The squad is formed, captain is chosen and everyone seems ready for this upcoming tournament after the last couple of successful friendlies the U.S. played. The next match on Friday, July 3rd against Guatemala will be the last preparation before the 2015 CONCAF Gold Cup starts.
The favorites to win this Gold Cup are the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico, which are the same nations from this region that participated in the World Cup.
It has been a year since the World Cup, when the U.S. played competitively for the last time, and unfortunately lost in the Round of 16 to Belgium. However, the U.S. is going into the Gold Cup with huge momentum after defeating teams like Netherlands and Germany, which many people doubted they could do. Therefore we can definitely expect them to come in with a lot of confidence.
It was difficult to have a consistent roster because of the clash with the MLS and international schedules. Many U.S. players compete in MLS and it is difficult for them to leave their club sides during their season to play international friendlies. However, we expect to see all of the main players together for this last game on July 3rd as the USMNT prepare to defend their Gold Cup title.
There are now three Californian players on the squad: Nick Rimano from Montclair, Gyasi Zardes from Hawthorne, and Chris Wondolowski from Danville.
The Californian players on the previous squad that did not get called for the Gold Cup are: Miguel Ibarra from Lancaster, Michael Orozco from Orange and Bobby Wood from Irvine.
We anticipate the 4-4-2 formation with Michael Bradley as the main playmaker, which is the same role he has at his club Toronto FC. All eyes are going to be on Bradley, as he is the only attacking midfielder the U.S. has right now, and the best one box-to-box as well. We have seen in the last couple of matches that he can control the game.
Coach Klinsmann already has his regular starters, but will use all of the substitutions allowed to test other players and see who is really ready for the tournament.
[quote_box_center]“I think the game against Guatemala will give us a really big hint toward the starting eleven a couple of days later in Dallas against Honduras,” said Klinsmann. “In the friendly with Guatemala we have the chance to use six subs. We will use all six subs most likely to give the players minutes and give them a chance to show us what they have. As we get closer to the opening game we’re going to zoom in and plan through hopefully a long tournament.”[/quote_box_center]
Klinsmann also wants to make sure all of his players are fit and strong heading in to the tournament since that is always one the U.S.’s strengths.
[quote_box_center]“We are pleased with the shape that the players were in coming in, especially the ones that were on a break,” Klinsmann said. “They had their training plans and they followed them, but still you’re not in a team environment and you’re not in a game rhythm. It’s really our job to get them up to game speed and get them sharp as quickly as possible, and with sharpness and physical shape comes confidence.”[/quote_box_center]
The expectations for any U.S. national team are always the high. For the U.S. women it might be a more attainable goal to be the best in the world, but for the men, this is a little tougher task, as there are other nations with a much stronger soccer history. However, both the fans and the confederation expect the U.S. to be on the top of the list, and this will be another chance for them to prove that they can.
[quote_box_center]“Well the message to the team is very straight forward. We are under the expectations of winning this tournament,” Klinsmann said. “Even if we know that teams like Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico all are very good teams and can also beat us, you’ve got to be on top of things. You’ve got to be very disciplined, you’ve got to be focused, and in a CONCACAF tournament you’ve got to be patient. We told the players right from the beginning that it’s expected that we go through it with a lot of discipline and with a lot of aggressiveness and a lot determination, and that they represent the most amazing country in the world and that they always keep in mind who they represent and what they stand for. It’s with that spirit we want to go into this Gold Cup.”[/quote_box_center]