USA were pushed to their limits by a comparatively far weaker opposition Martinique in their latest Gold Cup match and were only just able to avoid what could have been a second upset on the trot for them in the competition, though the head coach Arena still didn’t look overly worried by the form of his team.
According to Arena, it was not a bad performance by USA. Yes the victory could have been achieved with a bit more ease, but, the fact is that Martinique punched above their weight and did not give them too much freedom on the pitch. There was intensity in their game and their organization was pretty good too.
To counter their organization, it was important for him to change his organization slightly and that’s what he did during the break. He asked his defenders to try and press further and when they started doing that, the team looked more penetrative and the goals which were hard to come by initially came frequently.
Martinique had previously outplayed Honduras – in which there was the most demand for tickets for any of the Gold Cup matches so far, with Martinique fans flocking to this website in their hundreds to get tickets in the tiny venue.
The USA should have known better than to adopt their more attacking approach after the break because they were almost caught out by Martinque, as the minnows caught them on counterattack on a couple of occasions and neutralized the advantage of 2 goals that they had built early in the second half.
The US though quickly regained their advantage with their third strike and sat on that lead for the remaining time of the match to achieve their first victory in the competition after they were surprisingly denied one by Panama in their first match.
The Gold Cup is a competition where a coach has the power to replace players in his squad if he wants to at the end of the group stage and Arena has dropped hints that he is thinking about a few changes, after some uninspired performances so far.