The 7 rising stars to watch in the 2017 Gold Cup

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has proven a showcase event for countless young stars who had their breakout national team performances in past editions. Here are seven players who could take advantage of the stage in 2017:

 

Alphonso Davies (Canada / Vancouver Whitecaps)

One of the most talked about teenagers in MLS – even Manchester United have contacted Vancouver about the 16-year-old forward – Alphonso Davies only made his Canadian national team debut on June 13, shortly after securing citizenship. He will thrill Gold Cup crowds with his trademark marauding runs down the flanks.

Dom Dwyer (USA / Sporting Kansas City)

A native of England, Dom Dwyer is living the American dream. After arriving in the US to attend school in 2011, his career has taken the unlikely path from college scoring sensation to MLS star and now the US national team. The 26-year-old, who's married to US women's national team player Sydney Leroux, has endeared himself to fans in KC with his tireless work rate and explosive runs in the attack. He will hope to accomplish the same with US supporters in his first call-up.

Alberth Elis (Honduras / Houston Dynamo)

"La Pantera" is on the prowl again just in time for his first Gold Cup with Honduras. The 21-year-old Alberth Elis needed only 15 matches to make his mark in MLS as one of the fastest and most dangerous wingers in the league. Arguably the best overall talent in the Catrachos' forward corps, Honduras will only go as far as Elis can crawl.

Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Canada / Montreal Impact)

The 23-year-old Anthony Jackson-Hamel is already experiencing a mini-breakout on the club level with MLS's Montreal Impact. He has put away five goals in limited action, using a lethal combination of size, strength and technique which has made the Impact academy product difficult to contain. He could see early action in the Gold Cup group stage, especially with Canada star striker Cyle Larin only expected to join ahead of the knockouts. 

Jonathan Osorio (Canada / Toronto FC)

Canadian fans have high hopes for the skillful, playmaking central midfielder, who didn't get as much of a run under previous Canada head coach Benito Floro. Jonathan Osorio proved an important piece for hometown club Toronto FC in 2016, helping to lead them to an MLS Cup final and a Canadian championship. And his unique skill set could see him assume a similar role for Canada, which has the air of a team that will do plenty more attacking under new boss Octavio Zambrano and could put his creativity to good use.

Cristian Roldan (USA / Seattle Sounders)

Only in his third year as a pro, the 22-year-old's star has continued to rise well after Seattle's MLS Cup championship run in 2016 and his first-ever call-up to the US national team for the 2017 Gold Cup was a deserved reward for the dynamic and skillful two-way midfielder. While Cristian Roldan is versatile enough to also play other positions for his club team, including at right back, it remains to be seen where he will fit best in Bruce Arena's set-up.

Johan Venegas (Costa Rica / Minnesota United)

This is a big year for 28-year-old attacking midfielder Johan Venegas. His talent is unmistakeable, but after intermittent flashes of brilliance in recent years for both club and country, he is now expected to assume a star role for both Costa Rica and his new club side, Minnesota United, currently in its first season in MLS. A stellar showing in last year's Copa America Centenario made some believe the moment had finally arrived for the hustling slasher, but lack of playing opportunities in Montreal delayed his takeoff. There will be no excuses in 2017.