The United States Men’s National Team gets the Gold Cup started tomorrow when they take on Haiti in Kansas City. The USMNT enter as one of the main teams that hope to challenge Mexico for the Gold Cup title. They take on a Haiti side that qualified for the Gold Cup by beating St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Bermuda in the Gold Cup Prelims, but are also reeling as a nation from the events that took place early Wednesday morning. Haiti will hope to help heal a nation with their play in the Gold Cup and play inspired ball, and the USMNT will hope to silence the doubters that think their roster is not good enough to compete against Mexico.
W (4-0) - Costa Rica - Friendly
W (3-2) - Mexico - Concacaf Nations League Final
W (1-0) - Honduras - Concacaf Nations League Semifinals
L (1-2) - Switzerland - Friendly
W (2-1) - Northern Ireland - Friendly
W (4-1) - Bermuda - Concacaf Gold Cup Prelims
W (6-1) - St. Vincent & the Grenadines - Concacaf Gold Cup Prelims
L (0-3) - Canada - World Cup qualifying
L (0-1) - Canada - World Cup qualifying
W (1-0) - Nicaragua - World Cup qualifying
What To Watch For
Set the tone. The USMNT will want to get out to a great start, putting Haiti on their heels early. That will require the energy to be there from the opening kick, and the team will need to match Haiti’s intensity in every facet of the game.
Establish the high press. We haven’t seen what could happen when the USMNT is aggressive on the high press, but they have a couple of players that know how to do that effectively. Funneling Haiti into making a mistake should be the key, because once that happens, the USMNT can break on the counter and continue to keep the pressure on Haiti’s half of the field.
Make their presence felt. The American players who start the match have a chance to showcase themselves as a player that can be dependable when the USMNT is playing in competitive matches. Many have written this team off as a team that cannot possibly compete with Mexico in the Gold Cup. To show that they have the moxy to box with the best, they need to make sure their presence is felt in this match. It won’t silence the critics, but it will let some know that the USMNT has a deeper player pool than one would be led to believe.
For the first match of the Gold Cup, one would expect head coach Gregg Berhalter to come with the lineup he believes is the most dependable. That may include some familiar faces:
Matt Turner gets the start as the #1 between the posts, while the back line consists of veterans like Reggie Cannon and Walker Zimmerman. Sam Vines and Miles Robinson also feature on the back line.
Jackson Yueill is a player that Berhalter loves, so you have to think that he will get the nod at the 6. Sebastian Lletget is another guy that Berhalter knows can play the type of tempo that this formation demands. Cristian Roldan will operate out of the midfield, but could move up into a central attack role as well.
Paul Arriola always can be called upon to provide a work rate that is required for a high press, and Berhalter will want that on the right side. Jonathan Lewis will get the nod on the left wing, and Daryl Dike gets a chance to show that he can be the 9 America is looking for.
The USMNT have started well against Concacaf teams lately, and this match is no exception. Haiti is fighting some heavy hearts, and they won’t be able to match what the USMNT will be able to bring. 3-0 to the United States.