The United States men’s national team kicked off their 2021 Gold Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over Haiti, as Sam Vines scored his first senior international goal.
New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner maintained a clean sheet, while Major League Soccer players Gianluca Busio, James Sands and Eryk Williamson maintained stability during their USMNT debut. Despite the result, the United States did not dominate as expected and head coach Gregg Berhalter walked away disappointed in the team’s performance.
“We still need to go to another gear. You can see we’re a little rusty, the movements weren’t as clean as they normally were, and we didn’t create enough and we didn’t finish enough chances,” he said, before digging into the criticism.
“I missed the urgency to score more goals, to be dangerous, to play first pass forward and aggressive.
“To me, it was way too slow, way too backwards and not enough intent to turn Haiti around and get them defending in the penalty box. And then once we were in the penalty box, I didn’t like the runs and movement in the box – I didn’t like the service. So from the attacking end, we were disappointed with the intent that we showed tonight.”
Prior to the tournament, Berhalter admitted to calling up a squad with limited offensive depth, hoping to see Nicholas Gioacchini and Matthew Hoppe thrive on the wings. During the match against Haiti, the team’s finite resources proved to be a problem, especially after Paul Arriola limped off the pitch in the 14th minute with an apparent hamstring complication.
“So it was mixing and matching a little bit, and I thought we lost our effectiveness – Paul is really drilled on how we want our wingers to play. So that was a big loss in the game, you could see how effective he was early” commented Berhalter.
Moving forward, the USMNT must improve when facing a tougher Canadian side and potentially the Mexican national team further down in the competition.