MCC- Gold Cup 2021 Preview
Written by Cole Godfrey
The Copa America has finished with Lionel Messi finally lifting his elusive international trophy. The Euros are set to conclude with England taking on Italy in the final. Up next is the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the international slate. Before the USMNT take the pitch against Haiti on July 11, 2021 8:30 PM EST, let's take a look at what's to come.
Coming off the heels of a CONCACAF Nations League trophy the Americans have rotated the squad heavily for the Gold Cup. With 19 of the 23 players playing domestically in the MLS. While having a rotated squad, the expectation remains the same, says head coach Gregg Berhalter, "We want to look at this as a team that can compete to win the Gold Cup, let's be really clear with that, and that's going to be our expectation."
I think it is safe to assume that the U.S. should get out of their respective group with the likes of Haiti, Martinique, and a Canada team that is going to be without their star power due to an ankle injury to Bayern Munich man Alphonso Davies. The all-time record for the U.S. in the Gold Cup group stage is 35-1-4. It will give coach Berhalter the chance to play the majority of the roster and get experience as he will send out a side with five Americans set to get their first cap.
Of all the debutantes, three to keep an eye on are midfielder Gianluca Busio of Sporting Kansas City, who has dazzled so far in MLS. The 19-year-old (North Carolina) born has two goals and three assists with a pass completion rate of 89.3%. The other to keep an eye on is Matthew Hoppe, who plays for FC Shalke 04 in Germany. The forward tallied 6 goals and 1 assist in 22 games this past season. And last but not least is Orlando City forward Daryl Dike. He has turned heads with his quickness and eye for goal with English Championship side Barnsley where he scored 9 goals in 22 appearances. This season with Orlando, he has 2 goals in 4 appearances.
Another intriguing storyline is goalkeeper Matt Turner from the New England Revolution. While there is a veteran presence in the position group with Brad Guzan of Atlanta United and Sean Johnson of D.C. United, I would look for Turner to get plenty of minutes in the group stage. He is the first New England player to win MLS player of the week honors since 2017 for his performance in a 3-2 win over NYCFC, and his Revolution team sit at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The midfield and the back have plenty of familiar names like Walker Zimmerman, Sebastian Lletget, and Cristian Roldan. With the trio of them fighting for some World Cup Qualifying time starting in September.
The favorites of the tournament look to be Mexico, who are coming off of the 3-2 loss to the U.S. in the Nations League final. El Tri have brought almost all the first-team squad to get some hardware this summer. However, they looked flat in a 0-0 draw to open Gold Cup play and look to have lost star Hirving Lozano, as he was stretchered off against Trinidad & Tobago with a head injury.
The U.S. look to build towards Qatar, and it starts tonight.