KANSAS CITY- The USMNT Gold Cup quest got off to a bang with a 1-0 victory over a very organized Haitian side. Sam Vines scored in the 8th minute to give the USMNT three points and a victory. But after that, it wasn’t all that impressive from the USMNT.
USMNT Gold Cup campaign begins with victory
Haiti started out down five players due to COVID-19, including star forward Frantzy Pierron. The USMNT started with their “first-choice” lineup for the squad they brought to this tournament. They started bright and Sam Vines got on the end of a ball from Shaq Moore that deflected over the top. He dispatched the header from point-blank to give the USMNT their only goal of the match.
WATCH: Sam Vines' first international goal gives the #USMNT the early 1-0 lead! 🇺🇸
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) July 12, 2021
After that Haiti threatened a few times but there was not much in way of true goal-scoring chances. Nicolas Gioacchini, who had to replace an injured Paul Arriola struck the post along the way but other than that it was a pretty boring second half.
The USMNT lacked precision and effective incisiveness, some due to Haiti’s organization, but also just due to personnel. Jonathon Lewis was by and large poor on the field, and despite the goal, Vines was too eager to push the ball forward in moments that needed just a bit more patience in possession to disorganize Haiti. Jackson Yuiell was invisible in the buildup which left Lletget nowhere near getting on the ball enough to make an impact. They will certainly need to be much better if they want to even sniff the final of the 2021 Gold Cup.
- Every single sub looked more comfortable than the player they replaced. Save Gioacchini’s injury sub for Acosta, the rest looked good. Busio commanded the ball, helped open up possession and organized the play moving forward much better than Jackson Yuiell ever has in a USMNT shirt. Darryl Dike was positive every time he made a run, and looked dangerous when he came on.
- Shaq Moore deepens the right-back pool. The USMNT has so many right-backs that the coaching staff has to figure a way to get them to learn to use their left so they can fill out the left-back chart. Moore was strong in defense, and good going forward. His ball into the box led to the goal, and the overlap play from him was strong.
- The USMNT ended the match in a 5-3-2 that looked effective. Due to a lack of good wing play on this roster and Arriola’s injury, it might be worth the USMNT to roll with wingbacks for width given the personnel. James Sands slotted in comfortably in the middle of the back three and was really strong in possession. He looked comfortable playing out of the back, and to have him as a ball-playing CB in the mix might help the USMNT combat their width issue.