July 17, 2017 / 2:57 AM / 7 days ago

U.S. coach Arena opts for experience for Gold Cup knockout phase

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Jul 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; USA head coach Bruce Arena looks on against the Martinique at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielder Michael Bradley and forwards Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are among six players recalled to the U.S. national team for the knockout stage of the Gold Cup, U.S. Soccer announced on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arena also called up midfielder Darlington Nagbe and goalie Jesse Gonzales after the six were rested for the group stage. Teams are allowed to make six changes immediately after the knockout phase, and Arena opted for experience for the business end of the tournament.

The United States finished first in their group, with two wins and a draw.

Making way for the six are goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Sean Johnson, midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Cristian Roldan and Kelyn Rowe and English-born forward Dom Dwyer.

“When you play so many less experienced and younger players together, it’s not easy,” Arena told reporters.

“But we wanted to give everyone an opportunity and that’s the way we decided to do it and I think they came through with passing grades, all of them.”

The United States will meet El Salvador in the quarter-finals in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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