Arena Unveils U.S. Roster for Gold Cup

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By JACK BELL

download-1Sixteen players from 11 Major League Soccer teams are part of the 23-man roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup announced by Coach Bruce Arena on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a good roster with a nice blend of experienced, veteran players and a good group of newcomers as well,” Arena to USsoccer.com. “There’s good balance at every position. We can play a number of ways, and I think all these players have a desire to play for the U.S. 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.”

U.S. players began reporting to training camp in Nashville on Sunday ahead of Saturday’s exhibition against Ghana in East Hartford, Conn. The American team opens the tournament against Panama in Nashville on Saturday, July 8.

After calling in 43 players for a training camp, Arena whittled his roster to 23, a list that must be submitted to CONCACAF by Tuesday. He left off the majority of Europe-based players (Tim Ream, for example) and also omitted several veterans (Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey) who play in MLS. Arena did select four who play in Mexico’s Liga MX in addition to Kenny Saief, who plays in Belgium and only recently received a change of association (from Israel, where he was a youth international). The roster also includes Dom Dwyer, a native of England who received his U.S. citizenship in March.

“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.”

NYCFC’s Sean Johnson was the only player selected from a club in the New York area; while the former Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty is also part of the squad. Arena dropped NYCFC’s Tommy McNamara, who was part of the 43-man contingent, and chose not to include the Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams, who is coming off a strong performance in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The roster (MLS unless noted otherwise):

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United ), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/Mexico), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/England), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/England), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, Mexico), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent/Belgium), Gyasi Zardes (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)