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Darlington Nagbe looks back on winning the Gold Cup

The Portland Timbers and USMNT midfielder is ready for World Cup Qualifying.

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup -USA  at Jamaica Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Darlington Nagbe was one of several USMNT players that got called up for the knockout stages of the Gold Cup, a tournament the United States would go on to win. Like many of us, the 27-year-old midfielder has had time to reflect on this summer’s tournament. He’s won trophies, including the MLS Cup...but nothing like this. For his performance in the knockout round, he was named part of the tournament’s Top XI, joining teammates, Michael Bradley, Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, Jozy Altidore, and Jordan Morris.

Nagbe told the Oregonian that the Gold Cup medal he received was "[his] first medal with the team. It felt great to be a part of it." He’s been a naturalized citizen since September 2015 and a lot has happened in those two years, including winning the Gold Cup. He originally caught the eye of former USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann. But for whatever reason, he had a bit of a falling out and didn’t make many appearances until Bruce Arena came along.

Nagbe has nothing but high praises Arena for bringing out his best game:

"(Arena) just told me to just continue doing what I'm doing," Nagbe said. "He's going to be there with me, helping me, pushing me, trying to make me the best player I can be and I'm grateful for that."

Nagbe hopes the Gold Cup success will carry the USMNT through this next round of World Cup Qualifying. He’s focused on working hard, making his game sharper, and building chemistry with his USMNT teammates. Even though he’s working hard at his game on the International level, sometimes after winning it’s good to be able to let loose, even when there’s a camera.

Darlington Nagbe and the rest of the USMNT return to action September 1st when they take on Costa Rica at home and September 5th in an away qualifier against Honduras. With Nagbe just now entering his prime, look for him to contribute to the national team for years to come.