As expected, Bruce Arena made six changes to the U.S. national team's 23-player roster for the Gold Cup quarterfinals. Additions include first-team regulars Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. Among those returning to their MLS clubs are four players who started two games in the just-completed group stage.
Goalkeepers Brad Guzan, midfielders Alejandro Bedoya and Kelyn Rowe and forward Dom Dwyer, who each started two games, departed along with Cristian
Roldan, who started against Martinique, and Sean Johnson, the lone player on the 23-player roster for the group stage who didn't start.
"The six players that left did a very
good job for us," said Arena. "Three of the changes we knew in advance of the tournament. We needed to make three others."
July 19 in Philadelphia, Pa.
QF1: Costa Rica vs. Panama, FS1, UniMas, 6 pm
QF2: USA vs. El Salvador, FS1, Univision, 9 pm ET.
July 20 in Glendale, Ariz.
QF3: Jamaica vs. Canada, FS1, UniMas, 7:30 pm
QF4: Mexico vs. Honduras, FS1, Univision, 10:30 pm ET.
Guzan and Johnson, both
goalkeepers were scheduled to return to their MLS clubs -- in Guzan's case, to his new MLS club, Atlanta United -- in place of Howard and Jesse Gonzalez, whose switch of association
wasn't approved by FIFA until after Concacaf's roster deadline for the group stage. Bedoya's wife, Norwegian Beatrice Hilland, is about to give birth to their second child.
debate was then over who would be the other three players to cut. Dwyer and Rowe were something of surprises to depart. They teamed up for the lone goal scored by Dwyer against Panama (1-1 tie) while
Rowe scored the second goal in Saturday's 3-0 win over Nicaragua.
Altidore and Nagbe will replace Dwyer and Rowe in like-for-like moves in the starting lineup. The thinking appears to
have been that Juan Agudelo and Jordan Morris, who remain with the team, are more versatile options off the bench up front than Dwyer, who is an out-and-out striker and wouldn't have
start with Altidore available. With Bedoya, another wide midfielder, also gone, Rowe's departure is more puzzling.
"All of [the decisions] are difficult," said Arena. "All of the players
did well. I thought Dom, Cristian and Kelyn did very well for us, and I told them that. They're players that we're obviously going to continue to keep an eye on, and continue to obviously have them in
The USA struggled to put away its three opponents in Group B before winning the group on goal difference over Panama. Arena suggested that the less experienced players who
will remain with the team will do better as complements to the nucleus of vets he has recalled.
"It's a difficult tournament," he said. "and when you play so many less experienced and
younger players together, it's difficult. It's not easy. Probably the perfect way to do that is to mix in more veteran players. But we wanted to give everyone an opportunity, and that's the way we
decided to do it, and I think they came through with passing grades, all of them."
U.S. Roster (Club; Caps/Goals):
Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0)
Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 3/0)
Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 115/0)
Besler (Sporting KC; 42/1)
Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 42/2)
Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 4/0)
Eric Lichaj (Nott. Forest/ENG; 12/0)
Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 3/1)
Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 2/0)
Jorge Villafana (Santos, MEX; 9/0)
Graham Zusi (Sporting KC; 51/5)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 11/1)
Arriola (Tijuana/MEX; 8/2)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 133/17)
Joe Corona (Tijuana/MEX; 20/3)
Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 10/0)
Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers;
Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union; 4/0)
Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 34/6)
Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 25/3)
(Toronto FC; 104/37)
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders; 134/56)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 19/4)
*New players in bold.