The United States Men’s National Team kicked off its 2019 Gold Cup with a 4-0 victory over Guyana in St. Paul, MN. Paul Arriola got the scoring started, Tyler Boyd netted a brace, and Gyasi Zardes deflected a shot in off his face. The U.S. dominated the match, but there was still plenty of room for improvement.
It was a dull first half with not much action. The U.S. controlled the game for the most part, and Guyana only had one shot in the first 45 minutes. Nick Lima did well on the right side, putting a few excellent crosses into the box. Weston McKennie, Arriola, and Christian Pulisic were the best players for the Yanks in the first 45 minutes.
The breakthrough came in the 28th minute. McKennie passed to Arriola after making a good run on the left side. Arriola got into the box, turned his hips, and sent a curling shot into the side netting. It was the 24-year-old’s fourth career international goal.
THERE IT IS!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 19, 2019
Paul Arriola scores the first USA goal of #GoldCup2019! pic.twitter.com/1mZWTFirj4
The U.S. should have doubled its lead minutes later. Boyd made a great cross-field pass to Arriola, who then sent a low cross into the box. Zardes had trouble controlling and then passed it off to Boyd, who shot just wide.
Ten minutes later it was Nick Lima’s turn to have a crack on net. Once again, it was McKennie that did the hard part. He got into the box and used fancy footwork to create space and send the cross in. Lima got into the box and sent a good shot on target. Guyana goalkeeper Akel Clarke got down to make the save and keep the score at just 1-0.
The half ended with the U.S. up by just one goal. Defensively, the Yanks did well and rarely gave up any chances. However, the Americans struggled in possession and gave up the ball too easily. The U.S. out-shot Guyana 12-1 (3-0 on target) and held 57% possession.
The U.S. came out of the locker room a little flat. The Yanks still controlled the game but were not threatening in the opening stages. That changed very quickly though as the U.S. doubled its lead in the 51st minute.
Boyd made a good run out right to get free. Michael Bradley did not see him at first, but Boyd adjusted his run and then Bradley sent a perfect cross to Boyd. The 24-year-old trapped the ball took a few touches and cracked a shot into the back of the net. The goal was Boyd’s first international goal and the 1,000th goal for the U.S. in the team’s 700th game.
TYLER BOYD!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 19, 2019
He scores his first-ever goal for the USMNT and puts the USA up by ✌️ pic.twitter.com/I0Zcietspa
About five minutes later, Zardes got his goal. It was a bizarre goal that somehow is the perfect representation of Zardes on the national team. Arriola took a shot, and it was blocked by a Guyana defender. The ball then smacked Zardes in the face and deflected into the back of the net, and the Yanks went up 3-0.
Just how they drew it up!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 19, 2019
Paul Arriola's shot deflects off Zardes and makes it 3-0 pic.twitter.com/Ys6ph3CAhG
Zack Steffen was forced into his first save in the 69th minute. Keanu Marsh-Brown dribbled down the middle of the field. He took a right footed shot that forced Steffen into a diving save.
There was a scary moment for the U.S. in the 73rd minute. McKennie looked a little slow for a while, and he went to ground holding his hamstring. Djordje Mihailovic was forced to substitute on for the young midfielder, who went straight to the locker room, walking gingerly under his own power.
Boyd got his brace in the 81st minute. It looked like the U.S. would be happy with the 3-0 victory and the game was starting to close out. Boyd changed that with a blast from just outside the top of the box.
TYLER BOYD AGAIN!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 19, 2019
What a strike for his second goal of the night pic.twitter.com/NT8yIt8ZGG
The U.S. finished the game ahead in almost all statistical categories. The Yanks out-shot Guyana 20-4, had more shots on target (6-1), and held 60% possession. The Americans will need to improve with the ball at their feet though moving forward, as there were many sloppy giveaways and Zardes wasted numerous chances to score in front of goal with poor touches.
The U.S. is back in action on Saturday when the Yanks take on Trinidad and Tobago at 8 p.m. ET in Cleveland, OH.