The USMNT played a decent match against Guyana to open the Gold Cup coming away with a 4-0 win. Overall the performance showed that the team has quite a bit of room for improvement. While it seemed like Concacaf minnows Guyana would be outmatched against the Stars and Stripes, the Golden Jaguars played with no fear and opened the game up looking to pull off an upset. Goals by Paul Arriola, Tyler Boyd, and Gyasi Zardes’ face put the US on top in the end.
The result comes against an opponent made up of players making their careers in the lower levels of Concacaf and the UK at clubs like Peachtree City MOBA, unattached, and Walking Boyz Company. In general, the US was effective at creating chances through the play of Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd on the wings though it seemed like the quality of possession was lacking. Rather than string together passes to cut through Guyana, the US played a more direct style going over the top more often than not. In the end, it is three points in the group ahead of Saturday’s game against Trinidad & Tobago.
1 2 3 Triple Deke. Take your best shot. I believe in you, Charlie. Win or lose.
The game started slowly for the USA as Guyana came out with a lot of energy wanting to play an open game from the whistle. Except for a Jucy Lucy served up hot by Christian Pulisic, there wouldn’t much in the way of highlights for the Americans to get things started.
Christian Pulisic getting off to a start in his Gold Cup debut. #GoldCup2019 pic.twitter.com/xOrs8LvqWj— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 19, 2019
In fact, the best chance of the opening 25 minutes would belong to Guyana after a pair of bad giveaways by Walker Zimmerman and Nick Lima led to a corner. Callum Harriott, who was recently released by Reading, received the short corner and fired off a shot that sailed over the bar.
The US would start finding more chances heading to the half hour mark. A blocked shot from Paul Arriola and a ball that found Gyasi Zardes at the top of the box that he both should have had a better touch on and then found a better outlet for, in a trend that would emerge as the half wore on, were welcome signs of life. The Stars and Stripes would finally break through thanks to a ball played to Paul Arriola from Weston McKennie.
#USMNT finally break the deadlock against #Guyana, after a shaky start in the opening 25 minutes.— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) June 19, 2019
Well-taken goal by Paul Arriola, finishing to the far post after a good pass from Weston McKennie.
1-0. #USAvGUY #GoldCup #GoldCup2019 pic.twitter.com/x6hNh1bVQL
The teams would go into the half with the US ahead 1-0 as Maldon & Tiptree defender Matthew Briggs and co. did enough to foil the USMNT to keep the score manageable.
Five minutes into the second 45 things would open up more and the US would find its second goal as Michael Bradley did one of the things Michael Bradley does really well and placed a long pass to Tyler Boyd who fired a shot through the legs of Dagenham & Redbridge F.C. defender Liam Gordon. It was the 1,000th goal in the history of the USMNT on top of a nice finish.
¡Sr. GOLAZOOOOOOOOO! Tyler Boyd controla y saca un fusil para marcar el segundo del Team USA.— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) June 19, 2019
Estados Unidos 2-0 Guyana
Disfruta de #TuCopaOro EN VIVO https://t.co/g2dyiyUyI5 pic.twitter.com/9j53oI3cO2
Apropos of nothing, here’s Tim Ream getting nutmegged.
Tim Ream has to retire now. Ruthless nutmeg by the #Guyana attacker, embarrassing the #USMNT defender.#USAvGUY #GoldCup pic.twitter.com/KSjcLWXHKb— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) June 19, 2019
Then Zardes scored a goal on accident... you know, again. (I’m tempted to demand a recount, this is much more befitting of the 1,000th goal in the history of the USMNT).
¡¡GOOOOOOOOLLLL!! Con un toque de suerte, La pelota le pega en la cara a Zardes y se cuela para el tercero.— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) June 19, 2019
Estados Unidos 3-0 Guyana pic.twitter.com/ZSwJcIe5Mn
Guyana would get a good chance as Newport County midfielder Keanu Marsh-Brown took advantage of Zimmerman screening Aaron Long to find space to rip a long range shot that was saved by Zack Steffen.
Keanu Marsh-Brown dispara y Zack Steffen responde de gran manera.— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) June 19, 2019
Estados Unidos 3-0 Guyana
Disfruta de #TuCopaOro EN VIVO https://t.co/g2dyiyUyI5 pic.twitter.com/hhSgIkN2zB
As the game wore on Gregg Berhalter went to his bench taking off Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic for Wil Trapp and Cristian Roldan at about the hour mark. He would be forced to make another sub in the 74th as McKennie came off for Djordje Mihailovic with an apparent hamstring injury.
After a stop to the match with Akel Clarke dealing with an injury, Boyd would score the 1,002nd goal in USMNT history.
Tyler Boyd scores his second goal of the night! #USAvGUY #GoldCup2019 pic.twitter.com/jKgZAU6KNB— Gold Cup 2019 (@GoldCup) June 19, 2019
Boyd would miss an open net shot that he’ll probably think he could have done better with as he just missed out on a hat-trick and the game would end 4-0.
American Hero of the Game
Josh Sargent. Wherever in the world he is he played better than Gyasi Zardes.
Really though, it’s Tyler Boyd. He led the team in shots and was dangerous all night on the wing. It really couldn’t have been a better competitive debut for a promising youngster getting a chance to finally represent his country.
How can you just leave me standing? Alone in a world that’s so cold
The performance from Guyana was an impressive one given their level of talent and the fact that it was their first Gold Cup match. They may not get out of the group, but they could grab a win against Panama or T&T as long as Akel Clark can remember to stay in his goal and avoid taking several more arrows to the knee.
For the US, the defense had a few lapses that would have cost them and nearly did early in the match. Tyler Boyd figures to be a special player though, he was fantastic in the game and if the US needs to rely on wingers to score and create chances his game bodes well for the future.
Am I saying this is the most heartwarming sports story to come out of Minnesota since the Mighty Ducks and that Boyd is Adam Banks? I’m not-not saying that.
The USMNT will trade the land of 1,000 lakes for the Rock and Roll Capital of the World as they head to Cleveland on Saturday to take on Trinidad & Tobago to try and beat an opponent they couldn’t two years ago.