Just when it seemed like the U.S. national team’s Gold Cup preparations couldn’t get any worse after a pair of losses in its two tune-up matches, now comes word that one of the team’s best players is going to miss the tournament.
Tyler Adams has been ruled out of the Gold Cup, sidelined with acute on chronic groin issues that will require a minimum of 6-8 weeks recovery period. He has been replaced on the roster by FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday.
The RB Leipzig midfielder is the latest member of the U.S. defense to be sidelined by injury, with John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin already missing the Gold Cup. Adams had been projected to be the team's starting right back for the Gold Cup after being deployed in the position in the team's March friendly against Ecuador.
Losing Adams is a huge blow to USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter's plans, as the 20-year-old was seen as having the potential to be one of the most influential Americans at the Gold Cup. A defensive midfielder by trade, Adams was projected to fill the hybrid role created by Berhalter, which requires the right back to function as a fullback, but at times like a second defensive midfielder.
With Adams out, Berhalter will turn to San Jose Earthquakes defender Nick Lima as his first-choice option at right back. Lima has played well in the hybrid role, showing a good understanding of the requirements. Cannon will serve as the back-up right back, but is a more traditional right back and hasn't seen much time in Berhalter's system.
The USMNT is coming off an ugly 3-0 loss to Venezuela, a match in which Lima was one of the few bright spots, earning man of the match honors for the second time in three USMNT appearances. The Earthquakes fullback began the 2019 MLS season on shaky footing after briefly losing his starting job before manager Matias Almeyda eventually shifted him from his natural right back role to left back. Lima has done well at left back, but will now head into the Gold Cup with some serious responsibility just a few months after there were questions about whether he would even make the Gold Cup team
The Americans begin Gold Cup play on Tuesday in Minnesota at Allianz Field against Guyana.