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

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

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.

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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.

Lineup Prediction

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:

Predicted Lineup vs. Haiti

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.


Anyone see Joe Scally play today?

I didn’t catch it, but good to see he’s getting some friendly minutes with the first-team. I know he’s a RB (and it looks like that’s where he played today), but does he have any ability on the left? Also, in the highlights I saw he looks massive.

Read some comments on Reddit

Played with a solidly youth side today but that he looked very good and was dangerous for much of the time he was on the pitch. Great to see him getting these first team looks though.

He is very tall

Some people, like the Scuffed podcast, have imagined he could eventually switch to CB.

He never played on the left for NYCFC, afaik, but he did once or twice for Gladbach II this spring.

Oof those wingers.

Only way that line-up is more depressing is if he starts Zardes instead of Dike (which I think is almost certain to happen).

If he starts a guy who can’t start for his MLS franchise I don’t think we deserve to win a game in this tournament.

I’m unsure why Lewis would be in over Hoppe

He’s been training as a winger. I’d be surprised if Lewis is in over him.

I'm unsure why Lewis is in this roster at all.

Gregg's ego needs to prove he can make any player great

Greggdiolla got a lot of credit at Columbus when he successfully converted Gyasi to a fulltime striker

I believe that was seen as a successful reclamation job.

I don’t know what his record is with other players but perhaps he see himself as good at that sort of thing.

This is the tournament where we FINALLY get to see what Yueill can do

this is it. Not the olympics, not the friendlies….But the Gold Cup

I personally, can not wait to see what I’ve been missing.

Against the Giants of World Football the USMNT is facing in this tourney?

I expect him to raise the level of his game and look good against this kind of Quality.

He didn’t look good vs Honduras though

And that’s the level of quality he be against. I’m not sure he will look good no matter who he faces.

I also don’t think he will be starting any game. My guess is Busio will be in over him.

But he had no pressure facing the giants of the countries south of Mexico but North of Colombia

And now he will because it’s a tournament. I expect nothing less than Golden Boot and best player award for Action Jackson.

I don’t.

I expect him to play very little. And when he does, to be outshined by the others on the pitch.

"We haven’t seen what could happen when the USMNT is aggressive on the high press"

Weren’t we in a pretty high and aggressive press against Switzerland? It looked pretty good if memory serves. Unfortunately, the Swiss were able to play through it for the most part. Not sure if Haiti will be able to.

This will be with different personnel

Nobody on front line can press except maybe Zardes
On midfield line we will replace McKennie with ???
Defense from fullbacks should be about equal as Dest did not play defense and his replacement (Bello or Vines) don’t play defense either.
The fall in quality at center back is serious.
If Berhalter starts Yueill and does not change his tactics to protect the CDM, (either not press or go to a double pivot) Matt Turner could have a real workout.

"It looked pretty good if memory serves."

If the Swiss were able to play through it, how good could it have been? And that was the A team.

The B team are unlikely to have anywhere near the kind of cohesion the A team has so you’d think that if they press at all it would be sparingly.

Of course the opposition is not the best either, certainly not at the level of the Swiss.

The press was successful

Directly led to the American goal and helped the US have the better share of chances in the first half.

I agree..sorta

The press worked for a half. It got bypassed in the second half and there was no adjustment from the US tactically.

Edit: seeing below that I’m way late to the discussion.

Welcome to the party, pal

It was bypassed. But to me you hit it on the head. GB didn’t make the suitable adjustments. That doesn’t mean to scrap it entirely.

I never said to scrap it entirely.

I said it didn’t work in the Switzerland game and that 3G had to work to do it if he ever expected to beat teams like Switzerland with it.

And based on what I just saw versus Haiti, he has a number of other issues to get to first.

The US was successful on the press all first half

The problem is they didn’t Adams or even a competent DM on the pitch to account for when Switzerland worked to break out.

I'm old fashioned. I think of games as being at least 90 minutes.

The press was successful until it wasn’t.

That’s not a recommendation.

Well yes, that's why good coaches drop their line when they have a lead, or if the players start to get gassed

The press got us a lead and gave us a bunch of chances to score in the first half. But we kept doing it even though th eonus was on switersland to chase.

Sure it is

Soccer isn’t called physical chess for nothing.

No plan will work for 90 minutes. Not one. Every game coaches and players need to make changes.

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