It's only the second week of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the top contenders are emerging. Team USA (1-0-0, 3 points Group B) is back in action as it continues its pursuit of a second straight championship. The United States will take on a Martinique team (0-1-0, 0 points Group B) that is no stranger to the Gold Cup but hasn't had much success in this event. The U.S. looks to stay atop the group, while Martinique is hoping to pull off a major upset. Let's take a deeper dive into this matchup.
Concacaf Gold Cup Group B: United States vs. Martinique
When: Thursday, July 15 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Children's Mercy Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
TV: FS1 and Univision
Three Things to Watch
1. U.S. Soccer starts the tournament off on the right note
Team USA's defense stole the show in its 1-0 win over Haiti in the Group B opener last Sunday. The Americans held off a Haitian team that was aggressive on offense and posted 12 shots, six of which were on goal, and showed that it wasn't backing down. Haiti was very active in the second half. Team USA used all of its substitutions in the second half to assist its defensive effort. In addition to just the single goal, the U.S. totaled just eight shots during the game. The Americans will need to step up offensively moving forward.
2. Martinique is back for more
The team from the French territory had an early 1-0 first-half lead against Canada, only to watch it slip away and get outscored 4-0 the rest of the way. Three of Canada's goals came during the first 45 minutes of play. Martinique will need to adjust its defense on Thursday, as it can't afford to allow the U.S. to assert itself offensively in the early going. They need to make Team USA earn its chances.
3. Players to watch
Emmanuel Riviere scored Martinique's lone goal against Canada, giving him 10 lifetime international goals, dating back to his Under-17 team days. He'll be eager to test the U.S. defense just as Haiti did. The United States got its only score from the head of 22-year-old Sam Vines, which marked his first career international goal. Gyasi Zardes, Nicholas Gioacchini, and Walker Zimmerman combined for seven shots but were unable to find the back of the net. Team USA will once again be without Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, Jordan Morris, Josh Sargent, and Zack Steffen, who are not on the Gold Cup roster.
Team USA is 2-0 all-time against Martinique and has outscored the island nation 5-2 in those games. These teams last played each other in the 2017 Gold Cup. Martinique is 38-30-22 all-time against Concacaf opposition but has gone 2-4-2 in its last eight such matches. Team USA will pick up another three points after this game.