He added to the already-loud chorus of Daryl Dike tributes, suggesting that the in-form Orlando City man may become his first-choice striker, not just for this tournament but across the entire player pool.
“He’s developed really nicely over this last year, worked himself into the team, put himself in the equation to be a starter on his team – when everyone’s around – and to me it’s been a really strong, strong year for Daryl,” said Berhalter. “We’re looking forward to getting him into camp again and seeing what he can do at this level of competitive games.”
“We’re showing our dependence on Sebastian again, and how good of a player he is,” cracked Berhalter. “I think this is a positive sign, when you look at Kellyn, Jackson, Sebastian, Reggie, holdovers from the Nations League, I think it shows you how much we value them and how important they are to this group.
“I can’t imagine our roster right now without those three or four players, if we had to go deeper in the depth chart. So these guys are going to help us compete to win the Gold Cup. You add Walker [Zimmerman] to that as well, veterans that have been around: Brad Guzan, Gyasi [Zardes], Daryl, guys that have been around, they’re going to be the backbone of this team that helps us compete to win.”
Berhalter also explained many of his omissions. He revealed that Caden Clark’s recent appendectomy fell at just the wrong time for his Gold Cup prospects, that the FC Dallas trio of Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi were considered but fell just short, and that dual-national fullback Julian Araujo was not prepared to don a US jersey at the moment as he continues to consider Mexico as a long-term option.
“In terms of Julian, it’s a case of him being a dual national and not fully ready to commit to the team,” said the coach. “And he knew that the Gold Cup would lock him in permanently, and he wasn’t ready to make that step. I don’t want to speak for him but I can imagine when he looks at the depth of the right back position, he sees a logjam there, and he doesn’t maybe fully see his pathway to being a starter in the next World Cup. What I can tell you is, we really value Julian and we think he’s an outstanding player, and we think he can make a run at being a starter on this team.”