Alejandro Zendejas is readying for the Gold-en hour…
The 25-year-old Mexican professional soccer player, who plays as a winger for Liga MX‘s Club América, headlines the 23-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, which starts Friday and runs through July 16.
The team is made up primarily of MLS players, with 16 of the 23 players playing domestically. B.J. Callaghan‘s side also includes seven players who were part of the squad that played at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The group also includes Matt Turner, FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira, Toronto FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, LAFC defender Aaron Long, the Seattle Sounders duo of forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan, as well as Inter Miami defender DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin is the most capped player on the roster with 78.
“This is a group that we have a lot of confidence in as we look to win another Gold Cup trophy. It’s a roster that has a good mix of veteran players that have World Cup experience and younger players that have earned an opportunity to come into camp and represent the United States in the Gold Cup,” Callaghan said.
“Many of these players have performed well at their clubs as well as the previous opportunities that they have had in the national team environment. We’re trying to expose as many players as possible to tournament competition. Some have a lot of experiences that we continue to build on, while others are just starting out. In all cases it will be valuable for the group moving forward.”
There is some overlap with the U.S. roster that will defend its title at the Concacaf Nations League this Thursday-Sunday, with Turner, Johnson, and Zendejas joined by Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson and FC Juarez midfielder Alan Soñora. The U.S. opens against Mexico in the Nations League semifinals on Thursday in Las Vegas and would play either Canada or Panama in the final should it advance past El Tri.
The roster also features two players from the team that represented the U.S. at the just-concluded FIFA Under-20 World Cup, those being San Jose Earthquakes forward Cade Cowell and Chelsea goalkeeper Gaga Slonina.
Also on the roster is Columbus Crew midfielder Aidan Morris, who had been named to the preliminary rosters of both the U.S. and Canada. If Morris features in the Gold Cup, it will mean he is tied to the U.S. going forward.
The USMNT is part of Group A in the Gold Cup along with Jamaica, Nicaragua and a team that will be determined through the 2023 Gold Cup Prelims, and it will play all its group matches at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Based on the Gold Cup Prelims draw, the remaining team in Group A could be one of four possibilities: Curaçao, French Guiana, Sint Maarten, or St. Kitts and Nevis. The prelims round will run from Friday through June 20 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The U.S. will seek a record-tying eighth Gold Cup title. The USMNT won the inaugural tournament in 1991 before winning again in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2017 and 2021.
Should the U.S. win the July 16 final at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, it would tie Mexico’s record of eight titles. Tournament rules state that the final roster will be submitted no later than June 14.
A player may be replaced on the roster up to 24 hours before a team’s first match of the group phase, as well as 24 hours after the completion of its group stage competition, in the case of injury. The replacement player must come from the 60-man preliminary rosters.
USMNT GOLD CUP DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (club/country; caps/goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Toronto FC/CAN; 12/0), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; 1/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 26/0)
DEFENDERS (8): DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 2/0), Aaron Long (LAFC; 32/3), Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati; 23/1), Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; 2/0), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA; 3/0), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 21/3), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 78/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 9/0), Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar/NED; 6/1), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew; 2/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 32/3), James Sands (New York City FC; 8/0), Alan Soñora (FC Juárez/MEX; 2/0)
FORWARDS (6): Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; 3/0), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 18/8), Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps/CAN; 2/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 52/11), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati; 3/1), Alex Zendejas (Club América/MEX; 3/1)