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Boyd brace enough for USMNT v. Guyana

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Tyler Boyd scored a pair of goals including the 1,000th in United States men’s national team history as Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT opened its Gold Cup run with a somewhat misleading 4-0 defeat of Guyana in Minnesota late Tuesday.

Paul Arriola had a goal, an assist, and a shot that took two deflections including one off of Gyasi Zardes’ face in the win.

Weston McKennie had an assist in an impactful performance before leaving with injury in the second half. USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter said the injury was a cramp. Let’s hope so.

Next up for the USMNT is a Saturday match-up with Trinidad and Tobago in Cleveland. Guyana will meet Panama, who beat T&T 2-0 on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Player ratings | 3 things ]

The United States had plenty of possession to start, and Christian Pulisic was looking lively. Though positioned centrally in the formation, he often drifted to the left to get the ball and work toward the middle.

It was Guyana who nearly struck for an opener against the run of play, lashing over the goal off a short corner. Gyasi Zardes thought he’d forced a goal moments later, but the offside flag was up.

Weston McKennie played a gorgeous through ball into Tyler Boyd, and Boyd sent a promising pass to the middle of the box only to see a shot blocked by the packed-in defense. Then Pulisic was stopped point-blank by Akel Clarke.

McKennie then set up Arriola for the opener, with the DC United man slapping the side of his right foot through the ball to sent it around Clarke and into the goal.

Boyd the stung a shot wide of the far post after missing with a low drive earlier in the match. Clarke then made an outstanding save on a Nick Lima drive — again set up in part by McKennie — before Boyd hit a ball into outer space.

A nervy moment early in the second half gave way to relief, as Boyd struck with vigor off a delightful ball from Michael Bradley. This was a “Bradley in his AS Roma prime” long ball, and Boyd delivered with a fine low strike.

Zardes then made it 3-0 with a header he knew little about:

Berhalter would soon remove Pulisic and Bradley, and then an injury forced his hand on the third substitution.

That one could echo deep into the tournament if it’s anything more than precaution, with McKennie exiting the field.

Boyd then scored another terrific goal. It looked even better than his first until replays revealed a significant deflection en route to the scoreboard.

Zardes later cued up Boyd for a chance at the hat trick, but the Kiwi-born attacked hit his shot into the outside of the goal. He could’ve had five goals.

Three things from USMNT’s win v. Guyana

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Injuries, early inefficiency, and a newcomer making a statement were the biggest talking points of the United States men’s national team’s first match of the 2019 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

Christian Pulisic was back, but not on the score sheet, and was able to be rested over the final half hour or so, and the USMNT scored its 1000th goal in program history.

[ MORE: Player ratings ]

Beyond that, here’s what we’re thinking after the 4-0 win.

Ouch, ouch, stop that, ouch: Injury worries

Weston McKennie started slow but eventually played a series of sensational passes en route to an assist on the night.

His industry moving forward and backward were remarkable on the night, but Schalke’s Swiss army knife had to leave the match with a leg injury with a quarter hour to play.

That’s a problem for a side which also saw Tyler Boyd pull up following his bid for a hat trick and is also without Tyler Adams, Sebastian Lletget, and Duane Holmes in the midfield alone.

John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin are also missing from a U.S. side hoping to make a serious bid for another final at the Gold Cup.

Berhalter said the injury that cost McKennie the final 16 minutes was a cramp. Let’s hope so.

Tyler Boyd shoots his shot

No, he’s not the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver.

Yes, he’s inspiring a bit of hope for the American Outlaws.

The New Zealand-born 24-year-old likes to shoot, and boy did he in bagging a brace on Wednesday.

Capped five times by New Zealand but now cap-tied to the USMNT by participating in this match, Boyd scored twice and could’ve probably scored two or three more on the day.

The son of an Kiwi father and American mother, Boyd delivered the goods in front of both of them in Minnesota.

“It’s for my family,” Boyd said on Fox after the game. “I’m really proud to be able to represent this country. To do it on this stage is an honor and a blessing. Just a dream come true. It’s been years and years and years of work. It’s been my dream since (I was) a kid. I don’t have the words to describe it.”

Boyd was injured — more on that later — but it looked like it could’ve been minor. His creativity and desire for the ball will be needed moving forward, as he was a fine complement to Paul Arriola in industry and desire.

It still wasn’t good enough

Do not forget that Guyana is the 177th ranked team in the FIFA rankings  — a lofty 166th in EloRatings — and the Yanks simply didn’t have the quality or understanding to pile up the goals.

The Guyanese held the U.S. in check for the first half hour before Weston McKennie and Paul Arriola teamed up for a classy goal, and Bradley’s link up with Tyler Boyd for the second was even better.

But Zardes’ goal was a blocked shot that unknowingly pinged off his pace to the point that the American striker appeared dazed for the duration of the celebration. And Boyd’s good-looking second goal took a turn off a Guyanese defender on the way into the net.

As it stands, this looks like a team that wouldn’t beat Panama and might struggle against anyone should Pulisic go down (and especially if McKennie stays down).

Gold Cup LIVE – USMNT meets Guyana after Panama, T&T tangle

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Gregg Berhalter’s shaky USMNT welcomes several of its star players into the fold when it kicks off its 2019 Gold Cup campaign against Guyana on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

The match comes 2.5 hours after one between the two sides which conspired to keep the Yanks out of the 2018 World Cup.

While the USMNT played the biggest role in that monumental failure, Trinidad and Tobago is the team that beat the Yanks in Couva on the same night that Panama scored a ghost goal to push the U.S. into fifth in the Hex.

Guyana has lost to Haiti, Bermuda, and French Guiana in the last eight months, and it would be stunning if the U.S. didn’t post a generous amount of goals on the scoreboard even after miserable efforts against Jamaica’s B team and Venezuela.

Panama and T&T, on the other hand, should be a beauty, with Los Canaleros getting a bit older in the tooth and the Soca Warriors maturing a bit as a side.

Panama and T&T kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the USMNT expected to kickoff with Guyana a little after 10 p.m.

2019 Gold Cup full schedule, kick off times, venues

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Get excited. The 2019 Gold Cup on U.S. soil (with a few games in Costa Rica and Jamaica) is almost here, as 16 teams set out to be crowned the champions of the CONCACAF region.

[ MORE: Latest 2019 Gold Cup news ]

The reigning champs are the U.S. men’s national team but Gregg Berhalter’s men aren’t favorites to win the tournament this time around as Mexico, led by Tata Martino, are the bookies pick to win it all this summer. A lot has changed for the U.S. since they won it in 2017 under Bruce Arena…

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores

Watch out for Jamaica with Leon Bailey, and both Costa Rica and Honduras will be tough to get past in the coming weeks as Canada are also outside bets to have a good run in the Gold Cup with Junior Hoilett and Alphonso Davies leading their charge.

Below is a look at the full schedule for the tournament, complete with the venues being used, kick off times and the knockout round bracket as things kick off on June 15 with the final on July 7 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


Group stage

Group A
June 15: Canada v. Martinique – 7:30 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 15: Mexico v. Cuba – 10 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 19: Cuba v. Martinique – 8 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 19: Mexico v. Canada – 10:30 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 23: Canada v. Cuba – 6 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
June 23: Martinique v. Mexico – 8:30 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Group B
June 16: Haiti v. Bermuda – 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 16: Costa Rica v. Nicaragua – 8:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 20: Nicaragua v. Haiti – 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 20: Costa Rica v. Bermuda – 9:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 24: Bermuda v. Nicaragua – 6:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison
June 24: Haiti v. Costa Rica – 9 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison

Group C
June 17: Curacao v. El Salvador – 7 p.m. ET at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 17: Jamaica v. Honduras – 9:30 p.m. at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 21: El Salvador v. Jamaica – 7 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 21: Honduras v. Curacao – 9:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 25: Jamaica v. Curacao – 8 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
June 25: Honduras v. El Salvador – 10:30 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Group D
June 18: Panama v. Trinidad & Tobago – 7:30 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 18: United States v. Guyana – 10 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 22: Guyana v. Panama – 5:30 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 22: United States v. Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 26: Trinidad & Tobago v. Guyana – 6:30 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City
June 26: Panama v. United States – 9 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City

Quarterfinals

June 29
Match 25: Winner Group B v. Runner-up Group A – 7 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston
Match 26: Winner Group A v. Runner-up Group B – 10 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston

June 30
Match 27: Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D – 5:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Match 28: Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C – 8:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Semifinals

July 2
Match 29: Winners of Match 25 vs. Winners of Match 26 – 10:30 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium, Glendale

July 3
Match 30: Winners of Match 27 vs. Winners of Match 28 – 9:30 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Final

July 7
Winners of Match 29 vs. Winners of Match 30 – 9:15 p.m. ET at Soldier Field, Chicago

Former France midfielder Florent Malouda fired on Twitter

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ZURICH (AP) Former France midfielder Florent Malouda has learned via Twitter that he was fired by Swiss soccer club FC Zurich.

Malouda wrote “really I didn’t know that..??” after Zurich’s announcement was posted.

[ MORE: Andy Carroll to NE Revs? ]

The 38-year-old Frenchman, who helped Chelsea win the Champions League title in 2012 and played in the 2006 World Cup final loss to Italy, had coached Zurich’s forwards since February.

It’s not Malouda’s first setback in Switzerland. Last year, he lost a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal against French Guiana forfeiting a 2017 Gold Cup game because he played while ineligible.

The French Guiana soccer federation had hoped Malouda, who was born in the South American territory, could switch allegiance from France because it is not a FIFA member.

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