Coming off securing a CONCACAF Nations League trophy earlier this month, the United States mens national team has named it’s 60-man preliminary roster for the 2021 Gold Cup next month. On that list are New York Red Bulls starters Frankie Amaya, Caden Clark, and Kyle Duncan.
Out of the trio, only Duncan has previously played for the senior team and never in a competitive, non-friendly match. Both Clark and Amaya are 20 or younger, which fits into the mold of a national team under Gregg Berhalter that’s been relying more heavily on youth and went into the Nations League final against Mexico with one of its youngest rosters ever - with even 17-year old Jonathan Gómez from Louisville City FC listed for the potential squad.
All three players have some prior experience with the youth national team system. Both Clark and Duncan were also named to the preliminary Olympic qualifying roster earlier this year though neither actually made the team that failed to qualify in Mexico. Back when he was with FC Cincinnati, Amaya was set to be on the senior team’s roster in late 2020 for a friendly against El Salvador but was replaced due to a positive COVID-19 test.
With group stage matches against Martinique, Canada, and a yet-to-be-determined qualifier running between July 11 and 18, those alone would mean missing matches against the Philadelphia Union (July 8) and Inter Miami CF (July 17). If the Americans get out of the group stage, which is favored to happen, that’s up to four more games these players could miss should the team reach the final. This also does not account for training camp which would likely mean missing another match before the tournament.
The news comes just as Major League Soccer returns from a two week hiatus due to the FIFA international break. With the USMNT set to begin Group stage play in just over three weeks on July 11, the impact this could have on the New York roster is sizable. Clark currently leads the squad in goals with four coming in the first seven games while Amaya and Duncan have become consistent faces in the starting XI that’s been everchanging under Gerhard Struber. Earlier this month in the OaM Quarter Season Extravaganza, Clark and Amaya finished the first stretch as some of the highest rated players week-to-week by staff writers. Sure Duncan has had one of the worst performances against the Union back on May 15 but we all grade on a curve once in a while.
It’s another symptom of the congested schedule that was already coming into effect before COVID-19 altered how the calendar looked. If one or all of these players get rostered there’s a chance New York could be missing them for just under 20% of the season. If Clark, and to an extent Amaya, was to leave the team for that long the loan extension of Fábio might turn out to be even more critical. The Brazilian forward has assisted on more goals than the rest of the roster combined. He might be able to develop more targets with Patryk Klimala, Tom Barlow, or (shockingly) actually score a goal himself.
An additional Red Bulls player from outside the US system was also called in for this summer’s CONCACAF championships. 2021 first round draft pick and Red Bulls II member Luther Archimède has been named to Guadeloupe’s preliminary roster, where he first earned a full senior cap back in 2019 during Nations League qualifying. If selected, his team will need to go through the final round of Gold Cup qualifying starting on July 3 against the Bahamas in Florida. If successful, the team will play one more match against the winner of Guatemala and Guyana to determine the final team into Group C.
And finally, to show how nostalgic the folks at CONCACAF are, the official Panama roster still lists Michael Murillo as a Red Bull despite him leaving for Belgian side Anderlecht last year.