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Vines winner helps USMNT top Haiti in Gold Cup opener


A day after the Mexican national team stumbled in its Gold Cup opener, the U.S. men’s national team also found itself in a trick first match of the competition.

Fortunately for Gregg Berhalter’s men, however, they were able to fend off a feisty Haiti side, with a first-half header finish from Sam Vines eventually holding up as the winner in an eventual 1-0 victory for the USMNT at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on Sunday night.

Facing a Haiti side missing a handful of players due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak among its squad, the Americans scored early to take control, with a Gyasi Zardes redirecting a Shaq Moore cross into the path of a streaking Vines, who headed home his first national team goal in the eighth minute.

The USMNT dealt with some early adversity in the form of the early departure of veteran winger Paul Arriola, who was forced out of the match in the 14th minute with hamstring tightness, paving the way for Nicholas Gioacchini to enter the match.

Haiti had a good chance to equalize in the 20th minute when Derrick Etienne found himself with a clear look from 15 yards out, but the Columbus Crew winger sent his shot wide of the USMNT net.

The Americans struggled to find a second goal despite creating a handful of chances, with Walker Zimmerman seeing one chance hit the crossbar and another chance saved just before halftime.

The second half saw the USMNT continue to struggle to add an insurance goal, but came closest in the 67th minute when Nicholas Gioacchini sent a shot off the post.

The USMNT received a boost from second-half substitutes Gianluca Busio, Eryk Williamson, Daryl Dike and James Sands, who all helped contribute to the home side taking control of the match in the final 30 minutes in was the national team debut for Busio, Williamson and Sands.

Busio was particularly impressive, forcing a good save with a hard shot early in his appearance, and showing poise and confidence on the ball as the USMNT operated in a 5-3-2 formation to close out the match.

The USMNT finished with a 63-37 edge in possession, outshooting Haiti 13-10, though that a good chunk of that edge in possession was accumulated in the final third of the match, as Haiti struggled to mount much of a threat late on.

The American defense held on for the shutout, with Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman completing a solid night in central defense, and Matt Turner recorded three saves for the shutouts.

The USMNT sits in second place in Group B after the victory, behind Canada, which posted a 4-1 win against Martinique to start the night.  The Americans will continue their Gold Cup on Thursday against Martinique.


  1. I hope we don’t see Lewis again…not sure what he brings to the team…the LB has to cover for him, the offense comes to a complete stop on his side of the field bc he doesn’t make good decisions, he clogs the field bc he doesn’t make good runs….Haiti realized he doe nothing and was able to over commit on the right side defensively and create problems….why keep trying this guy….time to move on to the next option…

  2. I thought that overall Vines had a rather poor game. He made some easy give-aways in the first half and was routinely late in getting back when Haiti countered. His second half was a bit better. The star for the me was Moore he continually attacked up the right and put in several good crosses, defensively he got back to defend and won nearly all of his 1v1 battles. Yueill was not great, he did make a nice dribble under pressure to get the ball out of the corner, but then proceeded to make a poor pass; that was typical of his play, some good things with some poor passes sprinkled in. Also, he was not anywhere to be found when Haiti countered up the middle. Busio was better, but he seemed a bit weak to be an international defensive mid; he’s only 19 and will get stronger, still Busio>Yueil. Both centerbacks did what they were supposed to do with minimal drama; except for a couple great long balls by Zimmerman they kept things relatively boring which is a good thing. Acosta, Lletget and Zardes did what you expect of them, nothing more. Lewis had a poor game.

    • Seemed repeatedly, glaringly obvious before the match that Yueill isn’t this level. That Lewis has no business here- he doesn’t even play at his club. Game after game we continually play with no width, lack creativity in midfield selections. We literally brought one winger and he’s now out. You want wide offense with wingbacks… Vines is not your guy. Busio was an obvious and clear upgrade with his distribution, control in tight spaces… and defensively. Of course he was- does this surprise anyone who has watched him and Yueill play?. Certain points we seem to be beating our heads against a wall when there are glaringly obvious better options. It’s baffling. The pundits declare we’ve learned something and still- we see the same selections, tactics. Berhalter seems a great motivator, hard worker, detail oriented, smart… gets a lot right but… geeez there seems to be some blind spots that seem out of step with my former descriptors. Happy we got the win. Hopefully we…. really did learn something.

    • Agree, Vines had a poor game which was disappointing cause I really wanted to see him shine tonight. I hope Bello gets the next start. I’ve seen enough of Vines to know he is not international ready

    • I thought Vines was much better in the 2nd half. I’m going to give him a little leeway though because he had to push so far forward because Lewis was invisible. With no threat on the left Haiti’s attacker didn’t need to track back at all so they could quickly switch to their right and catch Vines upfield. I like Bello but I think he’d have been in the same spot. Moore had less affect after the first 30 mins because Nazon kept having to track back to help cover Shaq and Nico. I hear Nazon wants to come to MLS he looks like he’d be a nice physical presence for some MLS squad, (replacement for Dike in Orlando?).
      Gregg clearly wanted experience to get the group stage started off on the right foot. It worked sort of. There was no creativity from MF, until Busio and Williamson came on. The NL trio has to create their chances from the counter press and this was the area that Yueill actually was decent in but Jackson and Lleget weren’t athletic enough to counter press Haiti’s speed in midfield.
      For all the complaints about this Euro player should be here or Ochoa training with Mexico, to me the Lewis inclusion is the biggest mistake. I get trying him in Jan. 2019, he got 2 assists ok you give him a shot on 2019 GC roster (the other young wingers were U20 eligible let them go to WC) but Lewis wasn’t good enough to play 65 minutes against Panama when we were already through. We thought we’d learned he’s not good enough, no call ups in NL group stage, failed horribly in Olympic qualifying (1 of 3 worst players). Why then reward him by starting him? He doesn’t even start for Colorado! I’d rather see Corey Baird or Mihailovic playing on the LW.


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