Forward Clint Dempsey, midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Tim Howard are among six additions to the U.S. roster for the knockout phase of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as coach Bruce Arena opted to add some of his most experienced players.
Arena also added forward Jozy Altidore, midfielder Darlington Nagbe and goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Sunday. Gonzalez's application to change affiliation from Mexico to the U.S. was approved by FIFA last month, after the deadline for setting the 23-man roster for the group phase.
Goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Sean Johnson were dropped along with midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Cristian Roldan and Kelyn Rowe, and forward Dom Dwyer. Arena had planned in advance of the tournament to replace Guzan, Johnson and Bedoya.
Bedoya is expecting the birth of his second child next week.
The U.S. plays El Salvador in a quarterfinal on Wednesday in Philadelphia after Costa Rica meets Panama in the opener of the doubleheader. The following day at Glendale, Arizona, defending champion Mexico faces Honduras and Jamaica plays Canada. The Philadelphia winners meet Saturday at Arlington, Texas, and the Arizona winners play the following day at Pasadena, California. The final is July 26 at Santa Clara, California.
Using a mostly junior varsity group, the Americans opened with a 1-1 tie against Panama and wasted a two-goal lead against Martinique before winning 3-2. The U.S. defeated Nicaragua 3-0 Saturday night, getting an 88th-minute goal from Matt Miazga to win Group B by edging Panama based on total goals.
"When you play so many less-experienced and younger players together, it's difficult," Arena said in a video interview released by the USSF. "They came through with passing grades, all of them."
Each team is allowed to make up to six changes in the 24 hours after finishing the group stage, and the additions must come from the 40-man preliminary roster submitted in early June.
"The players we bring in now give us a little bit more experience," Arena said. "Group play was an opportunity for a lot of players to get a chance. We were fortunate to start 22 players in group play, which is kind of remarkable. ... Dom and Cristian and Kellyn did very well for us, and I told them that, and they're players we're obviously going to continue to keep an eye on and continue obviously to have them in the program."
Dempsey has 56 international goals, one shy of Landon Donovan's American record. Dempsey, Bradley, Howard and Altidore all are regular starters when the full national team player pool is called in, and Nagbe appeared in the first seven U.S. matches this year after Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann and started his second stint as coach.
The U.S. improved to 32-1-4 during the group stage of the Gold Cup and 6-0-5 since Arena returned.
The revised roster:
Goalkeepers: Jesse Gonzalez (Dallas), Bill Hamid (D.C.), Tim Howard (Colorado)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca, Mexico), Matt Hedges (Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest, England), Matt Miazga (Chelsea, England), Justin Morrow (Toronto), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna, Mexico), Graham Zusi (Kansas City)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Dallas), Paul Arriola (Tijuana, Mexico), Michael Bradley (Toronto), Joe Corona (Tijuana, Mexico), Dax McCarty (Chicago), Darlington Nagbe (Portland), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia), Gyasi Zardes (LA)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England), Jozy Altidore (Toronto), Clint Dempsey (Seattle), Jordan Morris (Seattle)