NASHVILLE — When San Zusi speaks, USMNT-watchers should listen. And here’s what Zusi – of course, real name, Graham Zusi – said, on Monday, of the US’ chances in the Gold Cup:
“I think it’s very much a winnable tournament for us."
So, yes, he’s saying we have a chance. And the Sporting Kansas City defender and national team veteran delivered that coolly – so coolly, in fact, that a sudden deluge during this post-training interview didn’t ruffle his feathers (or trademark locks) at all.
But more seriously, Zusi, fresh off a turn at the recent monster USMNT 1-1 draw at the Azteca, knows that in this relative newcomer-filled squad, his role now serves as that of a veteran leader. And he’s happy about how things are looking so far.
“I think every guy who’s come into this camp has made a strong statement for themselves,” he said. “Young and [older], and I think every game or every player on the team is going to get an opportunity to be on the field in this tournament.”
Zusi’s now seen almost a full change-up of the senior squad since June, and he’s positive – as US teammate Kelyn Rowe also said – about how things are starting to click. “I thought for the most part it was a good performance by us,” he said of the team’s performance in this past Saturday’s victorious 2-1 friendly vs. Ghana. “There are always things to grow on, but for a first match, throwing a bunch of guys out there who haven’t played a whole lot together, I thought it was about as much as we could ask for.”
So with that in mind, there’s just one objective starting this Saturday, when the US kick off the tournament against Panama (4:30 pm ET). “We don’t have to get ahead of ourselves; we still have the group stage to worry about, and then we’ll take it game by game from there,” Zusi said. “We’re pretty much looking to do nothing else but win this tournament."