The United States Men’s National opened their Gold Cup play with a 4-0 victory over Guyana. It was a historical night as the game marked the team’s 700th game, and their second goal of the night was the 1,000th goal ever scored.
This Gold Cup is the USMNT’s first tournament since they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and first competitive match under former Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Tyler Boyd and Paul Arriola made great impressions for the United States in Tuesday’s match. Boyd took a brace in just his second international performance, while Arriola finished the night with a goal and a secondary assist. Both players were great assets in offensive production.
Columbus Crew fans saw many familiar faces representing their country. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen and striker Gyasi Zardes started and played the full 90 minutes. Zardes got the third goal of the night for the Americans. Crew captain Wil Trapp also made an appearance, subbing in in the 62nd minute.
Both teams started the match with aggression. Possession was even as both teams pushed to create offensive chances. About ten minutes in everything began to settle and the U.S. was able to keep more possession. Chances became fewer, but ball movement consequently became cleaner.
The first real chance for the U.S. came in the 18th minute when a run up the right side led to a scramble in the box and ultimately a shot from Tyler Boyd that went just wide.
Zardes got a foot on the end of a through ball from Weston McKennie in the 20th minute and put it in the back of the net, but was called offside without argument.
Guyana became more offensively aggressive at this point in the match, giving the U.S. more chances on the counter.
Midfielder Paul Arriola and forward Christian Pulisic had great chances within a few minutes of each other, before Arriola finally broke through with an incredible finish from a tight angle to the left of the box. He put pace on the end of a pass from McKennie, bending it around the Guyanan keeper and into the net at the far post. Arriola is the only player who has played every match under Gregg Berhalter.
After a flurry of chances following the goal, the game settled into another possession battle between the two teams. The half ended with two great chances for the U.S., the first coming off of a free kick that settled to the feet of Nick Lima who ripped it low and left forcing the Guyanan goalkeeper to make his second save of the night.
The last play of the half came from a cross from Lima that connected with the head of Pulisic. It fell to the feet of Zardes who was to close to the goalkeeper to be able to do much with it.
The first half, though overall a decent performance, should’ve been a different story with the U.S. putting up 12 shots to Guyana’s one. Their urgency in the final third was simply not as high as it should’ve been.
The second half started right where the first left off, playing out as a possession battle with little urgency being shown from either side.
Then, in the 51st minute and the half’s first burst of energy, Boyd made a perfect run to get on the end of an aerial switch from Michael Bradley. Boyd settled the ball and took a fast shot to the far post, flying past the Guyanan keeper to put the Americans up 2-0. This was Boyd’s first international goal in his second international cap. The goal is the 1,000th goal in U.S. Men’s National Team history.
The third goal of the night came in the 55th minute on odd deflection. Arriola took a shot from wide that deflected off of a Guyanan defender, which then bounced off of the face of Zardes and into the back of the net. Zardes was in visible pain with the surprise goal, but shook off the shock of the unexpected header that put his team up 3-0.
Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen was forced to make his first and only save of the night when Guyana made space and fired a shot that forced Steffen to dive after and make a two-handed save. It was Guyana’s third shot of the night and first on frame.
Columbus Crew captain Wil Trapp joined his club teammates, Zardes and Steffen, in the 62nd minute when he came on for Michael Bradley. Christian Roldan subbed on for Pulisic at the same time.
Tyler Boyd wasn’t content with just a goal so early in his international career, and took a brace for himself in the 81st minute. He created space and ripped a shot from just outside the eighteen that sailed right past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The 24-year-old had quite the overall performance in his second international appearance.
The win was a solid start to the tournament. The talent gulf between the Americans and Guyana was clear. The team will need to build on the performance as they face more challenging opponents as the tournament progresses.
The Americans now look to improve as they face off against Trinidad and Tobago, a rematch of the game that ultimately knocked the U.S. out of the World Cup. That second round of the group stage will take place on Saturday, June 22 at 8 P.M. ET in Cleveland.