ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Michael Bradley returned to his role as captain for the first time under new U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter as the Americans opened the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Guyana in their first competitive match in 20 months.
Berhalter made three changes Tuesday night from the lineup that started a 3-0 loss to Venezuela on June 9, the last of 18 exhibitions for the Americans since the October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago that ended a streak of seven World Cup appearances. He inserted Bradley and Christian Pulisic into the midfield and Walker Zimmerman at central defender, removing Will Trapp, Christian Roldan and Matt Miazga.
Berhalter, hired in December, bypassed Bradley as captain in favor of Aaron Long for a January match against Panama and DeAndre Yedlin for a March game against Chile.
Zack Steffen was in goal, Nick Lima at right back, Long with Zimmerman in central defense and Tim Ream at left back.
Bradley was at the back of a midfield triangle with Weston McKennie and Pulisic, the trio starting together for the first time. Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd were on the flanks, and Gyasi Zardes was picked over Jozy Altidore to head the attack.
Boyd, Lima, Long, McKennie, Steffen and Zimmerman made their competitive debuts. Boyd was given permission by FIFA last month to change his affiliation from New Zealand and made his U.S. debut against Venezuela.
Altidore played the second half against Venezuela, his first appearance since the defeat in Trinidad.
The 30th-ranked U.S. won its first three games under Berhalter and followed with a draw but entered the Gold Cup following defeats to Jamaica and Venezuela. At 177th, Guyana is the lowest-ranked team in the 16-nation tournament.
Interim coach Dave Sarachan and Berhalter experimented with 71 players during the 18 friendlies, and the composition of lineups tilted more to veterans as the start of its Gold Cup title defense approached.
Three likely starters are missing the tournament because of injuries: Yedlin, Tyler Adams and John Brooks.
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