Photo Credit: US Soccer
After the group stage of the Gold Cup came a to conclusion, US men’s soccer coach Bruce Arena announced six changes to his roster.
Of the six players added to the roster, midfielders Michael Bradley and forward Clint Dempsey are the biggest names that were added. Also added to the roster are goalkeepers Tim Howard and Jesse Gonzalez, midfielder Darlington Nagbe, along with forward Jozy Altidore. These six new players are going to be replacing goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Sean Johnson, midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Cristian Roldan and Kelyn Rowe, and forward Dom Dwyer.
In a press release on their website, Arena indicated that he was excited to be adding experience as the team moved forward with a more experienced roster. “We have added some experienced players to the roster that can help us in the Knockout Round of the Gold Cup.” The coach then went on to add, “The players leaving all made a good impression, and I’m optimistic for their future with the National Team program.”
Bradley has played in 17 games this season, and he’s been a crucial part of Toronto FC’s hot start to the MLS season — Toronto is currently in second in the Eastern Conference. The midfielder has had international experience before as he was, unfortunately, used by former head coach Jurgen Klinsmann as an attacking midfielder during the 2014 World Cup; which took him him Bradley out of his natural role as a disruptor of the opposing team’s offensive attacks. If he’s used correctly by Arena, the 29-year old can be extremely valuable to US Men’s soccer during the knockout rounds.
The decision to add an explosive veteran in Dempsey to the roster heading into the knockout rounds makes a lot of sense for Arena. While the Sounders are scuffling so far — they’re currently in seventh play in the Western Conference — it’s not because of the 34-year old forward. Dempsey has scored seven goals and has stepped up when needed by Seattle, and that’s something that will come in huge during this upcoming stage for US Soccer. US soccer is getting its former captain back, along with his dynamic goal scoring capability.
US Soccer won B Group with a convincing 3-0 win against Nicaragua on Saturday; they won’t know who they’ll play in Philadelphia on Wednesday until the Group C matches finish today.