U.S. soccer fans who last saw the men’s team lift the Concacaf Nations League trophy will be taken aback to see a lot of big names missing off the Gold Cup roster. Why is Pulisic not playing in Gold Cup? Where are the stars? The answer to these questions is quite simple.
Gregg Berhalter’s Gold Cup roster was released on July 1 and features 19 MLS players. The only returning players from the Concacaf Nations League final roster are Reggie Cannon, Kellyn Acosta, Jackson Yueill and Sebastian Lletget.
Why Is Pulisic Not Playing In Gold Cup?
Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna and all of the big stars will miss out on the Gold Cup because they will be taking part in preseason training and exhibition games with their European clubs. Pulisic will fly back across the pond to be with Chelsea while the USMNT hunts for a Gold Cup title.
This hasn’t been an issue for the USMNT in the past because the roster has rarely been comprised of so many Europe-based players. In the past, a USMNT roster being filled with MLS players has been the norm. Now with so much talent based overseas, the big names will sit out the Gold Cup to be with their European clubs.
Berhalter also knows he has crucial World Cup qualifying games on the docket and won’t want to overwork his star players. With the crammed club schedule from last season on top of the Nations League, the stars of the USMNT could use the break. Even if they're using their break trying to teach endangered fish how to play soccer.
But Didn’t Pulisic, Adams and McKennie Play In The 2019 Gold Cup?
The 2019 Gold Cup was played earlier than when the competition usually takes place. The Gold Cup usually begins in early-to-mid-July with the final being played in August. The 2019 edition was played a month earlier, thus allowing the Europe-based players to participate.
Should You Even Bother Watching This Year’s Gold Cup?
I mean for starters, you always want to support your country no matter who is playing. It won’t be nearly as exciting as seeing the big boys play, but it will be an excellent depth-test for the USMNT.
World Cup qualifying will be rigorous on top of all of the club play in the coming year. Depth is a must for the USMNT. This Gold Cup will be the best look at who will step up when a Pulisic or McKennie can’t play.
There’s also loads of hype around young players like Daryl Dike, Matthew Hoppe and Sam Vines. Watching these youngsters get a chance on a big stage will be exciting to watch.