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2023 Gold Cup Preview

By Tom Sweezy

The USMNT after winning the Gold Cup (Photo courtesy of Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

Only a few days after the United States Men’s National Team defeated Canada 2-0 in the CONCACAF Nations League Final we see the start of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup! For those who don’t know, the Gold Cup is the competition to name the top national soccer team in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The United States Men’s National Soccer Team is also the reigning champion of this CONCACAF competition, defeating Mexico 1-0 (after extra time) back in 2021.

The 2023 version of the competition is going to be hosted across the United States this year from June 24th until July 6th. The top eight teams of the CONCACAF Nations League A, the top four teams of the CONCACAF Nations League B, and the Qatar Men’s National Soccer Team all automatically qualified for the 2023 Gold Cup.

The remaining four teams of the CONCACAF Nations League A, the next four best teams of the CONCACAF Nations League B, and the top four teams of the CONCACAF Nations League C all qualified for the 2023 Gold Cup Qualifying Tournament. The top three teams from this tournament will also qualify for the 2023 Gold Cup.

Below are complete breakdowns of each group and team from this upcoming Gold Cup:

Group A:


Jamaica made the 2023 Gold Cup as they were CONCACAF Nations League A (Group A) runners-up. This will be the “Reggae Boyz” 13th appearance all-time in this competition. Their best finish in this competition all time came in 2015 and 2017 as runners-up. The Jamaica National Team has always been headlined globally by Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey, but now the nation welcomes a new English Premier League star in winger Demarai Gray from Everton.

Between Bailey, Gray, & striker Michail Antonio, the Jamaica National Team has an attacking three that played roughly 6,000 minutes of Premier League soccer last season (including 13 goals and 8 assists). Jamaica can continue to show their depth with two more Premier League players, one English Championship player, one Russian Premier Liga player, and one MLS star. 30 year old centerback Ethan Pinnock played 2,700 minutes for Brentford last season in which they finished 9th.

Attacking midfielder Bobby De Cordova-Reid played roughly 2,500 minutes for Fulham last season adding four goals of his own. Left-back Amari’i Bell was a crucial part of Luton Town’s promotion season finishing with about 3,900 Championship minutes under his belt. Backup striker Shamar Nicholson had 1,000 minutes played across multiple Russian competitions and of course the big man in net for the Philadelphia Union, Andre Blake.

Star Player to Watch: Winger - Leon Bailey - Aston Villa

MLS Player to Watch: Goalkeeper - Andre Blake - Philadelphia Union

Other MLS Talent: Cory Burke (New York Red Bulls), Javain Brown (Vancouver Whitecaps), Damion Lowe (Philadelphia Union), Kemar Lawrence (Minnesota United)

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Right-Back - Dexter Lembikisa - Wolverhampton Wanderers U21

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Winger: Leon Bailey

Striker: Michail Antonio

Winger: Demarai Gray

Attacking Midfielder: Bobby De Cordova-Reid

Central Midfielder: Daniel Johnson

Defensive Midfielder: Jon Russell

Left-Back: Amari’i Bell

Center-back: Ethan Pinnock

Center-back: Joel Latibeaudiere

Right-Back: Javian Brown

Goalkeeper: Andre Blake

Trinidad & Tobago

The “Soca Warriors” will make their 12th all-time Gold Cup appearance in 2023 after qualifying as the CONCACAF Nations League (Group C) runners-up. Historically their best finish in the Gold Cup came in 2000 when they lost in the Semi-Finals to eventual champions, Canada.

Unfortunately for Trinidad and Tobago, there are no global name-switching national team allegiances for this tournament like Jamaica. The biggest star for this team heading into the Gold Cup is AEK Athens winger Levi Garcia. The 25-year-old had 18 goals and 7 assists across his 2,700 minutes for the club in the 2022/2023 season. Garcia will look to link up in the attack with longtime national team legend Kevin Molino. Molino has not played much for the Columbus Crew in 2023 due to injury (only 14 minutes of 1st team action) but the man has been capped 56 times for a reason. He is a major talent.

Another player of note here is Scottish Premier League midfielder, Daniel Phillips. The 22-year-old defensive midfielder played close to 1,500 minutes in his first season at St. Johnstone. Last but not least, we should highlight 32-year-old center-back Sheldon Bateau who played close to 3,000 minutes for SK Beveren in the Belgian 2nd Division. He is another long-time staple of this national team with 50 caps to his name. Trinidad and Tobago will be without left-back Keston Julien who most recently played for FC Sheriff in Moldova, I am assuming due to his club situation.

Star Player to Watch: Winger - Levi Garcia - AEK Athens

MLS Player to Watch: Central Midfielder - Ajani Fortune - Atlanta United FC

Other MLS Talent: Kevin Molino (Columbus Crew SC)

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Central Midfielder - Ajani Fortune - Atlanta United FC

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Striker: Malcolm Shaw

Winger: Levi Garcia

Attacking Midfielder: Kevin Molino

Winger: Ryan Telfer

Central Midfielder: Daniel Phillips

Central Midfielder: Ajani Fortune

Left-Back: Joevin Jones

Center-back: Leland Archer

Center-back: Sheldon Bateau

Right-Back: Shannon Gomez

Goalkeeper: Marvin Phillip

United States of America

The reigning champions of this competition are back after qualifying by winning the CONCACAF Nations League A (Group D). The United States is one of the best teams historically in this competition winning it seven times, making them possibly the most familiar group to the readers of this article.

Similar to the 2021 version of the Gold Cup, the U.S. is going to be rolling out a group that mainly consists of MLS talent as the “European lead group” took on the Nations League competition. The most difficult thing about this specific group for the U.S. Men’s National Team is them lacking a star. They have some notable names from the Nations League Group; Matt Turner, Miles Robinson, Alex Zendejas, and Alan Soñora.

They have some notable players from the U20 World Cup group; Cade Cowell and Gaga Slonina. They have top MLS talent looking for that move to Europe; Jesus Ferreira, Brandon Vazquez, John Tolkin, and Aidan Morris. They have European talent in need to prove more; Djordje Mihailovic, Bryan Reynolds, and Gianluca Busio, and they have key core veterans of USMNT groups past; Sean Johnson, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldán, DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, and Aaron Long. BJ Callaghan is going to have a tough task with minutes and tactics for this group.

Star Player to Watch: Centerback - Miles Robinson - Atlanta United FC

MLS Player to Watch: Winger - Cade Cowell - San Jose Earthquakes

Other MLS Talent: Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati), Cristian Roldán (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution), Aaron Long (LAFC), Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps), James Sands (NYCFC), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF), Sean Johnson (Toronto FC), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew SC), and Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy)

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Center-back - Jalen Neal - LA Galaxy

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Winger: Cade Cowell

Striker: Jesus Ferriera

Winger: Alex Zendejas

Attacking Midfielder: Djordje Mihailovic

Central Midfielder: Alan Soñora

Defensive Midfielder: Aidan Morris

Left-Back: John Tolkin

Center-back: Matt Miazga

Center-back: Miles Robinson

Right-Back: Bryan Reynolds

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts is the final team to qualify for the Gold Cup after defeating French Guiana in the qualifying tournament. This is also a very special moment for Saint Kitts and Nevis as this is the first time that the nation will be playing in the Gold Cup. Unfortunately, when previewing this team there isn’t a ton on paper to be overly excited about.

First and foremost, you have to take a look at their star attacking midfielder Romaine Sawyers who plays in the English Championship at Cardiff City. Sawyers was able to score 3 goals last season across 2,000 minutes in the “Champo”. The 31-year-old does bring with him English Premier League experience as well playing for West Brom back in 2020/2021.

The other players that I feel you should be keeping an eye on are midfielder Raheem Somersall and center-back Gerard Williams. Somersall plays his ball with North Carolina FC in USL League One during the prime of his career. Williams will be the most capped player on this roster (77 caps) and at 35 years old is playing his club soccer in the I-League (India’s 2nd Division) where he racked up 2,100 minutes played last season.

Star Player to Watch: Attacking Midfielder - Romaine Sawyers - Cardiff City

MLS Player to Watch: N/A

Other MLS Talent: N/A

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Center-back - Rico Browne - Birmingham City U21s

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Striker: Rowan Liburd

Stiker: Keithroy Freeman

Left Midfielder: Jacob Hazel

Attacking Midfielder: Romaine Sawyers

Defensive Midfielder: Raheem Somersall

Right Midfielder: Omari Sterling-James

Left-Back: Raheem Hanley

Center-back: Gerard Williams

Center-back: Rico Browne

Right-Back: Malique Roberts

Goalkeeper: Julani Archibald

Group B:


This is a very interesting and I think talented Haiti squad heading into their 9th Gold Cup appearance of all time. Haiti has had its best Gold Cup finishes in recent history, losing in the semi-finals back in 2019. I don’t think this team has one true star, but that is also what I think makes this team even better; the spread-out talent across positions.

The attacking talent is what gets me excited to watch Haiti in this competition. Strikers Duckens Nazon and Frantzdy Pierrot come into this after two amazing seasons. 29-year-old striker, Nazon, scored 20 goals and 5 assists across a Bulgarian soccer season, having CSKA Sofia finish 2nd. Pierrot would not be too far behind that scoring mark, finishing with 14 goals and 8 assists over the Israeli soccer season, winning Ligat ha’Al. Outside of the striker position, Haiti also has two known names in the MLS community; Derrick Etienne Jr. and Fafà Picault.

Etienne has been part of this Haiti group for years now, sitting at 31 caps currently. However, Picault is new to the Haiti National Team getting his switch from the U.S. to Haiti at 32 years old. 26-year-old right-back Carlens Arcus playing out of Vitesse in the Eredivisie and Danley Jean Jacques playing out of Metz in Ligue 2 should also be heavy features of this squad this summer.

Star Player to Watch: Striker - Duckens Nazon - CSKA Sofia

MLS Player to Watch: Winger - Derrick Etienne Jr. - Atlanta United FC

Other MLS Talent: Fafà Picault (Nashville SC)

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Defensive Midfielder - Carl Sainte - North Texas SC

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Striker: Duckens Nazon

Striker: Frantzdy Pierrot

Left Midfielder: Derrick Etienne Jr.

Central Midfielder: Danley Jean Jacques

Central Midfielder: Bryan Alecus

Right Midfielder: Fafà Picault

Left-Back: Alex Junior

Center-back: Ricardo Ade

Center-back: Garven Metusala

Right-Back: Carlens Arcus

Goalkeeper: Garissone Innocent


Recent years of Honduran soccer have not been the best for the nation, especially in the Gold Cup. Honduras’s best Gold Cup finish came in 1991 when they were Runners-Up in the competition. The nation is a constant staple of this competition, however, as this will be their 16th time in the Gold Cup overall. When you take a look at this roster, MLS eyes immediately should be excited to see Alberth Elis again.

Although some transfer sagas haven’t been the best to him in recent years, the 27-year-old winger is still wildly talented enough to show out in this Gold Cup. Elis split his last season between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 struggling to score a bit. But it wasn’t too long ago that Elis was scoring a ton in Ligue 1, Liga Portugal, and MLS. Outside of Elis, MLS also takes hold of the next “big names” on this roster; Bryan Acosta and Joseph Rosales.

Acosta has been a staple of the Colorado Rapids starting lineup over the last season and a half as well as Joseph Rosales with Minnesota United. The only other player of note that I want to highlight for you is Defensive Midfielder Deybi Flores who racked up roughly 2,300 minutes over the Hungary soccer season. La Liga and MLS forwards Choco Lozano and Romell Quioto have been ruled out from the tournament due to injury.

Star Player to Watch: Winger - Alberth Elis - Stade Brestois

MLS Player to Watch: Midfielder - Joseph Rosales - Minnesota United FC

Other MLS Talent: Bryan Acosta (Colorado Rapids)

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Center-back - Luis Vega - Marathón

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Striker: Alberth Elis

Striker: Jerry Bengston

Left-Midfielder: Joseph Rosales

Central Midfielder: Bryan Acosta

Defensive Midfielder: Deybi Flores

Right-Midfielder: Alexander Lopez

Left-Back: Franklin Flores

Center-back: Luis Vega

Center-back: Devron Garcia

Right-Back: Maylor Nunez

Goalkeeper: Luis Lopez


The other “top dogs” of CONCACAF are spiraling a bit as of late, especially after firing manager Diego Cocca after only seven games in charge of El Tri. But the eight-time Gold Cup champions should not be overlooked as this is one of the deepest rosters in this tournament. Mexico’s two biggest stars play their club soccer out of the Eredivisie; Edson Álvarez (plays for Ajax) and Santiago Giménez (plays for Feyenoord).

Álvarez has been gaining the attention of some of the top clubs in the world, but mainly Borussia Dortmund as their Jude Bellingham replacement. Giménez as well has gained some interest from Premier League clubs after 25 goals for Feyenoord last season. There is a ton of Liga MX talent on this roster and veterans of El Tri who have played a ton of minutes together over the last few years. Érick Sánchez and Luis Chávez help bolster the midfield for Mexico and Pachuca.

Alexis Vega and Henry Martín bring some more offensive talent as they are major talents out of Liga MX, but the big man in net is one that everyone needs to know about, Memo Ochoa. The 37-year-old has proven for years now that he is a game-winner in net. He was even given the opportunity to move to the Italian Serie A last season, making 20 appearances for Salernitana. Even in a slump, Mexico should be respected as one of the favorites for winning the Gold Cup this summer. The one player of note not on this Mexico roster is stud winger, Hirving Lozano.

Star Player to Watch: Striker - Santiago Giménez - Feyenoord

MLS Player to Watch: N/A

Other MLS Talent: N/A

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Right-Back - Julián Araujo - FC Barcelona

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Left Winger: Alexis Vega

Striker: Santiago Giménez

Right Winger: Uriel Antuna

Attacking Midfielder: Sebastián Córdova

Central Midfielder: Érick Sánchez

Defensive Midfielder: Edson Álvarez

Left-Back: Gerardo Arteaga

Center-back: César Montes

Center-back: Víctor Guzmán

Right-Back: Julián Araujo

Goalkeeper: Memo Ochoa


The 2022 World Cup hosts will make their second appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup after agreeing to a two-tournament appearance deal with CONCACAF prior to the World Cup. In 2021, Qatar did finish in the semi-finals losing to the United States 1-0. The major strength of this roster continues to be continuity and familiarity.

Every single player from this roster plays within the Qatar Stars League, with 7 clubs being represented. The roster is pretty even as far as talent across the Qatar Stars League, but one player does stand above them all when it comes to “stars”. The 26 year old striker, Almoez Ali, has 39 goals in 82 caps for Qatar and finished as the Golden Boot Winner last Gold Cup. Ali can score. This team will rely a ton on its core strength.

Homam Ahmed, Bassam Al-Rawi, Tarek Salman, and others will be relied upon to lock down some of these high flying attacks in this group. The one player to note that will be missing is winger Akram Afif who seems to be going through a transfer journey right now.

Star Player to Watch: Striker - Almoez Ali - Al-Duhail SC

MLS Player to Watch: N/A

Other MLS Talent: N/A

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Winger - Tameem Mansour Al-Abdullah - Al Rayyan SC

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Striker: Mohammed Muntari

Left Winger: Almoez Ali

Central Midfielder: Mohammed Waad

Defensive Midfielder: Assim Madibo

Right Winger: Ali Asad

Left-Back: Hazem Ahmed

Center-back: Bassam Al-Rawi

Center-back: Tarek Salman

Center-back: Yousef Aymen

Right-Back: Musab Khoder

Goalkeeper: Meshaal Barsham

Group C:

Costa Rica

The 2002 Gold Cup runners-up haven’t had their best showings in recent CONCACAF competitions as their stars are now leaning towards the tagline “former stars”, but “Los Ticos” will be back for their 16th Gold Cup appearance to try and transition into a newer and younger generation.

I do have to make note; star goalkeeper Keylor Navas, talented striker, Manfred Uglade, and young talent, Jewison Bennette, will not be playing in this Gold Cup for this squad which is a major shot to the team. My concerns for this group don't come from the defensive side of the ball. We know what the backline of Costa Rica can do. Being led by veterans Kendall Waston and Francisco Calvo, the backline will hold up strong against the other teams in this group. Calvo is one that stands out to me as he has had a fantastic season in the Turkish Super Lig.

My concern is that I don’t think that this team has many options to scare the opposition's backline. Calvo is also an option there on set pieces, but in the run of play I am going to keep my eyes on Joel Campbell and Diego Campos. Campbell is another veteran of this group who is leaving Liga MX now for a move back to Costa Rica and Alajulenese.

Campos is a versatile attacking player that recorded 3 goals and 3 assists in roughly 1,000 Allsvenskan minutes. I would keep an eye on maybe the striker of the next generation for Costa Rica, Anthony Contreras, who scored 17 goals over the Costa Rican soccer season last year.

Star Player to Watch: Centerback - Francisco Calvo - Konyaspor

MLS Player to Watch: N/A

Other MLS Talent: N/A

Young Player to Watch (21 and Under): Attacking Midfielder - Aaron Suarez - Alajuelense

How I’d Line The Team Up:

Striker: Anthony Contreras

Striker: Joel Campbell

Attacking Midfielder: Diego Campos

Central Midfielder: Celso Borges

Central Midfielder: Roan Wilson

Left WingBack: Suhander Zúñiga

Center-back: Francisco Calvo

Center-back: Juan Pablo Vargas

Center-back: Pablo Arboine

Right WingBack: Keysher Fuller