United States Tops Martinique 6-1, Clinches Spot in 2021 Gold Cup Quarterfinals

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 16, 2021

U.S. forward Daryl Dike (11) celebrates with Cristian Roldan (10) and Gianluca Busio (6) after scoring a goal in the first half of the team's CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against Martinique in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

Daryl Dike's two goals propelled the United States men's national soccer team to a 6-1 win over Martinique in CONCACAF Gold Cup group play on Thursday evening in Kansas City's Children's Mercy Park.

With the win, the United States clinched a top-two spot in Group B, thereby earning a place in the Gold Cup knockout stage. Martinique has been eliminated from knockout round contention.

The United States dominated all aspects of this match, amassing 12 shots on goal to Martinique's five and earning 65 percent possession. The U.S. also had 14 corner kicks to Martinique's zero.

The United States started rolling in the 14th minute after a sensational cross from Matthew Hoppe found its way to Dike, who buried the header.

U.S. Soccer MNT @USMNT

Well worked boys! <a href="https://twitter.com/DarylDike?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DarylDike</a>'s second goal for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a>, while <a href="https://twitter.com/MatthewHoppe9?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MatthewHoppe9</a> collects his first in his 🇺🇸 debut! <br><br>(<a href="https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FoxSoccer</a>) <a href="https://t.co/5TMudlZzRq">pic.twitter.com/5TMudlZzRq</a>

Dike didn't get credit for the second goal, but his involvement led to the 2-0 lead.

The United States ramped up the pressure on Martinique, which failed to clear the ball from its own end. George Bello gets the credit for that effort, and the ball found its way to Hoppe before being sent in Gianluca Busio's direction.

Busio then fired a laser off the crossbar that found its way to Dike, who attempted to send the ball over the goal line.

Instead, Martinique defender Samuel Camille scored an own goal while attempting to clear the ball, leading to a 2-0 United States edge in the 23rd minute.

U.S. Soccer MNT @USMNT

Here's our second of the night and it really is a team effort! 🇺🇸<br><br>Bello ➡️ Hoppe ➡️ Busio ➡️ CROSSBAR ➡️ Dike ➡️ Own goal. <br><br>(<a href="https://twitter.com/TUDNUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TUDNUSA</a>) <a href="https://t.co/0MZ6Ae4bPV">pic.twitter.com/0MZ6Ae4bPV</a>

Dike was credited with the goal before it was changed to an own goal.

The USMNT took a 2-0 halftime lead, and its relentless attack didn't take long to ramp up in the beginning of the second half, with Eryk Williamson's cross finding Miles Robinson for the team's third score:

U.S. Soccer MNT @USMNT

Eryk Williamson ➡️ Miles Robinson ➡️ 3-0 🇺🇸!<br><br>(<a href="https://twitter.com/TUDNUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TUDNUSA</a>) <a href="https://t.co/LtHKouryfZ">pic.twitter.com/LtHKouryfZ</a>

It also didn't take Dike long to get his brace for real.

A pass to Cristian Roldan was quickly returned to the Orlando City SC star, who then split the Martinique defense and chipped the ball over goaltender Gilles Meslien for the United States' fourth goal.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

DIKE. ALL. DAY. 🔥<br><br>He makes it FOUR for the <a href="https://twitter.com/USMNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USMNT</a> 🇺🇸 <a href="https://t.co/9vBOsHiwd7">pic.twitter.com/9vBOsHiwd7</a>

Martinique had its share of chances on this night. 

In the first half, Daniel Herelle's 32nd-minute free kick just sailed over the crossbar.

In the second half, Martinique broke through after Kevin Fortune drew a penalty kick after Kellyn Acosta fouled him in the box.

Emmanuel Riviere cooly stepped up to handle the rest.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Martinique takes one back! 🥵 <a href="https://t.co/OQQ53JPKrE">pic.twitter.com/OQQ53JPKrE</a>

Undeterred, the United States opened up a four-goal advantage once again. Roldan earned his second assist of the night after firing a long through ball to Gyasi Zardes, who took advantage of a defensive breakdown for the 5-1 lead:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Too easy for <a href="https://twitter.com/gyasinho?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@gyasinho</a> 🔥<br><br>That makes 5️⃣ for the <a href="https://twitter.com/USMNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USMNT</a> 🙌 <a href="https://t.co/fjfnhNCDjp">pic.twitter.com/fjfnhNCDjp</a>

The United States' last goal came courtesy of a player who plays in Kansas City (Sporting KC's Busio) and one who was born there (Nicholas Gioacchini). Gioacchini took Busio's cross and finished the job:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Busio ➡️ Gioacchini <br><br>The Kansas City kids connect for the SIXTH <a href="https://twitter.com/USMNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USMNT</a> goal 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/fMwqa5kc31">pic.twitter.com/fMwqa5kc31</a>

The United States will now face Canada to close Group B play Sunday at 5 p.m. ET from Kansas City. Like the USMNT, Canada has defeated both Martinique and Haiti to earn six points to advance to the Gold Cup knockout round.

The only thing left to figure out is which team will emerge as the group winner, which will go on to face the Group C runner-up in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, July 25. The Group B runner-up will take on the Group C winner at the same location and date.

Canada will be the Group B winner if its match with the United States ends in a draw. The two teams would be tied on the first Gold Cup group tiebreaker (goal differential at plus-six), but Canada owns the edge on the second tiebreaker of goals scored (eight to seven).

Through one round in Group C, Costa Rica and Jamaica have one win each in Group C play, beating Guadeloupe and Suriname, respectively.