Three Big Storylines:
- You may be asking why the USMNT is playing this game? It is the lone warm up match before the Gold Cup starts. The USMNT will be trying to win CONCACAF’s championship in July and their group game are Panama (July 8 in Nashville), Martinique (July 12 in Tampa) and Nicaragua (July 15 in Cleveland). Today’s game features the roster that will contest the group stage of the Gold Cup. There is an opportunity to make as many as six roster changes between the group stage and the knockout stage. The final will be held July 26th in Santa Clara.
- This is the last practical chance for a player outside of the full national team picture to make a real positive impression and greatly bolster his chances to make the World Cup roster next summer. The USMNT has a long history of one or two players not on any predicted roster 12 months before the World Cup making the roster and contributing, the Gold Cup is that opportunity. In 2014 it was DeAndre Yedlin coming from the Sounders Academy, 2009’s Gold Cup was Stuart Holden making his case to make the 2010 World Cup, 2006 saw Jimmy Conrad be that addition, 2002 was the inclusion of two young players from the successful U20 team in Landon Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley, while the 1998 roster was shook up the year before the tournament for a variety of reasons that could make an entire book and not a Three Big Storylines list.
- So who will grasp that chance and maybe make the journey to Russia next summer, assuming the USMNT qualify? Kenny Saief and Dom Dwyer both recently made a one time switch to the USMNT and will be looking to make a Gold Cup impression. Juan Agudelo was once the USMNT “Next Big Thing” and had a Premier League contract with Stoke City at the age of 20 before being denied a work permit somewhat derailed his progress. Agudelo is playing well for the New England Revolution and is still only 24 years old. Eric Lichaj is getting his first extended look for the USMNT since 2013 and has been playing well in the English Championship for years. The last name on this list is Christian Roldan. As Seattle Sounders fans well know, Roldan’s progress since joining the team has been stellar and at 22 years old is still approaching his prime. Roldan will be making his full national team debut in July.
From a Sounders Point of View:
If the USMNT makes the Gold Cup Final, this will be the first of seven matches for Jordan Morris and Christian Roldan with the national team this month.
My thoughts on Roldan were covered above and if he does see the field I expect his work rate and quality to translate to the national team level (not always a given, some good players are unable to make that transition for a variety of reasons). If he earned the chance for minutes in training this week, I fully expect him to grasp the opportunity and make another leap in development.
Jordan Morris has long been thought of as a lock for Russia. But I think this tournament is really important to his chances especially given his early season struggles to score in MLS play. Assuming everyone is healthy (a big assumption) next summer the first three forwards named to the roster will likely be Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey. That leaves one spot for a forward. While Morris is seemingly the leader for that spot right now, watch out for his Gold Cup counterparts Dom Dwyer and Juan Agudelo.
National TV Listings:
USMNT v Ghana
Date/Time: Saturday, 1:45 PM (pregame coverage starts a 1)
Location: Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field; East Hartford, Conn.
TV: ESPN, UniMas & Univision Deportes
Streaming: Watch ESPN & Univision Deportes
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 54/0), Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 2/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 5/0)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 39/1), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 39/1), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 2/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 11/0), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 2/0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 1/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX; 6/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 48/5)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 8/0), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 5/2), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 60/2), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX; 17/2), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 6/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 0/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 0/0), Kenny Saief (Gent/BEL; 0/0), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 31/7)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 23/3), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 15/2)
GOALKEEPERS: Joseph Addo (Aduana Stars; 0/0), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars; 4/0)
DEFENDERS: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew SC/USA; 78/0), Lumor Agbenyenu (1860 Munich/GER; 1/0), Jerry Akaminko (Eskiserhispor/TUR; 11/1), John Boye (Sivasspor/TUR; 60/4), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC/USA; 58/1), Nicholas Opoku (Berekum Chelsea; 0/0), Samuel Sarfo (Liberty Professionals; 0/0), Rashid Sumalia (Al Gharafa/QAT; 8/0),
MIDFIELDERS: Mohammed Abu (Columbus Crew SC/USA; 5/0), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht/BEL; 19/2), Thomas Agyepong (NAC Breda/NED; 1/0), Winful Cobbinah (Hearts of Oak; 0/0), Ofori Ebenezer (Stuttgart/GER; 1/0), Gershon Koffie (New England Revolution 0/0), Kwadwo Poku (Miami FC/USA; 1/0), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor/TUR; 1/0)
FORWARDS: David Accam (Chicago Fire/USA; 8/1), Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich/SUI; 1/0), Asamoah Gyan (Al-Alhi/UAE; 102/49), Majeed Waris (Lorient/FRA; 27/4)
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT v International Friendly gamethread. Watch with us.