New England Soccer Today

Agudelo Starts in Wild Win Over Martinique

Photo credit: U.S. Soccer

Revolution striker Juan Agudelo started up top for the United States in Wednesday’s wild 3-2 Gold Cup win over Martinique in Group B play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Agudelo’s inclusion in the XI was his first of the tournament while fellow Revolution teammate Kelyn Rowe, who started in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Panama, was among the substitutes on Wednesday. Agudelo went 86 minutes before he was replaced by Dax McCarty.

Following a scoreless first 45, the match opened up with a fury in the second frame. The U.S. kicked off the scoring in the 53rd minute on an Omar Gonzalez header before Jordan Morris widened the gap in the 64th minute.

Kevin Parsemain spoiled Brad Guzan’s bid at a clean sheet after scoring in the 66th minute while Johan Audelo briefly leveled it in the 74th minute. But Morris had the final say in the 75th minute when tapped though a Gyasi Zardes pass to put the U.S. up for good.

With the win, the U.S. improved to four points, good for the top spot in the Group B standings after two matches.

Martinique nearly got the jump on the U.S. when #20 dribbled into the box before giving a short pass left to #11, who beat Brad Guzan before the shot smacked off the near post in the 32nd minute.

Parseman got his crack at goal in the 44th minute when he raced forward and drilled a shot that forced a diving save from Guzan in the 44th minute.

The U.S. found a prime opportunity to capitalize right after the break when Paul Arriola hit the post from point blank in the 47th minute.

Gonzalez, though, would not be denied minutes later when pounced on a rebound and buried it from deep inside the box in the 53rd minute.

Morris gave the U.S. what appeared to be a secure lead when he redirected an Eric Lichaj pass into the back of the net in the 64th minute.

But Martinique did not go quietly into the Hillsborough County night.

Parsemain took advantage of the space the U.S. defenders had granted him and used it to uncork a shot from distance that bulged the back of the net not long after Morris made it a two-goal game.

The second Martinique goal arrived in a curious sequence in the 76th minute. A constant threat throughout, Parsemain fired a shot that was initially denied by Guzan before the rebound spilled to Audel, whose blast deflected off of Parsemain and floated into the back of the net.

However, Martinique’s improbable comeback was short-lived. On a fast-break, Zardes raced down the left and centered it for Morris, who confidently one-timed it through to secure three points for the U.S.

The U.S. will conclude Group B play on Saturday against Nicaragua at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Kickoff is 7:00pm.

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