Without Adams, Berhalter says USMNT must "move on" before Gold Cup begins

BLAINE, Minn. – Despite being without Tyler Adams for this summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup, US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter remains confident in what injury replacement and FC Dallas right back Reggie Cannon can offer.

“It’s one of those things that you can’t control,” Berhalter said. “We bring Reggie Cannon into camp and we move on. Obviously, (Adams) is a strong player, he’s a great talent. We’d love to have him, but we don’t.”

Adams was forced to withdraw with acute on chronic groin issues, and an ultimate decision was made after an evaluation in New York City determined the NY Red Bulls product and current RB Leipzig midfielder wasn’t fit to play.

“He has a club to play for as well,” Berhalter said, stressing the long-term. “That’s something we just had to balance. We were making final decisions and speaking to the player. It’s a risk we knew was there.”

Former Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen expressed sympathy for the ex-New York Red Bulls star, especially in light of the timing.

“Man, he’s such a good player, such a workhorse,” Steffen said. “We wish him the best and the speediest recovery. It’ll be good for him to get some time off. He’s been going for 13 months now, that’s a long time.”

Adams was expected to play in a hybrid right back role for the USMNT, which begins its Group D campaign June 18 against Guyana. Cannon and the San Jose EarthquakesNick Lima are the most likely replacements in the starting XI.

Lima impressed during the USMNT’s January camp, but Cannon brings a different element to the team.

 “Tyler has a unique skill set,” Berhalter said. “He has versatility, he can play inside, he can play wide, he’s a top talent. Reggie has a different skill set. He’s more vertical, he has speed, the crossing, he’s more of a dynamic defender.”

Whether or not he ends up starting, the Gold Cup is a chance for Cannon to impress Berhalter and his staff. He made two appearances for the United States in the fall of 2018 during friendlies against Peru and Italy, both before Berhalter had the job. 

“It was definitely a surprise,” Cannon said. “Gregg called me and said Tyler picked up a knock. Things happen and you know, that’s football. That’s the opportunity you get.”

To replace Adams, Berhalter had to turn to the preliminary 40-man roster, which also included Fulham outside back Marlon Fossey. But the Cannon nod ended being up a birthday gift of sorts, as celebrated his 21st on Tuesday. 

“My girlfriend threw me an awesome shindig and she got everything together (quickly),” Cannon said, “but it was honestly one of the best birthday presents I could ask for, being called here."

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