If the United States’ 1-0 win over Haiti left fans wanting more, their 6-1 win over Martinique was emphatic. Striker Daryl Dike scored a brace to cap off a mostly comfortable team performance to put the Yanks level on points with Canada ahead of their Group B showdown on Sunday.
Is Daryl Dike the answer?
Fans have been clamoring for the Orlando City striker to get a chance up front for the national team, especially after his successful loan spell at Barnsley. Albeit against weaker opposition, Dike showed strongly. Flanked by Cristian Roldan and Matthew Hoppe, Dike was a force. His first goal was a header smashed off the far post. After forcing an own goal from another header, his second was a thing of beauty. A slightly fortunate first touch set him up for a magnificent second touch, lifting the ball over a sprawling defender before chipping the ‘keeper for his second of the night.
At 21, Dike still has room to grow. He a few instances of sloppy technique, but the energy and take-no-prisoners mentality of his performance was special. His movement in the box is impressive, and he gets himself into good spots more often than not.
Gyasi Zardes isn’t going down without a fight, scoring a goal two minutes after replacing Dike off the bench. And come September, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah and Jordan Siebatcheu will certainly be in the conversation for the starting no. 9 job. But Dike got his long-awaited chance and made Berhalter’s decision even more difficult.
James Sands gives the U.S. a different look
James Sands has been one of the more underrated midfielders in MLS. He’s been a consistent standout at NYCFC, and has been due a call-up for a while. Able to play both as a holding midfielder or further back as a defender, Sands played between Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman in the back line. His passing range and ability to misdirect defenders really opened up space in possession.
Sands was able to beat the first line of possession on the ball before breaking lines with a pass, and it was a consistent threat for the U.S. in this one. He offers cover in a number of positions, and should continue to play a role in this team, not just throughout the tournament but into World Cup qualifying in the fall.
Gregg Berhalter has begun to mix in a back three more frequently, and having a player with Sands’ passing range and ability in possession solves a lot of problems and makes this formation a more feasible option.
Canada match will be an accurate measuring stick
Heading into the final match of the group stage, the U.S. and Canada are tied for the Group B lead with six points each, although Canada leads on goals scored. The match will have major implications on the rest of the tournament, with the loser heading to Mexico’s side of the bracket.
Canada are in fantastic form and will be a much tougher test than either of the U.S.’s previous opponents. Despite the scoreline, a 6-1 win over a Martinique side largely made of semi-professional players isn’t exactly a sturdy litmus test. Sunday’s matchup will give the Yanks a much more accurate picture of where they stand and where they need to improve.
United States 🇺🇸 (3-4-2-1): Turner; Zimmerman © (Pines 79′), Sands, Robinson; Moore (Acosta 58′), Busio, Williamson (Yueill 79′), Bello; Roldan, Dike (Zardes 68′), Hoppe (Gioacchini 58′)
Martinique 🇲🇶 (5-4-1): Giles; Burner, Babin (Jougon 57′), Cretinoir, Gerald, Abaul; Herelle (Grelet 76′), Camille, Marajo (Vitulin 76′), Fortun (Enrick 69′); Riviere (Thimon 69′)
Possession: MTQ 36% – 64% USA
Shots: MTQ 13 – 22 USA
Shots on goal: MTQ 5 – 12 USA
Goals: MTQ 1 – 6 USA
Fouls: MTQ 13 – 17 USA
Corners: MTQ 0 – 13 USA
Yellow cards: MTQ 0 – 0 USA
Red cards: MTQ 0 – 0 USA