The US men's national team labored their way to a 1-0 win over Haiti on Sunday evening in Group B of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, opening their confederation championship campaign at Children's Mercy Park, the home of Sporting Kansas City.
HIGHLIGHTS: USA vs Haiti | July 11, 2021
Colorado Rapids left back Sam Vines settled the scoring in the 8th minute, latching onto a cross from right back Shaq Moore that was flicked on by Columbus Crew striker Gyasi Zardes. Vines made a late-arriving run at the back post, then powerfully headed home from six yards out for the 1-0 lead.
The USMNT created two strong first-half looks through Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman, with his volley in the 6th minute rattling off the crossbar. Then deep into first-half stoppage time, Haiti goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre saved Zimmerman’s header after LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget whipped in a left-footed cross.
Nicholas Gioacchini, one of four non-MLS players on the 23-man roster, struck the left post in the 66th minute when opting for placement over power. The Ligue 2-based forward subbed on in the 14th minute for D.C. United wide player Paul Arriola, who was removed after feeling tightness in his right hamstring.
Haiti’s best looks arrived via Columbus Crew winger Derrick Etienne Jr., though he couldn’t steer home shots in the 5th and 20th minutes.
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio debuted in the 62nd minute, making the 19-year-old cap-tied to the USMNT after appearing in an official competition. Busio had been eligible for Italy’s national team as well, this moment arriving the same day the Azzurri hoisted the Euro 2020 title.
Busio answered the home-crowd ovation with a scorching right-footed volley from 25 yards out in the 76th minute that Sylvestre kept out with a strong right hand. Shortly before, Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson and New York City FC defender James Sands subbed on for their senior-team debuts.
- 8' – USA – Sam Vines | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Head coach Gregg Berhalter’s team looked improved once second-half substitutes entered the picture, though this was a checkered Gold Cup opener from the USMNT. They never truly dominated and couldn’t find a second goal that would have put the game to bed. Haiti gave the USMNT all they could handle, with Les Grenadiers banding together as political crisis engulfs the Caribbean country after president Jovenel Moise was assassinated earlier this week. And with five players out after testing positive for COVID-19, Haiti’s depth was severely tested.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: In his fourth USMNT cap, Sam Vines scored his first international goal. The Colorado Rapids homegrown loves to get forward, owning one goal and one assist through eight MLS games this season.
GOAL: Sam Vines hits the back of the net for USA
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Shaq Moore was a constant bright spot at right back, starting after former FC Dallas homegrown Reggie Cannon was held out with what U.S. Soccer called “right hamstring soreness.” The 24-year-old CD Tenerife (Segunda Division) defender was subbed off in the 76th minute, building his case for a higher spot on the right-back depth chart.
- USA: Thursday, July 15 vs. Martinique | 9:30 pm ET (FS1, UniMas, TUDN) | Concacaf Gold Cup Group Stage
- HAI: Thursday, July 15 vs. Canada | 7:30 pm ET (FS1, TUDN) | Concacaf Gold Cup Group Stage