USMNT start slow, finish strong in Gold Cup opener against Guyana

USMNT Gold Cup win
USA's forward Tyler Boyd (#21) vies for the ball with Guyana's forward Emery Welshman (#10) during the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group D match between USA and Guyana on June 18, 2019 at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo credit should read KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images).

St. Paul, Minnesota (June 18, 2019) β€” When the U.S. Men’s National Team entered their Gold Cup opener against Guyana, there were whispers all around. The last time the USMNT featured in a competitive match was that fateful day in Trinidad and Tobago.

The nation is learning to move from the loss, which resulted in the USMNT missing the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Now, it’s a new era, with younger players left and right. Don’t forget the new coach, too. Gregg Berhalter is in his first few months as head coach of the USMNT. This is his first tournament with the national team.

USMNT start slow, finish strong in Gold Cup opener against Guyana

Guyana was supposed to be an easy win. However, that was also said about Trinidad and Tobago.

While the result wasn’t the same as that fateful day, there weren’t many “ooh” and “ahh” moments from the USMNT. There’s going to be heavy expectations of the United States. However, the expectations for this game were especially high. There were supposed to be goals flowing from all kinds of players.

However, that wasn’t the case in the first half.

The USMNT started slow, not finding a goal until the 28th minute. Paul Arriola snuck through Guyana defender Jordan Dover and Weston McKennie fed him the ball. On a slanted angle, Arriola buried the ball. Arriola’s tally was the lone score of the first half. It was a first half where the United States looked tight, too defensive and skittish.

Whether it was nerves or inexperience, it seemed that all problems went away in the second half. While there wasn’t an immediate second-half starting goal to get the gears turning, Tyler Boyd provided a spark with his first USMNT goal. Making a one-time switch from New Zealand, Boyd found the net twice in his second appearance.

Gyasi Zardes also found the back of Akel Clarke’s net, on an awkward goal that was scored using his face. Arriola took a shot right inside the box, but it smacked off Zardes’ face and into the net.

Three Takeaways

  1. Steffan wasn’t tested much: We’ve seen how this works with the USWNT in their group stage in the World Cup. Goalkeepers that don’t get tested might seem like a great thing. However, once they are tested, mistakes can be made. However, the one time Zack Steffen was tested against Guyana, he made a big save against Keanu Marsh-Brown. He’ll be tested against Trinidad on Saturday.
  2. Tyler Boyd is fun to watch: This is going to be a great switch for the United States. Tyler Boyd looked comfortable, calm and collected with the national team. Forget that this is only his second appearance. He looks like what the USMNT need in a forward. Seeing him paired up with Jozy Altidore could even be better.
  3. Michael Bradley still has it: Not only is he a great leader, but Michael Bradley continues to show that he still has it on the pitch. Bradley sent in a picture-perfect ball for Boyd’s first goal. He commands the midfield like no other and his veteran leadership will be needed with such young players. He went for 62 minutes before being replaced by Wil Trapp. However, don’t be surprised to see him go a full 90 against Trinidad.

What’s Next?

Trinidad and Tobago.

The fateful team that “knocked out” the USMNT out of the World Cup. It’s a big-time revenge match and Trinidad is going to want to flex their muscles. They’re going to want more bragging rights. It’s up to the United States to restore honor and get one back. The memory of not making the World Cup won’t be washed away with a win. However, it’ll certainly help the USMNT fans cope with that fateful loss.

Held at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, the USMNT will take on Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday. The match is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET. Guyana will take on Panama at 5:30 p.m. ET.

In the earlier match, Panama defeated Trinidad and Tobago, 2-0.

 

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