A shutout, three points and three debuts were the highlights of the USMNT’s opening 1-0 win over Haiti in the 2021 Gold Cup on Sunday, but the team will have to make real progress before the knockout stage if it is to do a deep run. One bad rebound and Haiti could have had a late draw.
As it stands, the result left the United States second in Group B behind Canada on goal difference after the Canadians outscored Martinique by four. Head coach Gregg Berhalter will need to hone his attack so he can at least match Canada’s goal production when he meets Martinique in the second game. And the offensive side of the field – creating and shooting opportunities – is where Berhalter put his emphasis in his postgame comments, stating that he felt America “needs to change gears.”
“I missed the urge to score more goals and be dangerous and be aggressive and first-pass,” Berhalter said. “For me, it was too slow and too backward and I didn’t have enough intention to turn Haiti around and have them defend in the penalty area. And once we were in the penalty area, I didn’t like racing and movement in the penalty area “. box. I did not like the service. So from the attacking side, we were disappointed with the intention that we showed tonight. “
MORE: Results and classification of the Gold Cup 2021
Here are three key takeaways from the USMNT’s victory over Haiti:
1. Hello Shaq Moore
We haven’t seen Moore in a USMNT game since 2018, and after his first half, many fans might have wondered where he has been all this time. The Tenerife right-back was a man possessed by the right wing in the first half, and one of his centers hit the goal. And to think that he only found out that he was going to start a few hours before the game after Reggie Cannon was injured.
Moore is not in top form and there was a clear slump in the second half, but the team fed on his energy and aggressiveness. “There is more to come from him,” Berhalter said.
2. What a beginning
The American players unleashed fierce pressure to start an effective, entertaining and dangerous match at the same time. All the players were engaged with the press and had Haiti fighting for most of the first few minutes. The goal in the eighth minute came during that span: Sam Vines scored off a Moore cross that was touched by Gyasi Zardes.
The all-out downside: Haiti generated some breakaways during that frenzied start and other teams will be less forgiving.
3. A change of formation
Berhalter went 5-3-2 in the final 15 minutes with rookie James Sands as additional central defender and Zardes was paired with Daryl Dike up front. He created a couple of good spells and Berhalter indicated that he might entertain himself by visiting him again. It’s clearly not Berhalter’s preferred system, but he can only wonder if some of the problems in the first half would be helped by the cushion offered by the three-man baseline.
USMNT Player Ratings
GK – Matt Turner: 7
Turner was definitely busier in the second half, and whenever he was called into action he was decisive and confident. He was always in command of his box and did not spill any shots. He made a smart save at the end of the match to preserve the victory.
RB – Shaq Moore: 7.5
For a player who has been out since May and has been working at home with a personal trainer prior to this camp, his first half was as good as the 45 minutes any USMNT player has had this year. Moore (below) was electric up and down the right flank and his play and crossing helped set an aggressive tone for the team. He never took his foot off the pedal, but he eventually fainted in the second half.
RCB – Walker Zimmerman: 6.5
He is seldom wrong. If any fans are concerned about the US central defender’s situation, Zimmerman served to remind everyone that he can be counted on to get the job done. And the danger it presents when attacking set pieces is such a valuable weapon.
LCB – Miles Robinson: 6.5
All you need to know about Robinson’s performance is that he made Haiti forward Carnejy Antoine hit the ball late in the game. He was effective in his challenges (although he lost one that could have been costly in the opening minutes), his time was on point, and his emergency defense was critical during a hectic and fast-paced first half.
LB – Sam Vines: 5.5
His note takes a hit for his desire to make the run to the far post to reach the end of the ball that he scored for the game’s only goal. Otherwise, it was rarely a factor down the left side (the ball rarely went to the left in the first half) and Haiti had its best attacks in the gaps left by pushing up so high.
CMID – Sebastian Lletget: 5.5
A smart and efficient performance from the USMNT captain for the first time. He was especially strong with his set pieces in the box. But the team was losing its runs to the area, which can usually contribute. It was not a presence in and around the box.
CMID – Jackson Yueill: 5.5
62 regular minutes for Yueill at No. 6 – The way the game played out meant he wasn’t asked to do anything extraordinary. When I was on the ball, it was safe and easy.
CMID / RB – Kellyn Acosta: 6
He has proven to be of value to this team because of his ability to adapt so well to changes in the game and the personnel around him. He was caught in possession of his yellow card, but under the circumstances, it was a good warning. And he also played 15 minutes as a right back. It wouldn’t be an appearance by Acosta without a position change in the game.
LW – Jonathan Lewis: 5.5
He didn’t have too many moments to shine in the hour he played. The game played out mainly on the right side in the first half, but it seemed removed from the actions and never became a nuisance in the area.
DEL / LW – Gyasi Zardes: 5.5
His commitment to the press as a center forward helped set the tone to start the game. But even with that, he was never dangerous outside of a set piece play, and we didn’t see much variation in his runs in the area to get away from his Haitian markers (two tough clients) and take advantage of the crosses. He played the last half hour on the left wing.
RW – Paul Arriola: N / A
He was active to start the match, but was forced to leave in the 12th minute due to a leg injury.
RW – Nicholas Gioacchini: 5.5
He replaced Arriola and played the right wing position in a very different way than Arriola would have. Tellingly, his best moment came when he converged from wide right position and hit the left post with a well-placed shot. He is still working his way to full fitness, which explains his early departure.
CMID – Gianluca Busio: 6
Busio (above) debuted in Yueill’s place to play the No. 6 role and got his first taste of the physicality of CONCACAF matches. He had the usual serenity on the ball and almost marked his debut with a great goal, but the goalkeeper deflected his attempt.
FW – Daryl Dike: 5
He failed to give the attack a boost in the half hour he was in the game. On the other hand, like Zardes in the first half, he was playing against two strong centrals and there were not many serves or crosses during the time he was on the field.
CB – James Sands: N / A
He got his first international game in the middle of a three-man baseline and did not have to do much in the quarter of an hour he was on the field. We’ll see if he has been given the opportunity to play central defender in a four-man defense line or if Berhalter feels the three-man setup suits him better.
CMID – Eryk Williamson: N / A
Another USMNT debut. He had a couple of good plays in his short stint and left the clear impression that he has a lot to bring to that three-man American midfield. It will be interesting to see how he does it from the beginning in a future match.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.