John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin to miss Gold Cup, left off USMNT's provisional squad due to injury

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/375439/" data-ylk="slk:John Brooks">John Brooks</a> is the United States men's national team's best defender, and would have been a starter at the 2019 Gold Cup. But he was left off the U.S. 40-man provisional squad. (AP)
John Brooks is the United States men's national team's best defender, and would have been a starter at the 2019 Gold Cup. But he was left off the U.S. 40-man provisional squad. (AP)

The United States men’s national team will be without two key defenders, and one sure-fire starter, when the 2019 Gold Cup kicks off next month.

John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin were among those omitted from the USMNT’s provisional 40-man roster, which was released Monday.

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Yedlin’s absence was expected. The Newcastle defender underwent groin surgery earlier this month. Brooks’ absence, however, is a bit more of a surprise – and a bigger loss for the Americans.

Brooks missed the final two games of the German Bundesliga season with “medial ligament discomfort” in his knee. His omission from head coach Gregg Berhalter’s 40-man list presumably indicates the injury is more serious than first feared.

Berhalter will trim the 40-man squad twice over the coming weeks. First, a training camp roster will be announced Wednesday. That roster – not all 40 players on the provisional list – will report to camp next week. A final 23-player roster will be named in early June.

Here’s the full provisional squad:

What Brooks’ absence means for the USMNT

Brooks would have started at center back. His combination of physical prowess and on-ball skills are unrivaled in the U.S. player pool. When healthy, he is an excellent fit as a left-sided center back in Berhalter’s system. Unfortunately, the 26-year-old German-American hasn’t been healthy for extended stretched early in his career.

Aaron Long, his presumed central defensive partner, has also been battling an injury, but is on the provisional roster, and will likely make the final 23.

That leaves once defensive starting spot open. Matt Miazga and Tim Ream could both fill it. If Ream is the choice, though, that leaves an opening at left back – where Ream played 90 minutes in both of the March friendlies.

Yedlin, meanwhile, is one of the USMNT’s best players. But right back is suddenly a position of strength. Berhalter prefers Tyler Adams there, in a specialized role that allows him to become a fourth midfielder at times in possession. So while Yedlin is a loss, he’s not as impactful a loss as Brooks is.

Other notable roster inclusions and exclusions

Given the size of the provisional roster, there were several names that raised eyebrows. It’s important to not that 17 of them – and likely all the eyebrow-raising ones – will be cut within a week. But it’s a window into who is on Berhalter’s radar.

The most surprising names were:

  • Marlon Fossey, a 20-year-old defender at Fulham.

  • Andrew Gutman, a 22-year-old Indiana University product who made the leap to Celtic in Scotland, but who is currently playing for the Charlotte Independence of the USL on loan.

  • Duane Holmes, a versatile 24-year-old midfielder whose Derby County team will be at Wembley for the promotion playoff final on May 27.

  • Joe Gyau, a former top prospect whose rise was derailed by injuries. He’s still only 26, but is currently at MSV Duisburg, who was just relegated from the German second division.

Other notable, though less surprising inclusions were:

  • Tyler Boyd, a 24-year-old New Zealand-born winger who recently filed a one-time switch to represent the U.S. He’s coming off a strong season on loan at Ankaragucu in Turkey.

  • Miles Robinson, a 22-year-old Atlanta United defender.

  • Tyler Miller, a 26-year-old goalkeeper starting for LAFC.

Among the omissions were striker Bobby Wood and goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Tim Weah is also not on the list – because he’ll be with the U.S. under-20s for their upcoming World Cup.

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Henry Bushnell is a features writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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