KENYA BROWN - Thursday, July 13, 2017
Goals from Omar Gonzalez and Jordan Morris helped the United States to a narrow win over Martinique in their second Group B game in the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
After a disappointing 1-1 tie with Panama to open the tournament, it was expected that they would turn things around against their adversaries from the Caribbean. However, this would not be the case as the team struggled to claim all three points on the night.
The US could have opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Morris got his head on to free kick from Kellyn Acosta, but his effort sailed wide of the goal. Juan Agudelo would then follow with a chance 15 minutes later, but Martinique's defense did well to block the attempt.
Martinique also had their chances in the first half, with Kevin Parsemain shooting wide on a volley and hitting the post later.
The start of the second half saw near misses again. This time Paul Arriola effort for the US came crashing off the crossbar.
The US finally got onto the scoreboard in the 54th minute when Gonzalez pounced on the ball after Martinique goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa failed to properly handle a long-range strike from Arriola.
The host doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Eric Lichaj pushed the ball down the right side of the field before sending a low cross into the area. Olimpa may have thought he could easily scoop the ball up to cut off the attack, but Morris would step in with his foot to put the ball into the back of the net.
Any thoughts that the US might have found their groove and move on to a comfortable win were thwarted in the 66th minute as Parsemain cut the deficit in half for Martinique with a strike from outside the area that US goalkeeper Brad Guzan should have saved.
The forward would then level the score in the 76th minute with his second tally on the night when Martinique launched a counter-attack towards the US goal. An initial shot saw Guzan make the save, but Parsemain effort afterwards took a freakish deflection that went over Guzan and into the goal.
Morris would restore the United States' lead and give them the win mere seconds later when he connected onto a low cross from Gyasi Zardes and blasted his effort past Olimpa.
The win put the US atop of Group B with four points.
The team will now prepare for their final group game against Nicaragua which takes place on Saturday.