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Crew striker Gyasi Zardes scores for the United States in 6-1 win against Martinique

The Black & Gold striker scored off the bench as the USMNT advanced to the Gold Cup quarterfinals.

SOCCER: JUL 11 Concacaf Gold Cup - USA v Haiti

It was a great night for the United States Men’s National Team in a 6-1 defeat of Martinique in the 2021 Gold Cup 6-1 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The victory for the Americans books the team’s spot to the quarterfinals in impressive fashion.

Columbus Crew striker Gyasi Zardes scored for the U.S. after just two minutes off the bench. He came on in the 68th minute for Man of the Match Daryl Dike, who scored two goals in the win.

The USMNT got off to a decent start in the first half, keeping more than 75 percent of the possession in the first 10 minutes but not creating a good chance on goal. The breakthrough came in the 13th minute with Matthew Hoppe sending a cross into the penalty box where his cross met the head of Dike, who put it in the net. The goal was Dike’s second for the United States.

In the 23rd minute, the Americans got a second goal in an odd sequence. The attack was flowing and Gianluca Busio had an open shot that clanged off the crossbar. Dike went up for the rebound and had a soft header that went back on target before Martinique defender Sammuel Camille ran back to attempt to clear it with his heels. Instead, the ball hit his heels and went over his head to the back of the net. The goal was initially an own goal, was later officially ruled as Dike’s second of the match but then reverted back to an own goal.

The U.S. got the team’s third early in the second half as a corner was sent in the 50th minute but went long. Eryk Williamson recovered the ball at the back post and sent a cross in where an unmarked Miles Robinson headed home his second international goal. The fourth goal was scored in the 59th minute when Dike got his real second goal after a quick solo run and chip over the Martinique keeper.

In the 64th minute, Martinique got a goal after Kellyn Acosta committed a foul in the 18-yard box just a few minutes after coming on. The penalty was taken by Emmanuel Riviere, who shot it low to Matt Turner’s right.

In the 68th minute, Crew striker Gyasi Zardes came on for Dike to get 22 minutes on the pitch. Just two minutes after entering the game, Zardes got his goal when he was clean through on goal. The Columbus striker had an open shot and took it with a powerful low-driven shot into the bottom corner to make it 5-1 to the United States.

The sixth goal came in the 90th minute with Nicholas Gioacchini put the finishing touch on a Busio cross.

Daryl Dike makes his case to be U.S.’s striker

The Orlando City forward was tipped to be among the top options to be the USMNT’s No. 9 heading into World Cup qualifiers and Dike made a case on Thursday. A brace against Martinique isn’t the most impressive performance, but his consistency in front of the net in the game and during his time on loan at Barnsley surely makes Dike a contender for starting striker.

It will be up to head coach Greg Berhalter to decide if he goes with Dike or Zardes for the bigger games coming up in this tournament and beyond.

Zardes scores two minutes off the bench

Dike made the strongest case to be the USMNT striker but Zardes had his say as well. The Columbus striker has a goal contribution now in both of the Americans’ group games by scoring his 13th international goal against Martinique. He assisted the lone U.S. goal in the 1-0 win against Haiti last Sunday.

Zardes has shown his consistency in providing goals for both the Crew and the United States and with his connections with Berhalter, he just might find a place in World Cup qualifying squads. The United States is in good hands up front with Dike or Zardes for this Gold Cup.

What’s Next

The United States is through to the quarterfinals but has one last group game against Canada on Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. The match will determine who wins Group B, with the USMNT needing a win to claim first place. Canada just needs a draw to win the group due to the team’s higher goals scored.

Group B Standings

1. (A) Canada (6 PTS, +6 GD)

2. (A) United States (6 PTS, +6 GD)

3. (E) Haiti (0 PTS, -4 GD)

4. (E) Martinique (0 PTS, -8 GD)