Five Things to Know About the U.S. MNT's Run to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final

The U.S. will attempt to claim its sixth confederation championship when it faces Jamaica in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final Wednesday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif (9:30 p.m. ET; FS1, Univision, UDN).

Here are five things you need to know about the Men’s National Team’s month-long run to the championship match.

What is the Gold Cup?

The Gold Cup is North America’s continental championship, contested by the nations of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). Twelve teams compete for the title – three from North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States), five who must qualify from Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) and four who qualify from the Caribbean (Curaçao, French Guiana, Jamaica and Martinique).

CONCACAF launched the tournament in its current form in 1991. The U.S. is looking for its sixth title and Wednesday’s match marks a record 10th Gold Cup final appearance for the MNT – more than any other CONCACAF nation. The USA’s last championship came in 2013. In 2015, the U.S. fell 2-1 to Jamaica in the Semifinals.

Here’s a look at the USA’s five previous Gold Cup Final victories:

U.S. MNT Gold Cup Final Wins



U.S. Goal Scorers


July 7, 1991

0-0 D (4-3 PK) vs. Honduras


Memorial Coliseum;
Los Angeles, Calif.

Feb. 2, 2002

2-0 W vs. Costa Rica

Wolff, Agoos

Rose Bowl; Pasadena, Calif.

July 24, 2005

0-0 D (3-1 PK) vs. Panama


Giants Stadium;
East Rutherford, N.J.

June 24, 2007

2-1 W vs. Mexico

Donovan, Feilhaber

Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.

July 28, 2013

1-0 W vs. Panama


Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill. 

New-Look Roster

The MNT looks a little different in this tournament than it has during the rest of the year. Most players on European club teams aren’t playing in the Gold Cup, instead going straight into preseason with their clubs. The U.S. squad features several young guns as well as some untested veteran players who have gained valuable international experience during the tournament. A strong showing in the Gold Cup could go a long way for these players to get an opportunity as the U.S. closes out World Cup Qualifying in September and October and moving forward with a potential trip to Russia next year for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  

Tournament regulations state that teams are allowed to make up to six roster changes following the Group Stage. U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena took full advantage of the rule, calling in four of the five most capped players in the current pool in forwards Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Tim Howard. Arena also summoned new contributor Darlington Nagbe and first-time call up, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.

Twenty-seven of the 29 players that have been a part of the USA’s Gold Cup roster have seen time on the field in the tournament. Only one MNT player has appeared in every game: Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris.

All Hands on Deck

Not only have 27 players appeared for the MNT, but the team has received contributions on both sides of the ball. Over the course of the tournament, the U.S. has scored 11 goals, coming from nine different players. Defenders Matt Miazga and Eric Lichaj, as well as midfielder Kelyn Rowe, scored their first-ever international goals during the competition. Nine different players also scored for the U.S. in 2013, its last Gold Cup title run.

On the other end of the pitch, the U.S. became the first team in Gold Cup history to win matches with three different goalkeepers. Brad Guzan (3-2 W vs. Martinique), Bill Hamid (3-0 W vs. Nicaragua) and Tim Howard (2-0 W vs. El Salvador and Costa Rica) all shepherded the MNT to victories during the past month.   

More History in Santa Clara?

One of the six changes following the Group Stage, veteran striker Clint Dempsey has played a key part in the USA’s two Knockout Round matches. Dempsey provided the assist on Eric Lichaj’s goal in the 2-0 Quarterfinal win vs. El Salvador and added another on Jozy Altidore’s eventual game-winner that opened the scoring in Saturday’s semifinal contest vs. Costa Rica.

That set the stage for the Seattle Sounders FC forward to make some history of his own. Leading 1-0 late in the semifinal match, the U.S. earned a free kick about 20 yards from goal that Dempsey curled around the wall and inside the lower, right corner for his 57th international goal, tying Landon Donovan for the U.S. MNT’s all-time lead.

All eyes will be on Dempsey in Santa Clara as he aims to become the MNT’s all-time leading goal scorer in the Gold Cup Final.

How to Watch

The U.S. and Jamaica kick off in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final on Wednesday, July 26 at 9:30 PM ET at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. It’s the MNT’s first final appearance since last lifting the Gold Cup trophy in 2013.

The game will be broadcast on FS1, Univision and Univision Deportes Network. Fans can also follow the game live on Facebook and Twitter at @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.