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The U.S. came home with the desired three point result on Sunday night against Haiti, but there’s still work to do. Defender Sam Vines’ header in the 8th minute proved to be the difference as the Americans coasted to a 1-0 victory. It wasn’t always easy, as Haiti pushed the attack multiple times, but on the other end the U.S. had many opportunities they failed to cash in.
A decent showing for the first game, especially against a rising Haitian team that was in good form. They had to play qualifiers to make it into the Gold Cup, and even though they lost some players to COVID restrictions, they still fought hard.
Let’s take a look at a few winners and losers from game one as the U.S. preps for Martinique on Thursday:
Moore played an outstanding game on both ends of the field as the right side wing-back. He pushed up into the attacking half and really played dangerous, in-swinging balls towards the box. He also made the defensive play of the game as he cut across the box and booted away a pass that was likely going to be the equalizer.
As I mentioned in the Gold Cup primer, a way for Zimmerman to grab attention would be to play effective balls forward from the back end. He did just that, as his through ball was the start to the sequence which resulted in their lone goal of the evening. He also had a few headed shots on target which only helped his case as a possible set piece target going forward.
In just his short stint on the field with a second half substitution, he ripped what could have been a nasty goal. His patience in the midfield and ability to distribute the ball quickly will likely get him back on the pitch in a hurry. If Busio continues to show the ability to put the ball on target, he should get the green light more often and let it fly.
Simply put, he played a solid game all-around. Netting his first ever USMNT goal was the main highlight, but his defensive play was great all night.
Acosta did have flashes of why manager Gregg Berhalter brought him along, but he also had numerous displays of poor play. Early in the game he ripped a shot that flew way over the crossbar, ending up being closer to the stadium exit than the net. We can’t forget where he was beat and had to just pull the opposing player to the pitch and pick up a yellow card to prevent a Haitian chance. Yes, it was the smart play but how he got beat is the issue.
Twice the striker had a chance to put the ball past the Haitian goalie and failed to do so. The first chance was when Moore ripped a wonderful cross that Zardes seemed to mistime in front of goal. The other he was one-on-one with the keeper and hit a left footed shot the curled right into the goalie’s gloves. These golden opportunities don’t happen often and to let it go twice is concerning.
This is only because of this stage being another chance for him to showcase his abilities. Even though he’s basically the energizer bunny, as he can run and then run some more, he ended up suffering an injury early in the first half. Depending on the severity, his Gold Cup could be in jeopardy.
Tune in and show some support for the men’s team on Thursday night as they take on Martinique.