CONCACAF released the preliminary 60-player rosters submitted by the 25 participating teams on Thursday, giving some clues into how US Soccer plans to divide its player pool between the two major summer competitions.
The 23-man final roster for the CONCACAF Nations League was also released by US Soccer at the same time, and contains most of what would be considered the preferred first-team players available within the program.
The organization and interim coach BJ Callaghan have already made clear that they plan to call in two very different squads for the two competitions, however with several names appearing on both lists, some overlap is likely.
The 60 names released by CONCACAF will be carved down to the final 23 players, which will likely be announced by US Soccer in approximately two weeks, around the time that the team is in final preparations for their Nations League semifinal match against Mexico on June 15.
While the list offers few major surprises in terms of names that do appear, the omission of several players is noteworthy.
USMNT captain Tyler Adams, who has struggled with injuries during the last few months and was included on the preliminary roster for the Nations League, was indeed also left off of the Gold Cup roster. Adams is also facing a likely transfer away from relegated Leeds in the summer, so his unclear club situation could have also factored into his omission.
Perhaps in a similar situation is defender Sergiño Dest, who is coming off of a failed loan at AC Milan, and will be spending much of the summer looking for an exit from parent club FC Barcelona.
Also notable is the lack of both Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath on the list; both had respectable seasons in England’s second tier and have been seen amongst the top three or four keepers in the pool. However, similar to their omission from the final Nations League roster, both are left out of any possibility to participate in the Gold Cup.
Both players were on-loan at their respective clubs, with Horvath even helping Luton to win promotion to the Premier League. Steffen underwent knee surgery following the completion of the season, and will spend the summer recovering in order to hopefully be ready for the start of the 2023-24 season. Callaghan also indicated that Horvath was held back by an injury in his press conference discussing the Nations League roster.
Compared to the final Nations League Roster, the defensive trio of Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson and Walker Zimmerman is also missing, however several other defenders who barely missed the cut for that roster do appear, notably John Brooks and Mark McKenzie.
Several young players who are currently competing in the ongoing U-20 World Cup in Argentina also appear in the preliminary list, perhaps a nod to their so-far successful run in reaching the quarterfinal to face Uruguay.
This includes keeper Gabriel Slonina, defenders Jonathan Gomez, Caleb Wiley and Joshua Wynder, and forward Cade Cowell. They are joined by fellow U-20 defender Jalen Neal, who was not released by LA Galaxy for the World Cup, but could be in line for a call-up after a successful first part of the MLS season.
With most of the Nations League participants expected to drop out of the Gold Cup, the door could be opened to fringe players such as Marlon Fossey, McKenzie, Bryan Reynolds, Erik Palmer-Brown, Djordje Mihailovic, Tanner Tessmann, Brandon Vazquez or others to force themselves into a prominent role.
Finally, while forward Malik Tillman is still recovering from an injury suffered late in the season with Rangers, his brother Timothy, a current standout at LAFC, was selected, just weeks after filing his one-time switch to represent the US.
The team will likely begin to gather in mid-June for a pre-tournament training camp, and will play their first game on Saturday, June 24 against Jamaica at Soldier Field in Chicago.
USMNT PRELIMINARY GOLD CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (5): Drake Callender, Sean Johnson, Matt Turner, Roman Celentano, Gabriel Slonina
DEFENDERS (19): John Brooks, Marlon Fossey, Jonathan Gomez, DeJuan Jones, Aaron Long, Mark McKenzie, Matt Miazga, Shaq Moore, Jalen Neal, Bryan Reynolds, Miles Robinson, James Sands, Joe Scally, Erik Palmer-Brown, John Tolkin, DeAndre Yedlin, Auston Trusty, Caleb Wiley, Joshua Wynder
MIDFIELDERS (20): Brenden Aaronson, Taylor Booth, Gianluca Busio, Johnny Cardoso, Luca de la Torre, Julian Gressel, Richard Ledezma, Brooks Lennon, Weston McKennie, Djordje Mihailovic, Aidan Morris, Keaton Parks, Kellyn Acosta, Paxton Pomykal, Yunus Musah, Cristian Roldan, Alan Soñora, Tanner Tessmann, Timothy Tillman, Jackson Yueill
FORWARDS (16): Paul Arriola, Tyler Boyd, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Cade Cowell, Matthew Hoppe, Jordan Morris, Gio Reyna, Jordan Pefok, Brandon Vazquez, Ricardo Pepi, Haji Wright, Alejandro Zendejas, Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Folarin Balogun