Four players who could play important attacking roles for the U.S. Men's National Team in the Concacaf Gold Cup this month warmed up for the competition over the weekend in the best way possible.
Paul Arriola and Gyasi Zardes found the net while Gianluca Busio and Daryl Dike assisted in Major League Soccer during the holiday weekend.
TWO GOAL CELEBRATIONS
Arriola contributed a goal in D.C. United's 7-1 triumph over Toronto FC at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night. With the hosts enjoying a 3-1 advantage in the 71st minute, Arriola put home Andy Najar's pass in the penalty area for his second of the season.
Zardes helped inaugurate the Columbus Crew's new venue, Lower.com Field, with a goal in a 2-2 come-from-behind draw with the New England Revolution. The 29-year-old forward started the Crew's comeback from a two-goal deficit in the 39th minute. Taking a pass from Harrison Afful, Zardes sliced a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Matt Turner (who also was selected to the Gold Cup squad). It was Zardes' fourth goal of the season and also helped snap Columbus' scoreless streak of 265 minutes after consecutive shutouts.
Zardes scored the Crew's last goal when he secured a brace in a 2-0 win against the Chicago Fire on June 19.
With Sporting Kansas City clinging to a one-goal lead and the LA Galaxy pushing forward in the 95th minute, 19-year-old Busio sent a long clearance to Khiry Shelton. Shelton beat a defender and scored on a breakaway run against goalkeeper Jonathan Bond for a 2-0 victory in Carson, Calif. It was Busio's third assist of the season. The win boosted SKC (8-3-2, 26 points) atop the Western Conference.
Dike, who recorded his first assist of the season, started the sequence that led to Orlando City SC's lone goal in its 2-1 home loss to the New York Red Bulls in the 59th minute. He intercepted a pass before slotting a ball to Mauricio Pereyra. Pereyra then one-timed the ball to Chris Mueller on his left side. Mueller took a touch before sending the ball into the top-right corner for the equalizer. It was his second in as many matches.
Two USMNT players that will participate in the Gold Cup captained their teams in the same game on Sunday night. Cristian Roldan skippered Seattle Sounders FC in a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, Colo., while Jonathan Lewis had the same role for the hosts. Both players went the distance in the match.
Seattle (7-0-5, 26), which dropped into second place in the West, became the fifth team in league history to go unbeaten through the first 12 matches of the season.
The USMNT will begin its quest for a seventh Gold Cup championship against the winner of the Tuesday's preliminary round match between Haiti and Bermuda, at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on Sunday, July 11. The Americans, who will call Kansas City, Kansas their home for all three group-stage matches, meet Martinique on July 15 and Canada on July 18.
Here’s how the USMNT’s 23-player Gold Cup roster performed this weekend:
-- Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Seattle Sounders (July 4)
-- Paul Arriola (D.C. United; MLS) – 90 minutes and GOAL and ASSIST in 7-1 win vs. Toronto FC (July 3)
-- George Bello (Atlanta United; MLS) - 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Chicago Fire (July 3)
-- Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; MLS) - 90 minutes and ASSIST in 2-0 win at LA Galaxy (July 4)
-- Reggie Cannon (Boavista; Portuguese Primeira) – Not in season
-- Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC; MLS) - 90 minutes and ASSIST in 2-1 loss vs. New York Red Bulls (July 3)
-- Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen; French Ligue 2) – Not in season
-- Matthew Hoppe (Schalke; German 2.Bundesliga) – Not in season
-- Brad Guzan (Atlanta United; MLS) - 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Chicago Fire (July 3)
-- Sean Johnson (New York City FC; MLS) – No game this weekend
-- Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Seattle Sounders (July 4)
-- Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 loss vs. Sporting Kansas City (July 4)
-- Shaq Moore (Tenerife; Spanish Segunda) – Not in season
-- Donovan Pines (D.C. United; MLS) - 90 minutes in 7-1 win vs. Toronto FC (July 3)
-- Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; MLS) - 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Chicago Fire (July 3)
-- Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-1 draw at Colorado Rapids (July 4)
-- James Sands (New York City FC; MLS) – No game this weekend
-- Matt Turner (New England Revolution; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-2 draw at Columbus Crew (July 3)
-- Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Seattle Sounders (July 4)
-- Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; MLS) - 88 minutes in 4-1 loss at Austin FC (July 3)
-- Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-2 draw at Minnesota United (July 3)
-- Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; MLS) - 90 minutes and GOAL in 2-2 draw vs. New England Revolution (July 3)
-- Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Philadelphia Union (July 3)