Christian Pulisic Holds Keys For USMNT Success At Gold Cup

After two recent friendly defeats, there are now more questions about Gregg Berhalter's USA side heading into the Gold Cup than there were a month ago. Injuries have robbed the manager of a couple of players in his squad, most notably Tyler Adams and John Brooks. Those two absences alone, though, don't account for worrying signs in the losses to Jamaica and Venezuela, games in which the U.S. failed to score a single goal.

Despite the concerns, the U.S. should make it out of their group at the Gold Cup without much issue. Berhalter's side opens up against Guyana, and Panama has the potential to test the limits of the U.S. side. And of course, the last time the U.S. faced off against Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean side knocked the U.S. out of qualifying for the World Cup.

But whose performances on the field will dictate success for the U.S. at the Concacaf tournament? The U.S. will have to get standout performances from all over the board to repeat as Gold Cup champions, but we take a look at who can or will contribute the most to another triumph for the USA.

Honorable Mention: Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore

Most of the old guard, players from the 2014 and 2018 World Cup cycles, have been phased out of the national team picture. Rightfully so of course, and that's without even taking into account the failure to make the World Cup in Russia.

The two most senior players who have retained a role in Berhalter's setup, though, have been lightning rods amongst U.S. fans over the past decade. They might not have as prominent roles as time passes in the 2022 World Cup cycle, or even at the Qatar tournament should the U.S. qualify. But in 2019, the Toronto FC pair remain two of the more important players for Gregg. 

Both are overcoming injuries but will likely be starters so long as they are fit for this tournament. As the only players with more than 50 caps in the squad (and by a long way, Bradley has 145 caps, Altidore 110), Berhalter will lean on the two not only for their ability but for their experience at the international level. 

Key Player: Christian Pulisic

This an obvious choice, but for good reason. The then-teenager did everything in his power back in 2017 to help the U.S. try to qualify for the World Cup, only for the team to come up short. Pulisic has mostly spent the past year and a half away from the national team, going through ebbs and flows with Borussia Dortmund. 

Pulisic seemed on the outs at Dortmund this past season, being usurped by English starlet Jadon Sancho. Pulisic agreed to a move in January to English side Chelsea, smashing the record for a transfer fee paid for an American player. The youngster finished the season with Dortmund though and even made his presence known late on in the campaign, as Dortmund finished second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. 

In a tournament missing some of its luster due to the number of star players that are absent, Pulisic has a chance to stand out as the best player. It's a big ask, since Pulisic's previous time with the national team has seen him playing in a more secondary row. Now, he'll be the focal point for opponents to key in on.

And a question that still surrounds Pulisic is where Berhalter will use the 20-year-old. For club, Pulisic has been used as a winger. That's where he started his life with the U.S., but he has been shuttled back and forth with a more central role. Having not appeared in either of the pre-tournament friendlies, we can't be too sure where Pulisic will be played, but the general thinking is that the youngster might be deployed as the most attacking midfielder in a 4-3-3 look for the U.S.

The form of Berhalter's team should definitely give fans pause going into the Gold Cup. But at the same time, Mexico has been decimated by injuries and players not wanting to partake in the tournament. Jamaica and Canada and Costa Rica could cause an upset or two, but if the U.S. can retain their title, it will be in large part because of the influential play of Christian Pulisic.

Concacaf Nations League Concludes Wild October In Leagues B & C

Exhale.

Canada Shock The USA & Costa Rica Can't Win In League A Action

After not being part of the opening games of the Concacaf Nations League back in September, the four top-seeded teams in League A all played twice over the past week to kick off their tournament. Having watched from the sidelines on the first two matchdays, these seeded teams knew what they would need to put themselves into a good position heading into the final games in November.

FloSports Announces Multiyear Partnership with ECAC

AUSTIN, Texas — October 15, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) announced a partnership in collaboration with Collegiate Sports Management Group to provide live and on-demand coverage of 120 ECAC Championship Games across the FloSports network and potentially many more. Fans can watch the games annually through 2022.

Liga MX Sensation José Juan Macías Gives Mexico Another Attacking Talent

This past April, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) found themselves at a catch-22. 

Concaclusions, Ep. 6: Curaçao Impress Again & Mr. Showtime Strikes Again

The Concacaf Nations League kicked into full gear over the last week with opening acts by Mexico, the U.S., Honduras, and Costa Rica. Everything went according to plan for the big boys in the region, with the lone exception of Costa Rica, who find themselves in a dogfight with Curaçao and Haiti. 

Mexico Rides José Juan Macías In Bermuda Win, Looks To Panama Next

Gerardo Martino used Mexico's first Concacaf Nations League game to experiment with his side and give a couple of inexperienced players a chance at the international stage. Mexico is expected to sweep through Group B in League A and grab one of the semifinal spots of the tournament next year. The player who made the most of his chance was 20-year-old José Juan Macías, who scored two goals in El Tri's 5-1 rout of Bermuda on the road. 

Costa Rica Draw Latest In Unpredictable Results In Nations League

We are almost at the halfway point of the group stage of the first Concacaf Nations League, and surprising results continue to be the story of the tournament. The latest result came last night, when Costa Rica played on the road against Haiti in the Bahamas and walked away with only a point in a 1-1 draw — and they only managed that thanks to Keylor Navas. It wasn't the worst result for Costa Rica, who will still fancy their chances to group Group D in League A and advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Keylor Navas Rescues Costa Rica vs Haiti In Concacaf Nations League

Even with a new manager at the helm and captain Bryan Ruiz absent, Costa Rica enter Concacaf Nations League play as the prohibitive favorites to take League A, Group D and advance to the next round in 2020.

Mexico & Bermuda Square Off In The Concacaf Nations League

It’s not a party without El Tri.

Attack-Minded Fullback Alan Mozo Could Debut For Mexico In Nations League

With only five weeks remaining in the 2019 Liga MX Apertura, it’s safe to say that it’s been a season of surprises in Mexico. The likes of Rayados and Chivas have been sore disappointments, while the likes of Querétaro and Necaxa have been pleasant surprises. But whilst surprises, for better or worse, have been the theme of the season, there have also been several realities confirmed.