United States includes Clint Dempsey on 23-man Gold Cup roster
Clint Dempsey is among those named to the United States' 23-man 2015 Gold Cup squad for the summer competition that begins in the U.S. on July 7.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann included the Seattle Sounders star on the team despite a recent incident in a U.S. Open Cup match vs. Portland in which Dempsey tore up the ref's notebook and was sent off and later suspended for three games by Major League Soccer. The ban will not affect his availability for the Gold Cup.
The roster will look a lot like the American team at last year's World Cup, as Klinsmann selected 17 of the 23 players he took to Brazil last year, adding goalkeeper William Yarbrough, defenders Ventura Alvarado, Brad Evans and Tim Ream, and midfielders Alfredo Morales and Gyasi Zardes.
They replace goalkeeper Tim Howard, defenders DaMarcus Beasley (who said he'd come out of international team retirement if called up), Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron, and midfielders Julian Green and Jermaine Jones. Howard has taken a year off from the national team following the World Cup. Jones had surgery June 12 for a sports hernia.
U.S. team captain Dempsey remained on the roster after being given a three-game suspension last week by Major League Soccer for referee abuse. If MLS had found Dempsey guilty of referee assault, the ban would have been a minimum six club matches and also sidelined him for the start of the Gold Cup.
"It's something that nobody wants to see. It's a mistake, and mistakes happen," Klinsmann said in quotes released by the U.S. Soccer Federation. "So, obviously, when he comes in next week to Nashville in preparation for our friendly game with Guatemala, we'll sit down and talk through that and we'll go from there."
The Americans won the 2013 Gold Cup and a repeat title this year would earn a berth at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. If another nation wins the tournament, it would meet the U.S. in a playoff for the berth.
Klinsmann cut 12 players from the preliminary roster announced June 10: goalkeeper Bill Hamid, defenders Beasley, Besler, Greg Garza, Michael Orozco and Brek Shea, midfielders Joe Corona, Perry Kitchen and Lee Nguyen, and forwards Juan Agudelo, Alan Gordon and Jordan Morris.
Each advancing team can change up to six players for the knockout rounds, but the replacements have to come from the original 35-man roster.
Just six of the American players took part in the 2013 Gold Cup: Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez, Nick Rimando and Chris Wondolowski.
After the exhibition against Guatemala on July 3 in Nashville, Tenn., the Americans open their title defense in the 12-nation tournament against Honduras four days later in Frisco, Texas. They play Haiti on July 10 in Foxborough, Mass., and finish the first round three days later against Panama in Kansas City, Kansas.
The U.S. is seeking to reach its sixth straight Gold Cup final, which will be July 26 in Philadelphia.
U.S. Gold Cup Roster
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)