United States, for example, have long made it clear that their best team will not be called up for this competition. It has been said that the high-level contingent based in Europe will have a break after a long and compressed season and will link up with their clubs for the preseason at the time of the Gold Cup. So that means there is no expectation that Nations League winning stars such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams, Sergiño Dest and more are produced. That was confirmed with the launch of the preliminary US list on Friday. But not all nations are necessarily following suit.
Canada, for example, has included its top three European-based talents: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Cyle Larin on its preliminary list. Mexico, meanwhile, has its entire 23-man team for the Nations League finals as part of its 60-man group, and while Hirving Lozano, Tecatito Corona and other European stars may not necessarily be in the league. competition, at least they remain. within the next few weeks.
Here are some more and notable takeaways from the Concacaf list dump, preceding the one that really matters:
The United States does not omit the entire European contingent
While top players from the US won’t be participating in the Gold Cup, that doesn’t mean some from Europe aren’t being considered.
Reggie Cannon, Julian Green, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Erik Palmer-Brown, Matthew Hoppe, Shaq Moore, and Nicholas Gioacchini are all European-based players in the 59-man mix, though how the transfer window and demands remain to be seen. of the club. it will impact his actual availability (Daryl Dike, who was on loan at Barnsley, has returned to Orlando City, but could also move abroad this summer). From that group, Green and Cannon were called up to the most recent camp, with the former making his long-awaited return to the field in a USA uniform in a May 30 friendly against Switzerland and the latter as part of the victory of the League of Nations. team.
In total, only Cannon, Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget and Jackson Yueill are preliminary holdovers from the Nations League team roster. United States coach Gregg Berhalter had previously indicated that center-backs Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson were players he was looking for for the Gold Cup and, barring injury, can be included in two of the 23 spots.
Another intriguing carryover item is that of veteran players. Brad Guzan, Jozy Altidore and Gyasi Zardes have been included in the larger group, while Michael Bradley, among others, has not. At this point, Berhalter’s core is getting considerably younger and fairly transparent, but it’s still worth monitoring who stays in the frame and who doesn’t, with the compressed ranking format perhaps forcing the manager to dig deeper into their group. of players than in previous cycles.
At the other end of the spectrum is the sheer number of young players included, and a telling addition is 17-year-old Mexican-American defender from Louisville City, Jonathan Gomez. It’s not unheard of for US lower-league players to be vetted by the USMNT, but it’s unusual. Another intriguing 17-year-old is Moses Nyeman, born in Liberia of DC United, who is in the process of obtaining his US citizenship.
Beyond the core of the Mexican League of Nations …
Javier “Chicharito” Hernández has been in his best scoring form for the LA Galaxy this season after their well-documented 2020 struggles, and Tata Martino has included El Tri’s all-time leading scorer on the preliminary list. The 33-year-old has not played for Mexico since a friendly against the United States in September 2019, in which he scored the opening goal as part of a 3-0 victory, the last of his 52 international goals.
He is joined by his teammate, Efraín Álvarez, who maintains US eligibility and appeared at a winter camp with the USMNT. It seems more and more that he is leaning towards El Tri, and a Gold Cup appearance would link him to his parents’ nation of birth.
A new addition for Mexico is Monterrey striker Rogelio Funes Mori, who has just received the go-ahead from FIFA to switch his allegiance to Argentina. The 30-year-old has been a Monterrey stalwart in Liga MX and strengthens Martino’s options up front.
El Salvador’s US contingent grows
El Salvador, who will host the USA in the opening match of the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying Octagonal, is coached by a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and former USA youth and international youth coach. In Hugo Pérez. His nephew, Joshua Pérez, is a former American youth product. Eriq Zavaleta and Walmer Martínez, born in the United States, were part of the team that helped La Selecta qualify for the Octagonal.
Well, El Salvador is expanding its reach, recruiting Seattle Sounders right-back Alex Roldan, whose teammate and older brother Cristian is very likely to be on America’s final roster. Alex Roldan is in the process of finalizing his eligibility to play for El Salvador, but if completed in time, there could well be a brother versus brother showdown, either in the Gold Cup or qualifying for the World Cup in the future. . Other possible US-born additions to El Salvador include California-native and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Eric Calvillo and New Jersey-born New Mexico United forward Amando Moreno, who was also part of Hugo Pérez’s preliminary squad.
Akinola appears to be from Canada
A year after her outstanding summer performance at the MLS Is Back tournament, Ayo Akinola appears to have made her international choice. The Toronto FC forward is part of Canada’s preliminary selection, which doesn’t lock him into anything. But, as with Álvarez and Mexico, if Akinola made it to the Gold Cup squad and appeared in a match, that would be because of his international loyalty. Akinola, 21, played and scored for the USA in a friendly against El Salvador in December 2020, but has only appeared in Canada’s camp since then.
Jamaica rocks for a great addition
It’s no secret that Jamaica has been trying to expand its pool of players with English internationals who also have Jamaican eligibility, and West Ham forward Michail Antonio is one of those who has sworn allegiance to the Reggae Boyz. He has yet to make his debut, though, as an injury prevented him from facing the United States in March, but he could come in the Gold Cup. Coming off consecutive 10-goal Premier League seasons, the 31-year-old would add an instant boost. to the attack of Jamaica.
Reading’s Liam Moore and Watford’s Andre Gray are two of the other recent dual-national additions to Theodore Whitmore’s squad, and both are included in the preliminary squad, as is Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.