It’s hard to argue with any of the choices in the 2021 USMNT Gold Cup list, but that’s what this article aims to do. While other options might be out there, how can anyone really argue with bringing Jonathan Lewis or Jackson Yueill to the tournament?
Goalkeeper: This one is tough because … yes it’s the goalkeeper, and no matter what the uncertainty is about whether the position exists, only about three or four players go deep into the depth card. It’s pretty clear who the three best options are, it’s mostly about finding the starter. But for the sake of this article, I take David Ochoa, he’s 20 and starts in MLS, and the other options are like Tim Melia.
Right back: Julian Araujo is one of the most exciting right backs in MLS and at. 19 have no doubt about playing in Europe. But he is also eligible to play with El Tri and has not yet made a decision. For now, Gregg Berhalter has been in touch with him, and Araujo says he will join the one who is the best opportunity of his career. Over the weekend, the LA Galaxy defender had a solid game in a 2-0 loss to Sporting KC with 19 pressures, 2 tackles, 8 blocks and a shot that created action. If he says no, I’ll take Justin Che with me.
Midterback: This is tough because the dropout rate in MLS is pretty steep after the three players who were called in, but this article will ignore that and move on. One possibility is Sam Nealis putting together a solid campaign with the NY Red Bulls, who are without Aaron Long this year. FB Ref notes that he gets 11 pressure, 2 interceptions, almost 8 clearances and 4 antennas won a game so Nealis is at least cleared in the back.
Midterback: The dropout is … it’s serious after the guys on the Gold Cup list. Justen Glad, Henry Kessler, Brent Kallman? These are all different flavors of Great Value ice cream.
Left back: Outside of George Bello and Sam Vines, the list again gets pretty thin in MLS. Andrew Gutman has played well for the NY Red Bulls but is injured … Daniel Lovitz is quietly one of the best players in the position in the MLS, but let’s leave him in the league with Brek Shea for now. Can Justin Che play left-back? I just teach him that during training camp before the tournament.
Central Midfield: Since joining MLS, Keaton Parks has proven to be one of the better central midfielders in the league. He is both able to come forward and cover defensive responsibilities. Plus, he’s high at 6-3, and so far this team is missing in the size department.
Central Midfield: This is a throw between Frankie Amaya and Djordje Mihailovic. Both attack midfielders with Amaya adapting well to the fast-paced, pressing system at NYRB and Mihailovic playing as a striker from both central and wide areas with Montreal. Neither eye-catching numbers with assists nor goals produce, but Amaya delivers 3.26 shot-creating acts a game, and Mihailovic is at 4.04 sca / match in 2021.
Central Midfield: MLS suddenly produces solid American deep-lying midfielders. In just 17 years, Moses Nyeman has emerged as a solid player in the role of DC United. He puts 27 pressure per. Fight to go with 3.52 tackles. Plus, he has a real future as a shotgun quarterback.
Forward: If it were not for having his appendix out, this would be Caden Clark’s place, but he would probably be with the senior team if he were available. Jesus Ferreira would be my second choice. All he does is gather assistants for Ricardo Pepi, so he must be there.
Striker: Ricardo Pepi leaves in MLS and has 5 goals in 473 minutes in just 18 years. It’s a good scoring rate for almost everyone, but for a teenager it’s so much more impressive.
Forward: Speaking of starting players, Cade Cowell has four goals and three assists a year. It looked like the goals were only a matter of time before the tip, but assists are a good bonus. He scored over the weekend thanks to some awful passes from Minnesota United, but this is a quiet cool finish.