Sluggish U.S. Men Sneak Past Martinique

Jordan Morris, USMNT, US Soccer
Jordan Morris. Photo via U.S. Soccer

Gold Cup Group Stage

United States 3
Martinique 2

Goals: USA: 53’ Omar Gonzalez, 64’ Jordan Morris (assist Eric Lichaj), 76’ Jordan Morris (assist Gyasi Zardes); MTQ: 66’ Kévin Parsemain (Stéphane Abaul), 74’ Kévin Parsemain (Johan Audel)

Overview: Act II in the World Cup audition for the U.S. Men’s National Team that is otherwise known as the 2017 Gold Cup took place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. And despite what could be best described as an up-and-down performance, the U.S. went quietly into the Central Florida night with a 3-2 victory and a much needed three points. Even with the win, there were only a few positives for an American side that includes a host of players looking to open the eyes of head coach Bruce Arena before this fall’s final World Cup qualifiers. The two goals by Morris likely cemented a spot on the WCQ roster as the young Seattle Sounders star overcame a frustrating night to give the U.S. the offensive push it needed. Paul Arriola also had a strong game and several times throughout the match used his speed and nifty ball movement to create opportunities for the Americans. In goal, Brad Guzan was again solid despite allowing a soft goal to Parsemain in the 66th minute. Given Guzan’s performance over the first two games of the Gold Cup, Arena can feel confident that the keeper can take the No. 1 spot from Tim Howard. Overall, no other player served to enhance his standing with the coaching staff. In fact, with the likes of Michael Bradley and others not on the Gold Cup roster, there appears to be leadership void on the team, especially in the midfield. There is an opportunity for someone to step up and fill that void.

Notes:

  • Bruce Arena made eight changes to the team that started against Panama, with goalkeeper Brad Guzan, defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Kellyn Acosta as the lone holdovers.
  • Arena has utilized 20 of the 23 available played during the USA’s two 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches.
  • The U.S. MNT extends its unbeaten streak to 10 matches, going 5-0-5 since Bruce Arena returned as head coach.

Quotable:
USMNT Head Coach Bruce Arena…
“One of the things we’re trying to do in this tournament is look at players in our pool we haven’t seen much of. We’re guilty of making the game more difficult than it needed to be.”

What’s next:
The U.S. men return to action on July 15 with its third and final Gold Cup Group Stage match against Nicaragua. Game time is 7 p.m. Eastern time at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.