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Red Bulls avoid Gold Cup calls after weeks of lineup upheaval

Frankie Amaya, Caden Clark, and Kyle Duncan had all been named to preliminary U.S. roster by Gregg Berhalter

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at New York Red Bulls
Caden Clark (center) and Kyle Duncan (right) had been listed on the preliminary US roster
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

So the Red Bulls have one (or three) less headaches to worry about this month.

Earlier today, the United States national team announced its 23-man roster for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Not among the group are New York Red Bulls midfielders Caden Clark and Frankie Amaya or defender Kyle Duncan, each of whom were named to the preliminary roster last month. The only participant New York will be sending to this month’s continental championship will be Guadaloupe’s Luther Archimède, this year’s first round SuperDraft pick who is still yet to make an appearance with Red Bulls II.

The U.S. announcement can only be seen as good news for the Red Bulls. If any of the trio were selected it would mean missing at minimum two games with a possibility of not playing in a total of seven regular season matches. With New York coming off juggling a series of injuries as well as the loss of midfielder Cristian Cásseres Jr to the Venezuela squad for the Copa America, the knowledge they will not have additional absences to contend with will be a relief.

Of the three Clark was looking to be the most likely to be called up for the competition. Currently New York’s leading scorer and one of the brightest young American talents, Clark is curiously still yet to earn a cap for the U.S. program at any age level. In a media call following the announcement, U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter said he was “really looking forward to working with him” but the timing of Clark’s appendectomy kept him off the team. MLSSoccer.com’s Charles Boehm speculated on Thursday that there’s still a chance Clark is at the front of the line to be selected in the event of injuries in the current squad. Meanwhile, Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber said on Thursday that Clark has returned to training and should be available for selection against Orlando City on Saturday.

For Amaya and Duncan, the snubs are less shocking. While Duncan has a previous cap with the senior team, he is still dealing with a deep U.S. pool at the right back position as well as his own struggles for consistent performance with the Red Bulls. Amaya had been expected to earn his first cap as a FC Cincinnati player last year before a COVID scare scuttled that opportunity. His time under Gerhard Struber has proven instrumental in his development and his ability to read out plays and make critical passes has not gone unnoticed. Amaya still likely has a good chance to be capped during a friendly either during or after the team’s World Cup qualifying stretch.

The Gold Cup schedule has the U.S. playing against World Cup hopeful Canada, Martinique, and a yet-to-be-determined nation between July 11 and 18. In that span alone, the three Red Bull stars would have been out of action for matches against the Philadelphia Union (July 8) and Inter Miami CF (July 17). Instead, the Red Bulls can be at full strength while the Union are missing Andre Blake, Cory Burke and Alvas Powell as they were announced for Jamaica’s 23-man roster.

The fun doesn’t end there on the Red Bulls schedule during the tournament. Toronto FC (July 21) has five players heading out for international duty while D.C. United (July 25) could be without Donovan Pines and Paul Arriola if the U.S. makes it deep in the knockout rounds. The Revolution (July 31) had Matt Turner called up by the USMNT as well.

So after a month of makeshift lineups stalled the gelling team’s emergence, all of a sudden everything seems to be coming up Red Bull.