USMNT moves up to first place in Group B


Leslie Sarinana, Copy Editor

The United States men’s national soccer team struggled offensively against Group B leader Martinique’s prevailing defense, yet squeezed through with a 3-2 win on Wednesday evening.

USMNT moved up to first place in Group B with the win over the Caribbean team.

In the first half Martinique was consistent and aggressive in keeping the ball in the box and challenging the USMNT. At first it looked like the U.S. was coming back stronger than their last game, but soon fell down and didn’t quite match Martinique’s grueling defense.

Neither team managed to score in the first 45 minutes. Martinique generated the most chances and crossed into the box a lot but failed to score.

Both teams amped it up in the second half and fought to stay on top. After a blocked strike by Arriola in the 54th minute, Gonzales finished the play and put up the first goal of the night, marking his second career goal for the USMNT. Gonzales proved to be a solid veteran presence throughout the night in what felt like a makeshift defense.

Only ten minutes later they doubled their lead thanks to Lichaj who squared for Morris to score.

Right as it seemed as if the game was in the bag, Martinique came back by finally beating keeper Brad Guzan. Eight minutes later, Parsemain put another one up on the board, tying the game. The play could have resulted in a penalty on the USMNT, but the officials played the advantage.

Martinique managed to put up goals against the USMNT despite a lesser possession percentage—62 to 38 percent in favor of the Americans. However, the islanders’ defense seemed to weaken towards the last 20 minutes of the game, allowing team USA to play the ball in space .

The tension built as the USMNT struggled to score after that. Failed attempts included Arreola striking above the bar, 6 yards out and Bedoya going in for center shot in minute 68. Finally, in minute 75 after a diagonal pass from Zardis to Morris, USMNT scored their third goal taking advantage of a defense that seemed beat.

To the relief of the U.S., offside was called on Martinique on a goal scored in minute 84. The final U.S. sub was McCarty coming in for Agudelo in the last 10 minutes of the game. Agudelo was another one of Arenas’ much-needed additions to the squad after not seeing any action during the game against Panama.

After a wrong offside call on Morris in minute 83 USMNT fought to secure their win and proved to be more aggressive in the final minutes of the game.

USMNT moved up to the first spot in Group B, leaving Panama in second despite being leveled on goal difference thanks to host advantage.

Group B after today’s matches
U.S. 4 points +1 goal difference (would qualify for next round)
Panama 4 points +1 goal difference (would qualify for next round)
Martinique 3 points +1 goal difference
Nicaragua 0 points -3 goal difference

Next up, the United States will face Nicaragua on July 15, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.