USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter: “The guys feel good right now.”
More than a year after Pinnacle, a national soccer training center, opened its doors in Kansas City, Kansas, the United States men’s team will occupy the locker room for the first time.
The Americans trained Monday at Pinnacle ahead of their CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage finale. They will meet Panama at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park.
“Kansas City has always been a fantastic place to play for the national team,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said. “The stadium is one of the best in Major League Soccer in creating a great atmosphere. The construction of the stadium makes it intimate but also loud. The field is usually great. It’s such a nice place to play.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Schedule: The doubleheader kicks off with Trinidad and Tobago against Guyana at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The U.S. faces Panama at 8 p.m.
TV: FS1, Univision Deportes, UniMas
At stake: First place in Group D. The United States has already clinched a spot in the Gold Cup quarterfinals with wins against Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, but a victory against Panama would finalize the top seed from the group.
The players: In his first Gold Cup since assuming the job in December, coach Gregg Berhalter called in primarily his first-rate group. A mixture of veterans and younger players is headlined by 20-year-old Christian Pulisic, who scored his first career international goal at Children’s Mercy Park three years ago. With a spot in the knockout stage already secured, it’s unclear if Berhalter will use the top lineup that outscored the first two opponents a combined 10-0.
Although Matt Besler and Graham Zusi had previous extended stints with the national team, no Sporting KC players made the Gold Cup roster.
History: Quite good. The U.S. men are unbeaten in Kansas City, tallying a 6-0-1 record. The only tie? That would be against Panama in July 2015.
But after playing five games in Kansas City from 2011-16, it’s been a long wait for a return. In their last Kansas City appearance the Americans beat Bolivia 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park in May 2016.
Tickets: A limited number of tickets for the doubleheader remain available and can be purchased through SeatGeek or Wednesday at the stadium.