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USMNT blanks Guyana to open Gold Cup with win

The U.S. Men’s National Team showed its quality on Tuesday night to pick up its first three points of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. It may not have been the prettiest performance early, but Gregg Berhalter got his first tournament win as USMNT head coach.

Tyler Boyd scored his first two goals for the USMNT, while Paul Arriola and Gyasi Zardes also scored in a 4-0 win over Guyana at Allianz Field. Arriola also added two assists in addition to one apiece for Weston McKennie and captain Michael Bradley.

After being frustrated by Guyana, the USMNT broke the deadlock in the 28th-minute. Weston McKennie slid a pass to the streaking Arriola who curled an effort into the right-corner for the opening goal.

It was Arriola’s fourth career goal for the USMNT.

Boyd continued an impressive first-half in his first competitive start, playing a great long pass to Arriola. After some passes inside of the box, Zardes fed Boyd who missed just wide of goal for the second time on the night.

Nick Lima was set up nicely to double the USMNT’s first-half lead but Akel Clarke punched the right-back’s attempt away before halftime.

Boyd added to the USMNT’s lead in the 51st-minute thanks to a great over-the-top ball from Michael Bradley. After controlling the pass, Boyd hit a low strike into the bottom-left corner for his first goal as a member of the USMNT.

The goal was also the 1000th in the history of the USMNT in its 700th-career match.

Zardes tallied the USMNT’s third of the night in the 56th-minute, benefitting from great positioning in the box. Arriola’s wicked shot hit Zardes in the face and found the back of the net.

Boyd’s cross to the back post a minute later was set up perfectly for Arriola to score his second of the night. However, the D.C. United man headed into the side netting after racing onto the winger’s cross.

Zack Steffen made his lone save in the 69th-minute, punching away Keanu Marsh-Brown’s effort.

The lone negative for the USMNT was McKennie’s departure midway through the second-half. After going for a header, McKennie reached for his hamstring and eventually was replaced by Djordje Mihailovic.

Boyd smashed in his second of the night in the 81st-minute, rifling a shot past Clarke.

The USMNT sits atop Group D on goal-differential and next takes on winless Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday in Cleveland. Guyana faces Panama on the same day.


  1. What’s with all the just play Adams instead of Bradley at CDM? Adams is injured and cannot play in the GC. It is true GB planned on using Adams where Lima was played, but I think it was more of GB being worried about Lima’s quality than trying to “make” a spot for Bradley (or Trapp). Guyana failed to prove to be much of a test for any of the US wingers including Lima, so we still don’t know much about whether or not GB is right.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised by the makeshift back line in this game. I thought they performed well considering their lack of reps together and some having been sidelined for a while with injuries. Given these were for the most part 2nd/3rd string options they did well. The addition of Brooks, Yedlin, and Fabian (if inclined to accept call-ups) would strengthen the backline considerably. The continued maturation of Robinson and Dest will ultimately improve the outside back depth, but their still a year or two away from challenging for a spot.
    Keeper looks to be in good hands and moving towards a strength of this team. Steffen, Horvath, Johnson, Gonzalez, Hamid, and possible Guzan should be enough to keep the pressure on the starter and provide a reliable presence in net.
    Midfield still needs some work. Like many here I don’t think Bradley and Trapp can play the # 6 against anyone but CONCACAF Minnows. Adams needs to be the 1st choice CDM when healthy. Who the backup will be is yet to be determined. We need a strong backup to McKennie as well. Hopefully Parks or Yueill can step it up to claim the backup role. While Pulisic is one of our best players, I do not like him playing the middle as it is too easy to mark him out of the game. I’d much rather have him on the wing where he’s more dangerous. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone now who can step into the CM role right now. Hopefully someone steps up soon (Holmes, Scott, Hyndman, Mihailovic, Senora, Yueill). I liked what I saw of Boyd, and see him as a starter right now, but could see him overtaken by some of the younger prospects soon (Weah, Pomykal, Ledezma, Llanez, Amon, etc..). I look forward to Boyd’s continued development and inclusion. While I like the versatility of guys like Roldan & Arriola, I do not see them remaining in consideration for long.
    Striker is still the biggest worry for me. Zardes has the athleticism to play the role but isn’t a credible threat. Jozy is a credible threat but lacks the athleticism. Not sold on Morris as either a striker or a winger. Hopefully Sargent can speed up his maturation process and become the striker we need. But even then, we need to find depth options behind him. Soto looked promising in the U-20 WC, Wright is still an option, and possible Sabbi.

  3. “After being frustrated by Guyana, the USMNT broke the deadlock in the 28th-minute.”

    This is going to be a frustrating Gold Cup…

  4. Sorry but pullisic couldn’t play through the middle because the number 1 priority is wing play. Hopefully wing play will open up for striking outside the box as an example arriola cutting and laying pass back to top of box area to say pullisic and having him get more involved. This will allow us to be much more dangerous. Altidore or Morris please get healthy zardes was not good last night. I want a player that is dangerous at foward not someone who is a “hard worker”- berhalter.

  5. terrible the camera shots and angles and limited view from last night’s coverage. how can anyone even watch what’s happening? they only show a third of the field at a time, often can’t see the near flank of the field, and the director kept going to the one player zoom shots while play was going on.

  6. I don’t think McKennie is getting enough praise for his work this game. He was MOTM for me. I am a little worried about how much space he’s being asked to cover though and him having to cover for Bradley defensively. He was tracking back often at full sprint to cover for Bradley who was slow jogging while semi pro talent was moving past him. I am a little worried McKennie may have pulled his hammy putting in all this work. This space/weakness is going to get us blown up against better opponents.

    In this system whoever is being asked to play next to Pulisic as one of the dual 10s is really just playing as an 8 because they have to cover for Bradley defensively and its asking them far too much in my opinion. I could see this system working much better with Adams playing in Bradley’s spot allowing both McKennie and Pulisic to stay more forward since McKennie wouldn’t have to cover for Adams defensively as much. In my opinion Adams gives you more offensively at the 6 as well even though as much as I’m down on Bradley he does well at sending long over the top passes to the wings which is what Berhalter wants but Bradley can’t cover the same space defensively leaving McKennie to pull hammies trying to cover for his geriatric behind and its not worth the trade in my opinion. Theoretically Adams at iRB would be there some of the time but would also need to be rotating back to a traditional RB position when we transition defensively so we’re either leaving this space in front of the CBs if Bradley is playing 6 or we leave the space at RB if Adams is at iRB. Last night we didn’t even try to play iRB with Lima though so we really didn’t see that part of the system and might not for the whole tournament with Adams out I think.

    Excited to see Boyd play well and ask for the ball with confidence, however, it was a group of mostly semi pros we played against and we have to take the whole result with a grain of salt just like we always have to when playing Concacaf minnows but at least we put 4 past them this time unlike other recent performances.

    I really want to see a center MF of Pulisic, McKennie, and Adams working together. If we could find RBs/LBs who can overlap and push forward as well as defend and cover that much ground we could use the Pulisic McKennie, Adams trio in central MF in a 4-3-3 with Adams playing 6, McKennie and Pulisic being in front of him with Pulisic roaming and McKennie tracking back more to help Adams when needed. With a combination of Yedlin/Chandler/FJ at RB/LB I think we have the backs to cover the width. There really is no need for Bradley or Trapp to see the field for us unless other CMs are injured and we are using them as third or fourth string. Bradley’s long crossing passes to the wing may confuse a group of semi pros but its not going to disorient Mexico or Costa Rica much less a European or South American giant in a WC group.

  7. They did what they needed to do. Most are calling out the inability to play through the middle, while ignoring the reason. Pulisic needs to be MUCH better. Not that he didn’t have moments, but that is all that they were.
    We couldn’t play through the middle because Bradley was terrible and Pulisic pulled a Houdini… it was Boyd and Arriola to the rescue. McKennie had a few mistakes, but played very well. Good those guys stepped up, but not sure why Pulisic couldn’t find the ball/ didn’t want the ball.

    • Just going to say the obvious. Pulisic is better on the wing. That’s what he plays in club. Throwing him into the middle as type of 10 and expected greatness, when he has little experience is not realistic. RIght now, I’d start him and Boyd at the wings. Arriola is serviceable but would best not be a lockdown starter, which he’s become under GB.

  8. Let me be honest, Bradley had one GREAT pass. That assist was sandwiched by about 99 lateral/back passes and numerous losses of possession. Seriously, Bradley might be slower than Pirlo. Please, please, please just try Adams in that role.

    • Bradley was very bad. Did GB sub him out to save the stars legs for next game OR because he was so bad?
      If it was the first reason…..I, yi, yi, yi, yiiiiiiii.

    • I agree that Bradley played too conservatively, I think he should open up and be ready to play the ball forward more. OTOH, by playing back so often, it discouraged the opponents from staying tight on him so that when he did turn, he had some time. It will be interesting to see how well Bradley adapts if the opposition pressures him early.

      That “one GREAT pass” was not the only good attacking pass he made, but it was the one that lead to a goal. I just want to see more of them.

      • We’ve had this argument before. Maybe my problem was that I had just watched Fernandinho (a substitute) run rampant through Venezuela’s midfield before I turned on Bradley’s snore fest. It was like going from Vermont Maple Syrup to molasses. You’re right though… Bradley passes the ball back to relieve pressure; if he holds on to the ball for more than four seconds he’ll lose it. Sorry, but I don’t have an appetite for mediocrity.

      • Bradley was not bad. He was there for passing and maintaining possession which he can do, but look at our opponent. Against any half-way decent team, we need someone who can really defend and cover ground at his position. This is why so many are saying Adams is our best choice for that role.

  9. “the US showed its quality…” OUCH ! was that our quality? Seriously, if we win the group I will be surprised.

    • Ok, relax with the negativity without legit critique.
      You must have been surprised with the win.

      The positives:
      the wings looked lively.
      The CBs looked confident on the ball and any defending they had to do. I really like that pairing – was pleasantly surprised to see Miazga on the bench.
      Pulisic did look like his Dortmund self – confident (maybe too much at times).
      Did seem to be isolated at times on the wing. Would like to see him more centrally – I don’t thing that is a tactic thing as I beleive he is licensed to roam.
      And would have liked to see him get 90. Understand the injury prevention but when is the last time he got 90? Want to see him sharp throughout an entire game.

      Boyd. Not only his goals but his passing – especially his switch of play and crossing. Refreshing to see. See if he can build off of this.

      McKennie – until he went down, I think that was the best I’ve seen him. Saw his engine and effective on both sides of ball. Nice through ball to Ariola.

      Lima – underrated performance. I thought he was solid.

      Zardes poor play gave us a clear indication that Jozy should be our clear cut starter.
      There is something to be said of competition for spots.
      If Zardes does continue to start and Jozy is healthy, I will join the bandwagon in questioning Berhalter’s starting 11 selection.

      Guyana posed a nice competitive match as they did show some quality on the ball and have some athletes. It wasnt anything against us, they did try to compete. Good touches, etc.
      Which ultimately, I am thankful for. Proved to be a good friendly with an organized team that didnt entirely bunker.


      As others have said, central midfield left gaps. Bradley played well enough considering rust. It was the players above him that, for long stretches of game, didnt fill in as we were trying to build up. And we relied on wing play.

      Zardes – probably goes into the point above. he was the missing link last night.
      Wont beat a dead horse but against a team in the knockouts, we have to improve our hold up play dramatically.

      • Come on, now… players weren’t filling in around Bradley? Here’s an idea: how about we fill his position with a player who can actually run in that position (Adams when he is healthy again) so that players like McKennie don’t have to play double roles. Guyanan midfielders ran circles around him time and time again, making him look childish with all their tricks and stepovers. I thought I was watching Brazil at times. Bradley’s greatest asset is that he makes everyone around him look better… everyone on the opposing team, that is.

  10. There was no RB tucking in and help out the 6, Lima stayed out wide & got up & down the pitch, 2nite, in a 4-1-4-1. Every match except for halftime Jamaica, you can see this happening. That’s what people mean by Berhalters’ system – 3-2-4-1. The RB/Hybrid position doesn’t crisscross with the RW, unlike what we saw, this evening. Nothing confusing about it. Why have Tyler Adams, play THAT position, is what most of us were asking. Tyler Boyd got 2 goals, but also played very similar in his first match, corners & crosses were on point!

    • Berhalter looking to be deceptive with his ‘system’ and adjusting formation. When pressing 3/4 field it can look like a 4 2 2, but the top 2 force the ball wide and the strongside mid pressures the ball in front of him and it morphs into what looks like Pep’s staggered top lines in his 4 3 3 pressure as the wingbacks close that space behind the ball strongside. Not the Klopp idea on pressuring in the 4 3 3, for example. that’s one piece of his ‘system’, doable but not simple imo, maybe easier to implement at the club level with so many more reps with the team. anyway, a reader’s digest of a piece of the GB system I see

      • * it’s the strongside outside mid that pressure high to create the 3man front in the 3/4 pressure, to be clear, and the weakside outside mid drops into the second line and slides over

  11. I’d throw in a kudos to Guyana as well. They were well coached and brought a lot more to the table than I expected. Hardly the worst team I’ve seen in years watching the Gold Cup. Hope they get a point (or a goal or two) out of their efforts.

  12. I will keep my opinion to myself until we face Panama and TT. I knew we were going to go into automatic cruise and win this game. Hopefully Boyd will prove me wrong. Jozy needs to get minutes over Zardes.

  13. Looking back, I was a bit harsh on Arriola. He played well, but his crosses could be better. He overshoot them too many times, not that there were open runners. Agree with what Gary and French said. It was better, but it was a weak team. There were enough trifling signs there, defensive breakdowns, lack of control of the middle of the field that are still issues and will be punished by a better team. This type of display should be enough against T&T, but not for Panama let alone Mexico or Costa Rica.

  14. Decent enough. Biggest area of concern going forward to me is what was happening in the middle third. Didn’t establish dominance through the middle at all… at times it looked like we didn’t have enough bodies there. But the wing play was excellent on both sides. Would like to see Jozy for Zardes.

  15. Pulisic showed he can beat people 1v1, but he needs to find ways to get the ball to teammates more effectively, I thought he was the least effective attacker in terms of combination play.. McKennie was the guy who consistently made good passes up front. Bradley served some great balls from deeper, but he needs to play less conservatively; he still tends to pass back to keep possession rather than taking a risk by turning. Arriola and Boyd made some great runs and were rewarded for it when Bradley or McKennie got the ball to them.

  16. Not a bad performance, but certainly nothing special. The article says the US showed its quality. I didn’t see a lot. Everyone keeps talking about Berhalter’s system, but mostly I saw a lot of long passes for wingers to run on to and then make crosses. Most of the crosses were pretty bad. Occasionally you would see a defensive back go forward, but it wasn’t consistent. This was a lot like a US performance from 20 years ago. Boyd showed promise. How many more New Zealand-Americans can we tap into now?

  17. We are fortunate that we opened with Guyana and not Panama. Hopefully this game allowed the team to shake off the last 2 results and get some glow going.

    Excited to see how Boyd fits in going forward. Zardes didn’t help is case to continue starting. We lost the ball too many times down the middle, even against a tired Guyana team. That’s very troubling.


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