USA-MARTINIQUE EXPRESS: July 12 in Tampa USA 3 Martinique 2.
Gonzalez 53, Morris 64, 76; Parsemain
Expected U.S. improvement after a 1-1 tie with Panama in the Group B opener did not discourage Martinique, which rallied from two goals down and
pushed the Americans right to the end of a nervous 3-2 victory. USA-Martinique: Highlights
doubled his U.S. goal tally by netting twice in a wild second half that produced five goals in 22 minutes following the second international goal by Omar Gonzalez
sparked the barrage.
A bad error by keeper Brad Guzan
enabled Martinique to get on the board and some poor defending by Matt Hedges
opened the door for its equalizer. Morris
scored the winner by pushing the ball wide to Gyasi Zardes
and racing forward to meet his return pass with a powerful shot. USA
Player Ratings: Starters Rating Player (Club) Caps/Goals 4 Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), 57/0.
Two good saves
don’t make up for the
long, low shot by
that slipped past him, but most of his work passed muster. The second goal was a fire drill not of his making yet he didn’t seem forceful enough
directing the troops as Martinique roared back from a 2-0 deficit. 6 Eric Lichaj (Nott. Forest/ENG), 12/0.
Consistently delivered balls up the line and into the channels,
including a vital pass in the buildup to the third U.S. goal. Excellent run and low cross provided a chance that Morris finished. Composed and solid defensively most of the time but did cough up a
ball in a bad spot that Parsemain nearly turned into a goal. 5 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), 42/2.
He wasn’t the dominant force one would expect against a mediocre
opponent and he struggled to win balls and get in tackles at vital moments. Pounced on a rebound for his second U.S. goal, wasn’t able to get free on U.S. set plays. 4 Matt
Hedges (FC Dallas), 4/0.
A bit slow to close down Stephane Abaul, whose pass to Parsemain set up the shot that evaded Guzan, and couldn’t stop Steeven Langil on a dribble preceding the
second Martinique goal. Beaten in the air on a couple of occasions and made to look ponderous at times with the ball on the ground. 5 Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), 2/0.
have saved a goal with a sliding challenge that deflected a Parsemain shot onto the post. Didn’t get in many crosses but delivered those that Zardes headed on frame and Agudelo bounced off a
defender. 4 Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 1/0.
Not up to the pace in the first half,
and uncertain as when to intervene and where to pass. Overpowered a couple of
times by Johan Audel. Connected more passes in an improved second half though he lost the ball in a bad spot to a challenge he should have anticipated. Gutted out the final minutes after needing some
treatment. 5 Kelyn Acosta (FC Dallas), 11/1.
Dropped too deep at times to concede extra space in front of him, but got forward often enough to set up a chance for Morris and
find Juan Agudelo a few times. Like several teammates, lost duels to Audel. Nailed a few dangerous line-drive corners but also dropped several short of the danger zone. All in all, an improved yet
incomplete display. 6 Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), 34/7.
Hit-and-miss and haphazard, yes, but also a real nuisance Martinique could not handle. He set up two chances for Morris
in the early going and swapped passes with Morris for the clinching goal. Ended the match limping after taking a few whacks inflicted as he held the ball to kill time. 4 Paul Arriola
Blasted a rebound over the crossbar from point-blank range, arrived at the back post a split second too late to head in a cross, first-timed a partial clearance that
forced a save and rebound for Gonzalez to score. Decent game but not definitive. Limited success linking with forwards and central mids, not mobile enough defensively. 6 Juan Agudelo
(New England Revolution), 25/3.
Active and dangerous in the first half. A bit unlucky to get on the end of two passes and fire shots that were foiled by defenders. Spent much of his time
ranging out to the flank and did well to last until the 85th minute. 7 Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), 18/4.
Put away a difficult near-post serve to double the U.S. lead,
drilled his second goal into the top corner after playing the ball wide to Zardes and ghosting into the penalty area with a late run. Stuck to his task after a shaky beginning and took advantage when
the opposition wilted. Substitutes 5 Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), 63/2.
Jumped right into the fray to launch two shots; one was deflected
and the other missed the target. 5 Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), 3/0.
Got on the ball a few times to connect with teammates, took one ball to the byline under pressure to kill
a few seconds. NR Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), 8/0.
Slipped a pair of excellent passes into the channel during his brief stint.
(Ratings: 1-low; 5-average; 10-high.)
TRIVIA. Morrow’s second cap came more than four years after his first. He debuted for the USA in a 0-0 tie with Canada
in January 2013. Also making their Gold Cup debuts were Roldan, Arriola, Hedges and Pontius.
July 12 in Tampa
USA 3 Martinique 2. Goals: Gonzalez
53, Morris 64, 76; Parsemain 55, 74.
USA –- Guzan; Lichaj, Gonzalez, Hedges, Morrow, Roldan, Acosta (Bedoya, 63), Arriola (Pontuis, 73), Zardes, Morris, Agudelo (McCarty,
Martinique -- Olimpa; Vitulin, Delem, Cretinoire, Jean-Baptiste, Abaul, Herelle (Marajo, 78), Audel, Zaire (Nedra, 56), Parsemain, Arquin (Langil, 64).
Henry Bejarano (Costa Rica).