If notable national team observers are to be believed, the United States is about to get a healthy dose of Jorstian Mordan during the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup. In fact, it would have to be considered a genuine shock if both Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris weren’t called up together given that all six sites we surveyed predicted just that.
Stars and Stripes FC, Soccer America, American Soccer Now, MLSsoccer.com, Sports Illustrated and Goal.com all also agreed that Clint Dempsey will not be among the initial 23-man roster that will be formally announced on Sunday. Of the five sites that went as far as predicting potential changes in the roster that would come after the group stage, three of them suggested Dempsey was a likely choice but no one seemed to think he was an absolute lock.
All of this does make quite a bit of sense, especially when you consider that the roster will be heavy on MLS talent who are mostly younger players with limited national team experience.
As such, Roldan and Morris will be entering the camp — likely after Sunday’s game — with similar objectives, to earn themselves bigger roles. Morris is a reasonably established part of the team, but he’s only been an option off the bench in matches that matter under Bruce Arena. A strong tournament could potentially allow him to grab some starts in World Cup qualifiers. The chances of Roldan earning a starting spot for qualifiers doesn’t seem particularly high at this point — especially given how stacked the central midfield is — but a strong showing in the Gold Cup is his chance to show he at least belongs in the conversation.
Assuming the roster works out as predicted, the Sounders would be missing Roldan and Morris for the July 4 match against the Colorado Rapids. A worst-case scenario for the Sounders would involve Dempsey being called up for the knockout stage, neither Roldan nor Morris being sent back and the USMNT advancing to the July 26 final. In that scenario, the Sounders would be missing all three players for home games against D.C. United (July 19) and San Jose Earthquakes (July 23), as well as the Open Cup match at San Jose on June 28. They should have them back in time for the July 29 match at the LA Galaxy.