New England Soccer Today

U.S. Defeats Haiti, Wins Group

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A Clint Dempsey goal was the difference on Friday night as the USA clinched first place in Group A with a 1-0 win over Haiti in their second match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.  The heavily-favored Americans were given a fight, as Haiti found ways to create chances, while keeping the US to one goal.

Gyasi Zardes, who came on as a halftime sub for Jozy Altidore, provided an offensive spark immediately assisting on the 47th minute goal. Zardes made a run down the left flank and centered the ball to Dempsey, and the former New England Revolution star fired a shot past Haitian keeper Johnny Placide.

“Good run by Gyassi to get behind the back line and just great vision to pick out that pass,” said Dempsey. “I just tried to put it on frame.”

Despite scoring the lone goal, the match unfolded unpredictably with the underdog Haitians coming out swinging, unleashing a number of long range shots and forcing a number of turnovers at midfield.  Haiti nearly took the lead in the 10th minute when defender Mechack Jerome took a free kick that clipped the top right corner of the American’s goal frame.  The free kick ended up being the best chance of the night for Haiti, but at the time it appears they were in control of the match.

Fatigue started to set in for the visitors and by the end of the first half, the Americans gained control.  Aron Johannsson appeared to score the first goal off the match in the 34th minute of a deflected shot from Clint Dempsey, but the assistant referee incorrectly ruled him offside, waiving the goal off.

At halftime, the USA swapped out Jozy Altidore for Gyasi Zardes, giving the team more width to exploit the wings and spread Haiti’s defense out.  This strategy was rewarded with the 47th minute goal, and led to a number of other created chances, but none the United States could capitalize on.

Haiti would fight back in the 57th minute when Haitian forward Duckens Nazon beat the offside trap and chased down a long ball, and had a clear path to goal, with only Guzan to beat.  Guzan made his finest save of the night an keeping Haiti off the board.  Nazon gathered the rebound along the baseline, but hit the side netting from the narrow angle.  Ten minutes later, winger Wilde-Donald Guerrier cut into the center of the box and got a powerful header off of a cross, but the ball missed wide.

The USA eventually put men behind the ball, hoping to grind out a 1-0 victory.  Haiti grew frustrated, and at times took shots from well outside the box.  By the conclusion of the match, Haiti outshot the United States 21 to 6, but only four were on target, with another four shots blocked and the remaining 13 missing the frame.

With the Americans heavily favored to win the match, the result is uninspiring for the tournament hosts, particularly after an uninspiring win over Honduras.   In his postgame press conference, US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated that although the results do not seem good, he expected his players to have growing pains, with the squad’s European and Mexican players currently in the off-season having some difficulty playing up to their potential.  The ability of the team to scrap out victories without playing at their best is a positive sign for the squad, said Klinsmann.

Nevertheless, the win clinches the top spot in Group A for the Americans as they now are 2-0-0 in group play with two 1-goal victories over Honduras and Haiti.  For Haiti, who came in as the underdogs of the group, they will battle Honduras with a chance to advance to the next stage, with hard-fought battles resulting in a 1-1 draw with Panama and tonight’s loss.  Both teams will play their final match in group play next Monday.

Leave a Reply