The Gold Cup game ball is seen before the start of the Mexico v El Salvador Group C match in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, July 9, 2017 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. After Omar Gonzalez pulled the USA ahead, Morris made his chances count, driving in on nice near post run to sneak in front of the Martinique 'keeper and tuck home a centering pass from Eric Lichaj in the 64 minute. The Seattle Sounders forward's one job is to score goals for the Yanks, and he did that twice against Martinique with a brace to double his scoring total with the USMNT, both coming in important spots during the match. As a result the U.S. got their win, and because of Panama's 2-1 win, are on top of Group B thanks to the goals scored tiebreaker. The group stages close out on Saturday against Nicaragua, who Martinique beat 2-0. Agudelo was strong on the ball and made smart passes, but it was Morris who saved the US from embarrassment with a second-half brace. The Americans produced a bad performance in the opening match, a boring draw against Panama. Not only did Martinique score both of its goals after Acosta left the game, it also had its foot on the gas pedal for stretches. Arena said all the Caribbean countries have improved from previous years, a positive sign for CONCACAF.
The U.S. roster includes two players who played on the high school level in San Diego County - midfielders Paul Arriola (Mater Dei Catholic High) and Joe Corona (Sweetwater High).
An early goal would settle the nerves for the tournament hosts, and Morris will likely be looked to again to provide the killer blow given he is in fine form. "I'm very proud", he said after logging 90 minutes against Les Matinino. Should the USA manager employ a two-forward formation, who will join the Sporting Kansas City man? He allowed two weak goals and did little to help himself.
The performance has left plenty to be desired for USA fans, but it got the result when it needed it and is back on track.
Guzan, Gonzalez and Acosta were the only holdovers.
It was Matt Hedges who was left with his tail between his legs eight minutes later. The second year club now sits in second place in USL's Western Conference, boasting a record that includes just one loss in 16 matches played. As the half progressed, Martinique got more and more comfortable and ended with a couple of good chances that forced Brad Guzan into action.
Justin Morrow did not stand out or have an impact. Grade: C+.
On Morris' first goal, he beat his defender with a lovely near-post run and used his left toe to tuck the cross from right back Eric Lichaj between the keeper and the post. The Yanks should be able to be a convincing Gold Cup group victor whether it sends its Top 23 or men Nos.
But when the match started, I could only think... damn, I have a book to finish for a book club meetup.