Sunday, 25 February, 2018

US Men's National Team Plays Poorly in Gold Cup Opener

Freda Brock | 14 July, 2017, 05:04

CONCACAF named Morris the Man of the Match, and he became the second-youngest US national team player to score two goals in a Gold Cup game.

Jordan Morris' second goal of the game broke a tie in the 76th minute, and the United States edged tiny Martinique 3-2 Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Gold Cup after wasting a two-goal lead at Raymond James Stadium.

Even at a stage when helping to build public interest in American soccer was an essential part of his job, Bruce Arena was a pretty awful salesman.

Entering the tournament on a high after a defeat of Ghana in last week's warm-up friendly, the USMNT were brought crashing down to earth by Panama's rugged display in Nashville, Tennessee.

It's players like Hernandez who have a chance to shine for Mexico at this tournament, with a clutch of the nation's star names left out.

With Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey most often filling the forward roles, Arena hasn't needed Morris to help resurrect the US campaign for World Cup qualification. Let's take a look at three things we learned from this match.

Despite a suffocating defense, the American's inconsistent offense couldn't find the back of the net against Martinique.

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Hedges got absolutely roasted in the lead up to the second goal as a Martinique attacker touched the ball around him and then proceeded to beat the USA defender like he stole something.

Why They Won't: The team underestimates an early last place disappointment from Nicaragua and gets caught unawares.

Even Eric Lichaj, who did his future prospects no harm, wasn't immune. The service from the flanks has been good for the Americans.

Olimpa could only parry a 20-yard strike from Arriola and Gonzalez was on hand to poke in his second global goal. I see them working every day, and I am confident in their qualities ... Martinique generated the most chances and crossed into the box a lot but failed to score.

The big winners so far may be those who aren't at the Gold Cup, veterans like Tim Ream, who started at centerback in the away draws at Panama and Mexico, DaMarcus Beasley, who has played in a USA record five World Cup qualifying cycles, and even Jermaine Jones, who has been injured. Morris and Juan Agudelo headed the attack. "We knew coming out in the second half that we had to change a little bit and be a little more aggressive, and I think we did that as a team". After a blocked strike by Arriola in minute 54, Gonzales finished the play and put up the first goal of the night, marking his second career goal for the USMNT. "We need to win two games".

Another great benefit of the CONCACAF Gold Cup is the opportunities for player development as young MLS players represent their national teams.

When the final whistle sounded, you could hear the American Soccer exhales far and wide, as the now first place Yanks look forward to their final Group B fixture against Nicaragua on Saturday. It will be interesting to see who Arena selects at forward.

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