United States vs. Guadeloupe
With the U.S. in trouble of not surviving the group stages, the team stepped up and produced a 1-0 victory that hardly felt satisfying. The U.S. faced the French colony Guadeloupe, who is not a registered nation of FIFA, and had a very dominant first half that gave them the lead and the win. After starting the same the line-up for two consecutive games, Coach Bob Bradley made two changes inserting Chris Wondolowski up front for Juan Agudelo and sliding Captain Carlos Bocanegra inside to Center Back in place of Tim Ream and added Eric Lichaj to the left of the defense. The move was intended to add more stability and to the middle and more attacking options out wide, which proved effective. Lichaj and Steve Cherundulo were both heavily involved in the attack in the first half, providing many dangerous services and chances for the U.S. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan were dangerous sliding into the middle and connecting with the forwards up top. Jozy Altidore had a great first half and provided a great strike to lift the U.S. to a 1-0 lead. Lastly, Center Midfielders Michael Bradley moved the ball well in the midfield and Jermaine Jones had one of his best games to date with the U.S. winning tackles and playing dangerous diagonal balls over the defense to ongoing runners. The U.S. played well in the first half with many great chances, but only had one goal to show for it.
The second half was a completely different story for the U.S. except that it kept the main story line, lack of quality in front of goal. The fatigue of the U.S. team playing 4 games in a span of 10 games began to show finally. The U.S. did not control the midfield and their attacks seemed lackluster. Cherundolo and Lichaj who were so pivotal to the attack in the first half did not make the same commitment as they had earlier. Wondolowski showed to be a non-factor in the attack throughout the game and was the first one to be subbed. The U.S. still created many great chances only to seem them go wide, deflected out for a corner, or being taken away with an open net 4 yards away from goal. The U.S. gave Guadeloupe too much possession, space, and time on the ball to make the U.S. comfortable. That even resulted with Coach Bradley ending the game with one striker up top and five midfielders in order for them to maintain control of the ball and the game as they tried to ice it down; this should never happen against a side like Guadeloupe.
Despite not playing well by any means in the group stages, the U.S. finished second and now faces a tough Jamaica side in the quarters where it is a win or go home situation. Hopefully, the U.S. will decide to wake-up and play up the level that they are capable of playing or they may see themselves out of the Gold Cup much earlier than expected.