I think there were several players who really helped their case over the tournament. Miles Robinson, as far as I'm concerned, should be in contention for the starting centerback spot next to John Brooks. I hope he moves to Europe sooner and not later. Matt Turner seems to be the best shot stopper we have at our disposal. It'll be interesting to see how things shape up for us at goalkeeper, with Ethan Horvath playing the hero in the Nations League final and Turner standing on his head during the Gold Cup. James Sands is raw still but looked a revelation in a back three moving into the midfield in possession. We have a couple/few players who work well in a back three (e.g. Chris Richards), but I can see him getting some looks in qualifying to see if he can make the next step up. Kellyn Acosta staked a solid claim to be the backup to Tyler Adams at No. 6 and a stopgap just about anywhere you need one. Gianluca Busio will have a year in Serie A to iron out some of the rough spots and hone his strengths, which are unique in the player pool. American Pirlo? That would be nice. And Matthew Hoppe is a battler. He's direct. He's got intangibles. He drops into midfield and finds the ball. A move to Arsenal or Everton, as has been mooted, could really put him in a position to break through. I wish Villa were in for him as well. He seems to have the kind of rough edges that made a player like Clint Dempsey better, not worse. Like when he let Gregg Berhalter know he wasn't happy about being subbed against Qatar. I'm usually not a fan of that, but with him, you can tell he just wasn't ready to stop fighting.
But most importantly, I think what we saw during the Gold Cup was the definitive return (in combination with the Nations League triumph) of the American identity. We lost that under Klinsmann and Arena 2.0 and Berhalter, whatever his weaknesses are, has instilled that back into the group, several layers deep. These kids fought for each other and you could see it in their interactions and body language. They referred to it as the "next man up" mentality. Gyasi Zardes even referred to it after his game-winner against Qatar, basically that "I want to thank all of the guys who tired them out for me. I just took advantage of the tired legs." So yeah, hopefully we can keep that mentality and dynamic of togetherness moving forward while taking advantage of the top talent we have breaking through all over Europe. I see no reason there might not be another player who breaks through before Qatar 2022. Hoppe? Daryl Dike (who looked good until he got injured, and then looked very not good)? Ricardo Pepi? Better days may be on the horizon.