After a tumultuous month, the USA finally begins their Gold Cup campaign this evening when they take on Guyana at Allianz Field, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gregg Berhalter will be hoping to get his team back on track after ugly friendly losses to Jamaica and Venezuela earlier this month. The game kicks off at 10 PM ET and will be broadcast on FS1 and UniMas.
The game against Guyana will be the first chance to see what lineup Berhalter might use with this specific group of players. Neither Christian Pulisic nor Michael Bradley participated in either friendly, and Jozy Altidore was limited to just 45 minutes in the second game, against the Vinotinto.
Defenders John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin were ruled out before the tournament due to injuries. Tyler Adams was named to the squad but had to be replaced by Reggie Cannon after the friendly against Venezuela. The RB Leipzig man was to be slowly brought along when showing up later to the U.S. camp but was eventually ruled out due to injury, robbing the U.S. of one of their bright stars of the chance to play in his first senior international tournament.
Duane Holmes also had to be replaced late, with Chicago Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailovic taking the place of the Derby County midfielder.
Some of the luster from Berhalter's early results with the USMNT has evaporated after the two losses in June. Berhalter experimented with this formation and lineup at Audi Field against Jamaica, but the Reggae Boyz had little issue in dispatching the Red, White, and Blue, as they were the better team on the night.
Berhalter then caused some consternation the next day when he left youngster Josh Sargent off his squad for the Gold Cup. Sargent had played all 90 minutes the night before, and though he had not stood out, he seemed to be a sure pick for the squad after not participating in the U-20 World Cup.
However, Berhalter said that an injury to Sebastien Lletget forced his hand, leaving the Werder Bremen striker to miss out on the Gold Cup roster.
In the first international game to be played at the newly christened Allianz Field, the U.S. will face off against Guyana, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at 177 in FIFA's ranking. The South American side qualified for the Gold Cup, their first ever, by finishing seventh in the Concacaf Nations League qualifying. However, the Golden Jaguars only qualified after a 2-2 draw against Barbados was later given as a 3-0 win to Guyana, due to Barbados fielding two ineligible players.
The U.S. will be hoping to beat Guyana in a similar fashion to Mexico's opening romp against Haiti, which saw the U.S.' biggest rivals win 7-0. The result and final scoreline won't mean much to the U.S., though, who will have to quiet some doubters later in the group, when they face off against Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.
The USMNT won the 2017 edition of the Gold Cup and are one behind Mexico for the all-time lead in triumphs.
Predicted USMNT Lineup: Zack Steffen, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Nick Lima, Michael Bradley, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Paul Arriola, Tyler Boyd, Jozy Altidore