NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Former United States national team coach Bruce Arena has criticized the country's decision to enter the Copa America with a much-weakened roster.
The United States won the CONCACAF Gold Cup last weekend with a full complement of their European-based stars.
However, the Americans immediately headed to Venezuela with an almost completely different roster comprised mostly of youngsters and MLS-based players who had not made the cut for the Gold Cup.
The U.S. and Mexico are both competing in this year's Copa America by invitation despite not being members of CONMEBOL, the South American confederation that organizes it.
Arena cannot understand the decision to accept the invite with the competition immediately following the Gold Cup.
"I think they made a mistake going into the Copa America," Arena told PA SportsTicker. "They didn't plan properly in terms of how they would put rosters together, and the end result doesn't really make much sense."
The U.S. is not the only team to be without its best players at the tournament, which kicked off Tuesday.
Brazil, one of the presumptive favorites to lift the trophy, headed to Venezuela without the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka and Ze Roberto.
The lack of star power was evident when Brazil lost its opening game, 2-0, to Mexico on Wednesday. Arena believes the scheduling of the competition must be reassessed if top players are to compete in it in the future.
"I think this is a bad time of the year for the Confederations to hold their competitions in terms of how it fits in with the calendars around the world," he said.
The U.S. begins its campaign later on Thursday against another tournament favorite - Argentina.
Arena's replacement at Team USA, Bob Bradley, will be faced with a tough task to preserve his unbeaten record since taking charge last December.
Bradley has described the Copa America as a learning opportunity for his players, having put the emphasis on winning the Gold Cup - something they did by beating Mexico 2-1 in Chicago on Sunday.
Arena, who spent eight years as the U.S. coach before quitting after last year's World Cup, took great pride in the victory.
"That's a team I built, and I'm pretty proud of that group," he said. "When I stepped in eight years ago, there was a lot I had to deal with. But its good they've been able to continue to move forward.
"We've really controlled CONCACAF for many years now, and I thought when I saw the schedule for the Copa America that they could win it and I'm not surprised they did. They had some easy games in the group stages, didn't play as well in the quarters and semis, but played well against Mexico in the final and deserved to win it."
A Q, so should a team bring their A team???!!