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Berhalter selects second-youngest USMNT closing lineup ever forward of Gold Cup conflict with Mexico

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The US is bringing an inexperienced squad to the finals on Sunday, with the only younger one entering the field a few weeks ago

Gregg Berhalter’s line-up of the US men’s national team for Sunday’s Gold Cup final against Mexico is the second-youngest line-up that the USA has ever set up in a tournament final.

Berhalter made four changes to the semi-final win against Qatar, starting with defenders George Bello and Reggie Cannon, midfielder Eryk Williamson and striker Gyasi Zardes.

And with an average age of 24 years and 236 days, this XI is only surpassed by the team that started in the Nations League final against Mexico a few weeks ago and which started the game with an average age of 24 years and 206 days.

A closer look

Berhalter’s XI consists of six players under the age of 25: Bello (19), Matthew Hoppe (20), James Sands (21), Cannon (23), Miles Robinson and Eryk Williamson (24).

The XI also has an average of 19 caps, with those numbers being heavily skewed by Zardes (62), Paul Arriola (39), Kellyn Acosta (37) and Sebastian Lletget (29).

Acosta is the only starter returning from the USMNT Nations League final victory over Mexico, while Arriola will captain the USMNT for the second time tonight as he plays in his third consecutive Gold Cup final.

As head coach, Berhalter is 10: 1-0 in Gold Cup games, the only defeat in 2019 in the tournament final against Mexico.

El Tri beat the US 1-0 that day behind a goal from Jonathan dos Santos, which deserves the starting shot for Mexico.

The Mexico XI

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, meanwhile, only made one change to his Mexican team, who defeated Canada in the semi-finals.

Nestor Araujo has replaced Carlos Salcedo in defense after the Tigres star struggled in the semi-finals and missed a penalty in the eventual victory.

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