Tomorrow night brings us another quarterfinal for United States soccer. We just watched the Women’s team defeat France and now we get to watch the Men’s team take on Curaçao in the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
Curaçao has everything to play for as no one thought they’d make it to the knockout round of the Gold Cup. They enter the quarterfinals finishing second in their group after tying Jamaica 1-1 in their last group stage match. They had to get some help from Honduras who beat El Salvador 4-0 in their final match.
History between these two teams is pretty slim as they haven’t presently meet before this match. The last time they’ve met in a match was in 1985 in the Concacaf Championship. They had a 0-0 draw and 4-0 victory against Curaçao in 1984 as well. Although their history. is brief, it’s bold well in the USMNT’s favor.
Curaçao has a few players who play professionally in Netherlands. Most notably, Cuco Martina who plays for Feyenoord. Their goal keeper Eloy Room is a stout shot stopper who plays for PSC Eindhoven.
With that being said, Curaçao is a feisty bunch of players and are looking to take out the USA who enters this game in great form in this Gold Cup. Without conceding a goal in the group stage, the USMNT are in fine form. They won their first two matches comfortably and their last match against Panama 1-0 after setting out a whole new starting 11.
What USMNT are we going to see against Curaçao? We’re probably going to see the same starting 11 we saw against Trinidad and Tobago. That includes a center back pairing of Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long, with Nick Lima and Tim Ream at outside back. The midfield will likely include Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd at outside midfield and a center midfield trio of Michael Bradley, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic. Up front will likely be Gyasi Zardes even though there could be an argument for Jozy Altidore to get the nod.
First off, let’s start with the forward controversy. To begin, it’s not really a controversy as both strikers have proven to be productive in this tournament. Zardes notably scored three goals, one even with his face. Altidore scored last time out, but Zardes barely saw any time. Zardes will most likely get the start as he’s shown he can score as well as he’s shown enough to not get dropped from the starting 11.
What’s going to be the thing that takes USMNT’s over the top? It’s simple, Christian Pulisic. Pulisic has been having himself a great Gold Cup and he’s ready to help this team win the Gold Cup. He’s on a USMNT revenge tour and his skill set has been on display and tomorrow night you can best bet he’ll be on display again.
Between Pulisic and the USMNT’s attack consisting of Zardes, Arriola, Boyd and the likes of McKennie and Bradley supplying the balls, they’re going to be in good shape. Defensively, they’re in good shape as the partnership between Long and Zimmerman have developed quite nicely over this tournament.
Like every match for the most part in the knockout round of a Concacaf match, it’s going to be tough and physical. The USMNT’s skill should take them over the top. Nothing is given, it’s earned and the USMNT are going to have to earn this win, but when it’s all said and done, they should win this one.