The 2017 Gold Cup follows summer tournaments in 2005, 2009 and 2013 when the USA sent something less than first teams because of conflicts.
Still, it has managed to reach the finals
all three times, winning in 2005 and 2013. Its weakest team, assembled weeks after the Confederations Cup, lost to Mexico in the 2009 final.
Here's how the USA has done it in the three
summer Gold Cups held the year before the World Cup.
2005 Gold Cup: BACKGROUND.The 2005 Gold Cup was the fourth
for Bruce Arena as U.S. head coach. The USA won its second title in 2002, using the tournament that wrapped up on Feb. 2 to jumpstart its preparations for the 2002 World Cup, where it reached
the quarterfinals. The 2005 Gold Cup fell in the middle of the Hexagonal, where the USA won four of its first five games to be well placed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
PROJECTING AHEAD.Just eight of the 14 players who played in the final went to the World Cup a year later.
TRIVIA.DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan shared the Gold Cup goalscoring title with three other players. Donovan also shared the
scoring lead in 2003 and in 2013 (with Chris Wondolowski). Eric Wynalda (1998), Brian McBride (2002) and Clint Dempsey (2017) won outright scoring titles.
FINAL: July 24 in East Rutherford, N.J. USA 0 Panama 0. (PKs: 3-1) USA -- Keller; Hejduk,
Conrad, Onyewu, Vanney; Armas, O’Brien, Donovan; Dempsey (Davis, 84), Wolff (Quaranta, 62), Beasley (Olsen, 114). Panama -- Penedo; Rivera, Moreno, Torres, Baloy; Gomez, Blanco,
Medina (Henriquez, 87), Mitre (Rodriguez, 43); Jorge Dely Valdes, Tejada. Att.: 31,018.
2009 Gold Cup: BACKGROUND.The 2009 Gold Cup presented a particular challenge for head
coach Bob Bradley. Not only was the USA in the middle of the Hexagonal, where it was again in a great position to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in Germany with 13 out 15 points in its first
five games, but it was also coming off the Confederations Cup in South Africa, where it shocked Spain, 2-0, in the semifinals and led Brazil, 2-0, in the final before losing, 3-2.
PROJECTING AHEAD. Bradley gave seven players their first cap during tournament and six scored their first goal for the USA, though just two
players who suited up for the final -- Clarence Goodson and Stuart Holden -- made the 2010 World Cup roster.
TRIVIA. The 5-0 loss to Mexico in the final ended the USA’s 11-game unbeaten streak on U.S. soil against El Tri dating back to 1999 and was the first loss to a Concacaf
opponent at home in 58 matches.
FINAL: July 26 in East Rutherford, N.J. USA 0 Mexico 5. Goals:
Torrado pen. 57, G. dos Santos 64, Vela 70, Castro 79, Franco 90. USA -- Perkins; Heaps, Marshall, Goodson, Pearce; Holden, Pause (Quaranta, 64), Beckerman (Cronin, 81), Rogers; Ching,
Arnaud (Cooper, 64). Mexico -- Ochoa; Castro, Valenzuela, Magallon, Pinto; Torrado, Juarez, Castro (Esquivel, 89); G. dos Santos, Sabah (Franco, 70), Medina (Vela, 46). Att.:
2013 Gold Cup: BACKGROUND.Like other Gold Cups that came a year before the World Cup, the USA squad was largely a "B" team. Only one player who started the final -- Matt
Besler -- had played in the USA's most recent World Cup qualifier and he was an addition midway through the tournament as Concacaf modified its rules to allow roster changes at the quarterfinal
stage. The most notable player on the U.S. squad, though, was Donovan. He had not been picked for the first five Hexagonal matches after going on sabbatical and missing the start of the MLS season
with the LA Galaxy.
PROJECTING AHEAD. Donovan tied Wondolowski for the U.S. scoring lead with five goals and added seven
assists to win the Golden Ball as the tournament MVP but was cut from the final 23-player World Cup squad. Only seven players who played in the 2013 Gold Cup final went to Brazil.
TRIVIA. Both Beasley and Donovan won their fourth Gold Cup titles, having been members of the 2002, 2005 and 2007 squads.
FINAL: July 28 in Chicago USA 1 Panama 0. Goal: Shea 69. USA -- Rimando; Parkhurst, Goodson,
Besler, Beasley; Beckerman, Holden (Diskerud, 23); Bedoya (Gonzalez, 89), Donovan, Corona (Shea, 68); Johnson. Panama -- Penedo; Parris, C.Rodriguez, R.Torres, Chen, Godoy, Gomez
(Blackburn, 74), Sanchez, G.Torres (Jimenez, 65), Quintero, B.Perez. Att.: 57,920.