The Gold Cup 2021 has the soccer community in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean in for a treat ahead of an exciting 16th edition to celebrate Concacaf's 60th anniversary. However, the USMNT has surprised everyone with an unexpected roster that does not include Christian Pulisic.

Right after beating Mexico in a hard-fought Concacaf Nations League final, the US national team became an even stronger contender for the Gold Cup title. Still, Gregg Berhalter's selection of players for the tournament seemed to reduce that favorite status.

Pulisic was expected to be the face of the team in the upcoming tournament after a sensational season at Chelsea, where he made history by becoming the first American to play in and win a UEFA Champions League final. So why won't he play the Gold Cup 2021?

Pulisic to miss 2021 Gold Cup with the USMNT

Christian Pulisic. (Getty)

In a controversial decision, Gregg Berhalter submitted a 23-man roster that lacks big-name players such as Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, among many others. The Chelsea star's absence was the most surprising, though.

The USMNT coach itself, however, explained the reasons why Pulisic isn't on the list. According to him, Christian Pulisic won't play in the Gold Cup 2021 to have some rest after a demanding season with Chelsea that included the Champions League triumph

Moreover, Berhalter explained that he saw this tournament as an opportunity to try new players with his sights set on the Final Round of the World Cup Qualification for Qatar 2022 and to see "where everyone stands."

It was a heartbreaking decision for soccer fans as there were high expectations to see such a talented player in the Gold Cup. Meanwhile, the USMNT will showcase new names and Pulisic will take time to rest and cheer on his national team while he gets ready for pre-season with Chelsea.