Move over Barry, Robin and Maurice! It's the turn of Weston, Leon and Alphonso to take the Americas by storm this summer as the Bundesliga trio star for their respective nations at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
While Schalke's Weston McKennie will be pivotal in joint-host nation the USA's challenge, Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen will spearhead Jamaica's charge, with Canada's hopes resting on Bayern Munich's teenage prodigy Alphonso Davies.
bundesliga.com follows the progress of this Bundesliga trio of stars hoping to keep their nation Staying Alive in the Americas this summer.
Minutes played: 344
"The position that we've talked about me playing is what fits me the best," says McKennie of his discussions with Berhalter. "Playing a number 10 role offensively and then defensively almost playing like a double six."
And that is exactly how he started in the USMNT’s 4-0 win over Guyana, to begin their Gold Cup campaign in style. He was substituted after 74 minutes, but not before getting the assist for the USA’s first goal and controlling the game from his deeper midfield position.
A 6-0 win followed in the second group stage game for the US against Trinidad & Tobago, with McKennie playing the full 90 minutes in midfield once again. His shot late on was rebounded home by Aaron Long to complete the six-goal thumping and secure a quarter-final berth with a game to spare. He was rested against Panama.
After being brought back into the side for the crucial quarter-final with Curacao, McKennie made the biggest impact possible by grabbing the only goal of the game. The Schalke midfielder was positioned perfectly at the back post to be on the end of Pulisic's cross, which he duly headed home.
The Texas-native scored another crucial goal in the semi-final win over Jamaica, slotting home the opener with a striker-like finish. The result now sets up a final against Mexico on Sunday, which of course, McKennie will play a pivotal role in.
USA's fixtures and results
Group D: Guyana (4-0 win), Trinidad & Tobago (6-0 win), Panama (1-0 win)
Quarter-final: Curaçao (1-0 win)
Semi-final: Jamaica (3-1 win)
Final: vs. Mexico (7 July)
Minutes played: 360
"I promise to wear the colors black green and gold with honor, pride, and dignity while aiming to be a positive role model for kids with a dream," wrote 21-year-old Bailey in an Instagram post featuring him wearing a shirt half in the colours of his country, the other half in the colours of his club.
And in the Leverkusen winger’s first competitive game for his country, he did not disappoint. His chipped pass over the Honduran defence was the pass-to-assist for the opening goal against Honduras on 17 June.
It was a historic night for Jamaica as they hosted their first Gold Cup match with 17,874 spectators in Kingston witness to Bailey’s debut in the competition.
Bailey and his side followed up the opening win with a goalless draw against El Salvador, leaving them top of Group C. The Leverkusen winger did not feature in the 1-1 draw with Curaçao to send Jamaica into the knockout stages, but played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Panama in Philadelphia in the quarter-finals to book a place in the last four.
Bailey produced his first assist of the tournament in the semi-final against the US, crossing for Shamar Nicholson to head home and bring Jamaica back into the game. But in the end, a 3-1 defeat sent Bailey and co. home.
Jamaica's fixtures and results
Group C: Honduras (3-2 win), El Salvador (0-0 draw), Curaçao (1-1 draw)
Quarter-final: Panama (1-0 win)
Semi-final: USA (1-3 loss)
Minutes played: 340
In the six league appearances he has made since moving to Germany from Vancouver Whitecaps in January, Davies — just 18 years old — has confirmed there is gargantuan potential packed into his bantamweight boxer's frame.
"He's a diamond. He shows that every day in training," said Hasan Salihamidzic, the bowled over Bayern sporting director, who also saw his club's new arrival squeeze in a maiden top-flight goal in the 6-0 win over Mainz on Matchday 26.
In the space of just two short years, Davies has shed the 'promising youngster' tag to emerge as the (very young) man on whose broad shoulders the hopes of the 2000 champions - the only nation to win the competition other than the USA or Mexico - now rest.
And with the pressure heavily on with Canada playing out the opening game of the tournament against Martinique, Davies and Co. were up to the challenge. A 4-0 win, with Davies contributing an assist having won the ball from the opposition defence on the left wing before curling a delightful low cross with his “weaker” right foot for Junior Hoilett to poke home.
Gold Cup fixtures don't come much bigger than the Canucks' second game against Mexico at the Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium, where the Bayern winger played 90 minutes in the 3-1 defeat.
Davies started at left back in Canada's final group game, a comfortable 7-0 win over Cuba in Charlotte, North Carolina, and provided an assist for Lucas Cavallini to make it 4-0 in first-half stoppage time to ensure progress to the quarter-finals.
That was where the Gold Cup journey ended for the Canucks, though. Davies set up the opening goal as Canada raced into a 2-0 lead against Haiti in Houston before the Caribbean side struck back with three second-half goals to send Davies and Canada on their summer holidays.
Group A: Martinique (4-0 win), Mexico (3-1 loss), Cuba (7-0 win)
Quarter-final: Haiti (3-2 loss)
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