Sunday’s United States win against Haiti was an ugly affair that saw few chances created by the national team, and even fewer of them taken. Sam Vines scored his first international goal inside the first ten minutes, and the U.S. was never really threatened after that.

At the end of the day, it was enough to get the win and secure all three points. A drop-off in the level of play was to be expected with a mostly new roster but struggling against a team ranked in the eighties in the world was concerning, especially considering this is not the first time in Gregg Berhalter’s tenure that the U.S. has played down to the level of competition (the Gold Cup quarterfinal against Curacao two years ago comes to mind). Many U.S. fans hope that trend does not continue against a team that gave the U.S. fits back during the 2017 edition of the tournament: Martinique.

Sam Vines may have bagged the only goal of the game, but it was Shaq Moore who was the best U.S. player on the field on Sunday night. Moore earned just his sixth cap for the U.S. and his first since 2018. His crosses into the box caused problems for the Haitian defense and he was always present at the back when needed. Outside of Moore, however, it was a mostly mediocre performance from all involved (with the exception of Paul Arriola who gets a pass in this case since he was subbed out after just 14 minutes with an injury). The only other truly bright spot was Gianluca Busio making his USMNT debut in front of his hometown fans in Kansas City. But to truly contend for the Gold Cup title, performances from everybody will need to be much sharper.

Martinique is back in the Gold Cup and as ever is unique in terms of international soccer. While they are a member of CONCACAF, they are not a full FIFA member and thus are not ranked (though in CONCACAF they are ranked 11th). They qualified for this Gold Cup by finishing as the runners-up in Nations League A – Group C behind Honduras but ahead of Trinidad And Tobago. Their opening game against Canada started off shockingly well as they took a 1-0 lead after just 10 minutes through Emmanuel Riviere, but reality set in shortly thereafter and Canada ran up comfortable 4-1 winners. Most of their players are based out of Martinique but they do have three players from France, one in Italy, and one in Spain.

Notes:

1. The standings for Group B are: Canada (3pts), USA (3 pts), Haiti (0 pts), and Martinique (0 pts)

When and where to watch the game on TV

Thursday, July 15, 2021
Children’s Mercy Park
Kansas City, Kansas
10pm ET
Live on FS1, UniMas, TUDN and fuboTV

All-Time Series

USA leads 2-0-0

Last Meeting

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida
USA 3-2 Martinique

Current FIFA Ranking

USA: 20
Martinique: N/A

Next Game

Sunday, July 18, 2021
Gold Cup
USA vs. Canada
Children’s Mercy Park
Kansas City, Kansas
5pm ET
Live on FOX, Univision, TUDN and fuboTV

Original Source
Author: Lawrence Dockery

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