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USA announce 40-player preliminary roster for 2017 Gold Cup

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Jesse Gonzalez tug-o-war story reaches climax.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The United States men’s national team’s 40-player preliminary roster for this summer’s Gold Cup was revealed on FOX Sports 1 at halftime of their friendly with Venezuela. There are some very interesting names on it as you’d expect in a year where the FIFA Confederations Cup is being played in the same year. It’s full of Major League Soccer fringe USMNT players for Bruce Arena to get a look at. I’m only going to focus on three.

A total of 17 players won’t make the cut as 23 players will make the final roster with six changes allowed after the group stage is completed.

Dom Dwyer of Sporting Kansas City makes the initial prelim roster and is a pretty safe bet to make the final cut with Bruce Arena saying he wants to call him up this summer. With the U.S. forward pool not exactly being a deep one, this will be a huge chance for the newly naturalized Dwyer to prove he belongs among the best American forwards.

The other name and the most intriguing is Jesse Gonzalez. He was singled out by Stuart Holden on the broadcast as an article from USA Today ran earlier this week saying that the dual-national had picked Mexico as his international team. However, Holden mentioned that Gonzalez’s agent clarified that a decision has not been made and that the goalkeeper would accept a call-up if called by Arena.

This all seems a bit coincidental. While it certainly appears that U.S. Soccer is interested in capping the 22-year-old from FC Dallas. My worry is that he’s using a spot on the preliminary roster as a negotiating tactic to lure a call-up from Mexico to either their upcoming World Cup qualifiers or to the Confederations Cup. Gonzalez is a talented young goalkeeper and U.S. Soccer should call his bluff. Call him up and make him either accept or decline. End this charade and don’t get played.

Kenny Saief of Belgian side Gent has been named as well. FOX reports that he has filed a one-time switch from Israel to the USA:

Here’s the full roster. Discuss.

GOALKEEPERS (6): Joe Bendik (Orlando City SC), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

DEFENDERS (12): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Jonathan Spector (Orlando City SC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (15): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Tommy McNamara (New York City FC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent/BEL), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (7): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)