That should give Bedoya opportunity to work into the tournament and, with a little luck, be close to full fitness and sharpness for tougher opposition ahead. Mexico awaits, the brackets having been calculated to arrange a potential U.S.-El Tri championship clash.
The United States secures the 2017 Confederations Cup berth by winning the Gold Cup. If someone else takes the CONCACAF prize, they’ll play the Americans (winners of the 2013 Gold Cup) for the Confederations Cup berth. Russia, Germany, Australia and Chile already have half of the Confeds Cup field spoken for.
Bedoya said it’s not just a matter of playing, but also managing a schedule that sees the United States playing three first-round matches over seven days; they face Haiti on Friday outside Boston and then Panama on July 13 (Monday) in Kansas City. So Bedoya will almost certainly get minutes, most likely in one of the wide midfield spots. Graham Zusi and DeAndre Yedlin filled those flank spots in the U.S. 4-4-2 alignment during last week’s comfortable 4-0 win over Guatemala.
“I’ve been able to get through the full training sessions, but the fitness issues that comes with this is being able to play all 90 minutes and then [managing] the recovery between games that come every three days,” Bedoya said. “So that’s what we’re working with right now, trying to get my full fitness up. It’s more than just running and doing suicides [shuttle sprints] that I was doing after my injury. But I’m getting there, and the numbers are looking good.”
Bedoya would love a quick return back into that same form of late 2014. He was one of the hardest workers on the field in west London in the loss to Colombia, among the precious few U.S. men able to cope with possession and create scoring opportunities. It was more of the same a few days later in Ireland, where his evening was widely singled out as a bright spot in an otherwise highly forgettable punctuation mark on the 2014 men’s national team year.
The Gold Cup is the first non-friendly test of 2015.
“We have a lot of experience here,” he said. “We know that anything other than winning this Gold Cup is going to be a disappointment.”
Editor’s note: Steve Davis writes a weekly column for World Soccer Talk. He shares his thoughts and opinions on US and MLS soccer topics every Wednesday, as well as news reports throughout the week. You can follow Steve on Twitter at @stevedavis90. Plus, read Steve’s other columns on World Soccer Talk.