Preview: USMNT vs Martinique

The United States Men’s National Team continue their Gold Cup campaign tonight against Martinique. The Yanks sit in second place in Group B, tied with Canada on three points but behind on goal difference. After a 1-0 win over Haiti last time out, Gregg Berhalter’s side will look for an emphatic performance against one of the smaller sides in the tournament.

Martinique 🇲🇶

A member of the French Overseas Department, Les Matinino aren’t FIFA affiliated. Despite their relatively small stature within Concacaf, they’ve qualified for seven Gold Cups, making it to the quarterfinal round in 2002. 18 of their 23 players ply their trade domestically, with the five exceptions playing in France’s Ligue 2, Italy’s Serie B, Spain’s Segunda División and the eighth tier in France.

Martinique were unsurprisingly blown out in their opener against Canada, losing 4-1 in a match in which they saw just 35% of the ball. They played in a nominal 4-3-3, with their holding midfielder playing as a defacto centerback. You never want to write a team off before a match starts, but it’s hard to see Martinique pulling out any kind of result from this one.

United States 🇺🇸

The USMNT won against Haiti, and while the match wasn’t quite as close as the 1-0 scoreline would suggest, it wasn’t quite as emphatic as fans would have wanted. In fairness to Haiti, they put up a strong showing, and Concacaf sides are perennially underrated by fans and media alike.

Berhalter’s winger selection turned heads before tournament, and Haiti win did nothing to answer those questions. Jonathan Lewis looked every bit a man who’s barely seen the field for Colorado this season, and Paul Arriola limped off with hamstring tightness after just 14 minutes. Martinique seems like a good opportunity to rotate ahead of a crucial match against Canada to round out the group stage, but the lack of winger depth means players will have to play outside their natural roles.

Gianluca Busio showed exceptionally well off the bench, and deserves a chance to start. Eryk Williamson also impressed off the bench, and while Cristian Roldan has been in exceptional form for his club, Williamson appears to be ahead of him in the pecking order.

Reggie Cannon could get a start ahead of Shaq Moore, but his fitness is in question after a late injury kept him out last week. James Sands could potentially replace either Walker Zimmerman or Miles Robinson (or even play as a no. 6), but seems more likely to come off the bench. Aside from his goal, Sam Vines didn’t make an emphatic case to retain his starting spot, and against weak opposition, George Bello could get a chance.

Prediction

Even if Berhalter uses tonight as a chance to rotate heavily, the U.S. should have far too much quality. Calling a 5-0 win for the home side.

Match info

Date: Thursday, July 15
Time: 9:00 PM Central
Location: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Television: FS1 (English), Univision & TUDN (Spanish)

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