USMNT vs Guyana Recap
The U.S. Men’s National Team played their first competitive game in over 600 days last night. We opened up our 2019 Gold Cup campaign against Guyana, who if you didn’t know, most famous bird is called the Cock of the Rock. But we needed a good performance coming into this game. We missed out on wins against Jamaica and Paraguay as warm ups to this tournament and did so in ugly fashion. We did not field or even have available our strongest XI for both of those games, but still, not results we should be having on our results.
But back to last night. When the starting line-ups were announced I was quickly worried. Zardes up top over Jozy? Zimmerman and Long starting over Miazga? And for god sake can we get a left-back?! But once the initial shock wore off, I used some logic and realized, we are playing Guyana. Why not save an injury prone Jozy for more important games against Panama, Trinidad, and potentially beyond? Let’s give Zimmerman/Long a run out at center-back because both are fully capable and should be able to do this. And Tim Ream? He played in the EPL last season right? He can do it!
I said before the game, if the USMNT win 4-0 then I am happy and less worried moving forward in this Gold Cup. We didn’t score in this game until the 28th minute… that worried me. We had some positive offensive movements and possession before that goal but we couldn’t hit that final touch or final shot. Tyler Boyd was heavily involved down the right wing; speeding past defenders, getting balls into the box, and getting others involved… but with no luck early. But in the 28th minute, Weston McKennie gets the ball out wide on the left, he plays a ball across the ground that splits the left-back and the midfielder tracking back trying to cover Paul Arriola, the ball finds the feet of Arriola on a full sprint who curls it past the keeper and into the side netting. 1-0 USMNT.
It was not a clean half, it was not the best half of soccer from the USMNT, Guyana had their chances to score, maybe a better team would have taken more advantage of those chances, but it was 1-0 after 45 minutes and we were winning. The second half is where we found much better form and we saw others flourish.
In the 51st minute, Michael Bradley pulled out one of his magical MB moments that we’ve seen over the years. He drops a LONG ball down the field that finds the feet of Tyler Boyd at the top of the box. Boyd is now one on one with left-back. He cuts in then out and takes the opportunity for a shot past the defender, slotting it home far corner. 2-0 USMNT. Boyd finally got to celebrate a goal after a wonderful 50 minutes before that.
Only 4 minutes later we would see the USMNT strike again, and this time off of the face of that yellow haired Designated Player, Gyasi Zardes. Paul Arriola puts in a hard shot in from outside the box that a Guyana center-back tries to head out danger. The balls comes off the defender’s head and smacks Gyasi Zardes right in the face. The ball comes hard off Zardes’s face and hits the back of the net. 3-0 USMNT. Not the most traditional way to find a goal, but a goal none-the-less.
In the closing minutes of this game, we saw Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd make some magic once again for the final USMNT goal. Arriola was out wide on the left and got the ball to Tyler Boyd at the top of the box. Boyd dribbles towards the middle of the box, and with no pressure, RIPS a shot past the keeper and seals the deal on a wonderful game from him. 4-0 USMNT.
On the night of the USMNT’s 700th game, we saw a magical performance from former New Zealand international and now USMNT star in the making Tyler Boyd. A brace from Boyd lead the way but he didn’t just have two goals. Boyd was involved in seemingly every positive offensive play from the red, white, and blue. Fellow winger Paul Arriola had a good night as well finishing with a goal, an assist, and a ball that lead to Gyasi’s face goal. Other quiet but very good performances came from midfielders Weston McKennie, Michael Bradley, and right-back Nick Lima.
Now, I am trying to be super positive about the USMNT and their performance, but there were some questions. We did not see a great game from Christian Pulisic who was subbed out early, and not looking happy coming off the field. Can that turn into an angry Pulisic who dominates Trinidad and Panama? Hopefully!!! How strong is this back line? Not heavily tested last night and some minor mental mistakes that were cleaned up. Would a Mexico, Canada, or Costa Rica make us pay for those mistakes? And why did we start so slow? Was it purely the fact of getting some of these players acclimated with each other in a real game? That one I don’t know. But, I do know that we won, we scored four, and Guyana scored zero. But us USMNT will continue to be self-loathing, so do you U.S. soccer… do you.