Paul Arriola was in action for the USMNT during the 1-0 defeat in the Gold Cup final against Mexico on July 7 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The D.C. United forward/midfielder started and played the entire game in a left midfield role. Despite the loss, Arriola was one of the better performers for the Americans throughout the tournament and proved he can be a valuable asset for USMNT head coach, Gregg Berhalter going forward.
In the Gold Cup final against Mexico, Arriola was all over the field, working hard on both sides of the ball, for the USMNT. Throughout the match, Arriola showcased his ability to create chances with precise passing and the ability to beat players off the dribble with his offensive awareness and quick feet. In the 31st minute, Arriola created one of the best chances of the game out of nothing. The Mexican defense miscommunicated with goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa on a cross and Arriola was able to squeeze the ball past El Tri but was unable to convert from the tight angle.
While Arriola provided the USMNT with an outlet going forward, his defensive work rate was hard to miss as he kept his team in the game. In the 16th minute, Mexico’s Andres Guardado seemed destined to put his team ahead as he gathered a cross in the box only for Arriola to intuitively track back and block the shot to keep the game level.
Throughout the Gold Cup, Arriola was a standout performer for the USMNT. The midfielder started five out of six matches and was one of the best-attacking players in the tournament. In the first game of the group stages, the California native scored the opening goal and provided an assist for the Americans to give his team a 4-0 victory over Guyana. In the next match, Arriola added another goal during the 6-0 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2019, Arriola leads all USMNT players with 11 appearances in all competitions as he seems to be an important part of Berhalters’ plans for the future. After an impressive Gold Cup, fans of the Black-and-Red should be excited for Arriola to return for the second half of the season as D.C. United look to book their place in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.