The United States men’s national team advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals for the 14th time in 15 editions of the tournament on Sunday night. 

The performance in the 1-0 win against 79th ranked Curacao was underwhelming. Weston McKinnie scored his second international goal in the 25th minute on an assist from Christian Pulisic. The win may have been the only positive from the match.

American manager Gregg Berhalter went with the lineup that started the first two games of the tournament. A 4-1-4-1 system that featured Zack Steffen in goal; Nick Lima, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long and Tim Ream as the defenders; Michael Bradley in holding midfield; Tyler Boyd, Weston McKinnie, Christian Pulisic and Paul Arriola in midfield and Gyassi Zardes at forward.

None of the starting XI had ties to Florida, either through birthplace, hometown or club. Nevertheless, here are five thoughts from the match:

  • Christian Pulisic, nearly three months away from his 21st birthday, was named captain for the first time in his international career. He created McKinnie’s goal with a lofted cross to the back post, similar to his assist that set up Aaron Long’s goal against Trinidad & Tobago in the group stage. In 28 appearances for the USMNT he has played a part in 20 goals (11 goals, nine assists).
  • The United States went more than 50 minutes without taking a shot on goal — against Curacao. During that period the Caribbean nation with a population of 160,000 residents, pressed the Americans into a ponderous passes and little connection between Michael Bradley at the base of midfield and the four midfielders in front of him.
  • Curacao routinely broke through the USMNT’s defensive shape over the final 65 minutes of the game. In all, the Caribbean underdog had more possession (53 %), more corner kicks (six) and completed more passes (426 to 404) than the USMNT.
  • The only reason Curacao did not, at least, force the match into penalty kicks after 90 minutes was because goalie Zack Steffan palmed Leandro Bacuna’s shot over the bar in the 84th minute. Steffan has six clean sheets in 13 appearances for the USMNT.
  • The Americans have not allowed a goal in four matches in the Gold Cup. Their streak of four straight clean sheets is the program’s longest run in 11 years. (The Americans posted six straight clean sheets in 2008 — one of those was a scoreless draw against Argentina, the other five were World Cup qualifiers.)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.