On a hot and muggy night in Tampa, the USMNT managed to fend off Martinique in a breathless 3-2 win in their second group stage match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
After a pretty boring first half, the game light the eff up in the latter 45 minutes. Former LA Galaxy defender Omar González put the Yanks ahead early in the second half, heading home from a corner kick. Less than ten minutes later, Seattle forward Jordan Morris doubled the lead and, for a few seconds, seemed to secure victory for the United States.
But CONCACAF is cray cray and the USMNT can be pretty innovative in finding ways to screw up. Martinique’s Kevin Parsemain pulled one back immediately following Morris’ goal, and within ten minutes had pulled his country level, taking advantage of Brad Guzan’s unique style of goalkeeping and silencing the AO bros in Tampa.
But have no fear— Jordan Morris came right back, bagging his second of the night and putting the USA ahead. This time, for good.
Anyway, the Really Important Part Of This Story is that Chicago Fire midfielder and captain Dax McCarty was thrown into the game in the 86th minute. After a, uh, less than admirable showing in the goalless draw with Panama, Dax replaced forward Juan Agudelo and helped nail down the center of the park to protect the USA’s lead.
And hey, it worked!
Dax’s performance won’t turn any heads, but he did the job that was asked for him and his team got the win. That’s worth some kudos. And with his future in the national team riding on his performances in the Gold Cup, every little bit helps.
The USA are now in the top spot in Group B, tied on points with Panama but ahead on goals scored (the tie-breaker). They’ll wrap up the group stages on Saturday when they take on Nicaragua.
An earlier version of this article named goal difference as the tie-breaker for group stage standings. It’s actually goals scored. We regret the error.