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USA vs. Martinique, 2021 Gold Cup: What to watch for

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Can we have a better performance from the USMNT?

SOCCER: JUL 11 Concacaf Gold Cup - USA v Haiti Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team is back at it tomorrow night when they take on Martinique in their second group stage match at the 2021 Gold Cup. The USMNT will look to have a vast improvement from their performance against Haiti, which was a 1-0 victory but one in which the team did not put forth a great effort. They go up against a Martinique team that is reeling from their 4-1 loss to Canada in their first group stage match, where they briefly had the lead but eventually got demolished by the Canadians. Martinique has not won a match since the 2019 Gold Cup, but they’re not a team that can be taken lightly. The USMNT will still need to put their best foot forward to ensure they take care of business against Les Matinino.

Latest Form

USA

W (1-0) - Haiti - Gold Cup Group B

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

Martinique

L (1-4) - Canada - Gold Cup Group B

D (1-1) - Honduras - Concacaf Nations League

L (0-1) - Honduras - Concacaf Nations League

D (2-2) - Trinidad & Tobago - Concacaf Nations League

D (1-1) - Trinidad & Tobago - Concacaf Nations League

What To Watch For

Urgency. Gregg Berhalter spoke on his frustration at the lack of urgency shown by the USMNT against Haiti on Sunday night. That will certainly be a point of emphasis tomorrow night. The USMNT needs to establish the intensity from the opening kick and kept their foot on the accelerator for all 90 minutes.

Better execution. The finishing in the attacking third was something that desperately needs improving. Look to see if the USMNT tries to pelt the Martinique defense with shots in an effort to get some goals in the back of the net. The wings have to be effective at getting service into the box. They have the guys that can get it done, but the execution is on them.

Keep the pressure on. Martinique is a team that will not quit, but they’re also a team that is not as good as they were during the 2019 Gold Cup. When Canada applied just a little bit of pressure, Martinique was not able to handle it. The USMNT need to keep the pressure high and on their defense, and that will help create more lanes for the American forwards and midfielders to set up scoring chances. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Pour it on.

Lineup Prediction

While there may be a couple changes to the lineup, I think Gregg Berhalter will continue to go with some guys while others earn a chance. With Paul Arriola out, the formation may shift slightly while in play, but Berhalter will start in the normal 4-3-3.

Predicted Lineup vs. Martinique

Matt Turner gets the start once again in goal, and the back line remains the same with Sam Vines, Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson, and Shaq Moore. In the middle, Gianluca Busio did well enough against Haiti to earn the start, with Kellyn Acosta playing more of the 6 role and Sebastian Lletget and Busio both operating at times as the 8.

Up front, Daryl Dike gets the start, but on the left wing to replace Paul Arriola. Matthew Hoppe gets his shot to start at right wing, and Gyasi Zardes continues to operate as the 9. You could see Jonathan Lewis get the start again at right wing, despite his poor play on Sunday against Haiti, but chances are that Berhalter switches up his front 3 slightly to see who can cover for the lack of wing depth that he has on the roster.

Prediction

The USMNT respond in a big way and put Martinique away in a hurry. It’s a 3-0 victory, with all 3 goals coming in the first half and the USMNT coasting throughout the second half.