Tuesday 19th June, 2018
72 ℉ | 96 ℉Atlanta

The United States have announced their roster changes for the knockout stages of the 2017 Gold Cup, and as predicted, manager Bruce Arena has added some heavy reinforcements, with most of the additions having extensive international experience.

"We have added some experienced players to the roster that can help us in the knockout round of the Gold Cup," Arena said on Sunday. "The players leaving all made a good impression, and I'm optimistic for their future with the national team program."

Tournament rules allow teams to make up to six changes once the group stage is complete, as long as the added players come from a team's 40-man preliminary roster.

The players added include Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard, Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe, Toronto forward Jozy Altidore, and Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey.

All five took part in the most recent round of World Cup qualifying in June, and four of them -- Bradley, Howard, Altidore and Dempsey -- have more than 100 caps.

Also included is FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, who will be participating in his first official tournament since having his one-time switch from Mexico to the U.S. approved by FIFA.

Leaving the U.S. Gold Cup squad are Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan, New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan, New England Revolution forward Kelyn Rowe and Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer.

Some of the moves were planned in advance. Bedoya is expecting the birth of his second child to take place this week, and thus was always expected to depart. U.S. Soccer also indicated that the departures of Guzan and Johnson were also anticipated.

That said, the decision to send Roldan, Rowe, and Dwyer back to their clubs is surprising. Rowe scored the Americans' second goal in Saturday's 3-0 win over Nicaragua. Dwyer scored the lone goal against Panama while also being involved in the buildup for two of the three goals scored on Saturday. Roldan played the full 90 minutes in the 3-2 win over Martinique.

But Arena has essentially added five starters, which resulted in some parts of the field being overloaded. That included the center of midfield thanks to the addition of Bradley, so Roldan misses out. Nagbe's addition would have meant reduced minutes for Rowe, so the decision was made to send him back to his club side.

The fact that Arena chose to add two forwards, combined with the versatility of Agudelo and Jordan Morris meant that Dwyer will return to Sporting KC.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.

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