USMNT Squad for the CONCACAF 2021 Gold Cup: big name absences

Gregg Berhalter's men got their campaign underway after Sam Vines' first international goal was enough for the USA to get past Haiti at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

USMNT Squad for the CONCACAF 2021 Gold Cup: big name absences
Jay Biggerstaff USA TODAY Sports

The United States started their CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Haiti on Sunday.

Sam Vines' first international goal proved to be enough for the USA at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City. The eighth-minute header helped the USA make a winning start in Group B, in which they sit behind Canada, who crushed Martinique 4-1 earlier on Sunday.

USA vs Haiti in Gold Cup Group B game at Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, KSUS' forward Gyasi Zardes (C) kicks the ball away from Haiti's defender Kevin Lafrance (L) and midfielder Bryan Alceus (L) during their Concacaf Gold Cup football match at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Tim Vizer / AFP)

The USA are six-time Gold Cup champions, including winning two of the past four editions – in 2013 and 2017.

They went close to an opener in just the sixth minute, but Walker Zimmerman's volley from a corner hit the crossbar. However, they opened the scoring just three minutes later as Vines headed in powerfully from close range after Gyasi Zardes' pass from inside the area.

The USA continued to threaten and went close to doubling their lead in the 66th minute, but Nicholas Gioacchini hit the post with a side-footed effort.

Gregg Berhalter's side are next in action on Thursday, when they take on Martinique.

USNMT Gold Cup squad:

US coach Gregg Berhalter opted to select a somewhat experimental squad for the Gold Cup giving a chance to newer talents and largely MLS based players with the tournament something of a 'shop window' for individuals to impress and work their way into his plans ahead of the qualifying campaign for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United),Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

Defenders: George Bello (Atlanta United), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Shaq Moore (Tenerife), Donovan Pines (D.C. United), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), James Sands (New York City FC), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

Forwards: Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Daryl Dike (Orlando City), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)

Key absentees in US squad

As was anticipated before Gregg Berhalter named his Gold Cup squad, the head coach had per-warned that, with European clubs returning for pre-season in July, big name players like Christian Pulisic, Sergiño Dest and Weston McKennie would need to recharge their batteries and would struggle to fit in both the Nations League and the Gold Cup. “These guys need a break, so I can imagine them playing one of those tournaments and then getting rest,” he claimed.