U.S. Men's National Team Hosts Jamaica At Audi Field In Gold Cup Tune-Up

Gregg Berhalter gets another chance to test his system tonight ahead of the upcoming Gold Cup, as the United States men's national team takes on Jamaica at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. 

The tilt is the last chance for Berhalter to evaluate options for his roster for the Gold Cup, as the final 23-man squads are due by midnight. 

The game starts at 7 PM and will be shown on FS1, UniMas, and UDN.

In meeting with the media after yesterday's practice at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the new national team head coach said that most of the spots for the 23-man roster have been set but that final decisions on the last spots will be determined based on the game against Jamaica. 

"Most of the roster is set. There will be a few positions that are up for grabs," said Berhalter during Tuesday's press conference. "We will make a few decisions based on tomorrow's game."

Just about everyone who will be on the roster has been in Annapolis over the past few days, working to impress the new boss. The only two players missing are Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, neither of whom will be available against Jamaica.

Pulisic is set to join up with the squad on Friday, while Adams — after an excellent half season with RB Leipzig — will meet up with the squad on June 11, two days after the friendly against Venezuela in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Berhalter has had four games already this year to implement his style of play, after becoming the national team coach at the end of last year. Though this camp has been abbreviated for much of the group — who joined after the weekend's MLS games — the message has still been the same from the former Columbus Crew manager.

"We want to step on the field and be the team that is trying to push the game," said veteran midfielder Michael Bradley on Tuesday. "Clearly, the emphasis with Gregg is trying to have the ball, trying to put together passes, and trying to space ourselves in a good way, with how to play off of each other."

While there hasn't been much time for this group to work together before today's game, players spoke this week of the sharpness of the two training sessions at the Naval Academy.

"Guys are focused. It's been said that we have to get things moving quickly, because the game is on Wednesday," said center back Omar Gonzalez, who just moved from Mexico to Toronto FC. "And we need to get to work. Everyone is ready to get down to business. It's going to be a long month, from what I see, everyone is excited to be here."

The Gold Cup will be the first chance for some of the players on the squad to make their first competitive appearances at the senior national team level. With just a handful of holdovers from the previous World Cup cycle, the Gold Cup will give several players a chance to shine on an international stage.

Included in that group is goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Steffen, who said his farewells to the Columbus Crew on Saturday ahead of a summer move to Manchester City, is the presumed No. 1 for the U.S. Steffen has shone in friendlies for the U.S., but he is getting his first chance in an international tournament since playing for the USA U-20 squad at the 2015 U-20 World Cup.

"It's a big expectation, and a lot of pressure," Steffen said this week of his status as the No. 1. "It will make me better, it'll make the players around me better."

Opposite the U.S. tonight is a Jamaica team that has appeared in the previous two Gold Cup finals, which both ended in defeat for the Reggae Boyz. The squad will consist of five MLS players including forward Darren Mattocks, who played for D.C. United last year before moving to FC Cincinnati in the winter.

Jamaica will also have the services of winger Leon Bailey for the first time. Bailey has made waves in the past two years in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen. But the 21-year-old has declined call-ups in the past, potentially leaving options open to represent other nations. However, Bailey has finally accepted Jamaica's invitation and should be one of the standout performers at this month's Gold Cup.



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