Arena changes entire lineup, starts Pontius, Miazga
CLEVELAND (AP) U.S. coach Bruce Arena changed his entire starting lineup for Saturday's CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage finale against Nicaragua, giving goalkeeper Bill Hamid his first appearance in nearly three years and defender Matt Miazga his first in more than year.
Graham Zusi was at right back, Miazga was paired with Matt Besler in central defense and Jorge Villafana was at left back. Dax McCarty, Kelyn Rowe, Chris Pontius, Dax McCarty and Joe Corona were in midfield of the 4-5-1 formation, and Dom Dwyer headed the attack.
Dwyer was attempting to join Alexander Rae and Eddie Johnson as the only players to score in their first three U.S. matches.
With Panama's 3-0 win over Martinique in the doubleheader opener, the U.S. already was assured of advancing to Wednesday's quarterfinals in Philadelphia. The U.S. needed to win by three goals to leapfrog Panama and win Group B.
Arena has used 22 of his 23 players in the tournament, all but goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Hamid had not played for the U.S. since an exhibition at Ireland at Nov. 18, 2014. Miazga has not appeared since an exhibition at Puerto Rico on May 22, 2016.
Bedoya captained the U.S. in its first match against Nicaragua. Pontius got his first start in the tournament.