USMNT won their first game of 2017 vs Jamaica. The game had some good back and forth, but this goal from Jordan Morris won the game for USA.
Another look at @JmoSmooth13's game-winning goal? Yes please.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) February 4, 2017
This game was one where US mens national team coach Bruce Arena started players who were question marks for the upcoming World Cup qualifying matches in March. Many MLS players who were never given chances to prove their worth for the national team were given chances in this match!
Benny Feilhaber, Dax McCarty, Jordan Morris, Sebastien Lletget and Steve Birnbaum were all standouts in this match, and have done well in the three and a half week January camp. It would be no surprise to see any of their names on the list of players brought in to compete for a spot in the must win World Cup qualifiers in March. Here are some thoughts on their play:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 4, 2017
Apart from the importance of players making good impressions in the match for USA, this was a match where their were four players affiliated with the Union played in the game. Two players were on Jamaica, and two were on USA. Let’s look at the Jamaica players first and how they fared.
Jamaica has Union starting goal keeper Andre Blake. He did well in the match, his one real save came stopping Jordan Morris one-on-one. Blake looked good, but had little defensive help. MLS keeper of the year only played one half of the game, but kept the shutout. The Surprise of this entire match was Bethlehem Steel’s Cory Burke who got the start-up top for Jamaica.
Burke had a decent game, playing 83 of the 90 minutes. His main bit of action came during the first half where he showcased his blistering speed.
Burke hustles down the wing and creates a chance for 🇯🇲 that goes over the crossbar.
— Philadelphia Union II (@PhilaUnionII) February 4, 2017
Burke’s run saw him speed by US captain on the day Graham Zusi. This is something Burke has done in USL but now he’s doing it on the international stage. If he can continue to get capped by Jamaica, and continues to add this pace to his game, he should be promoted to the Union! This promising player couldn’t provide the break through against USMNT, but neither could the two Union players playing for USA.
Chris Pontius got his first start for USA in his second cap. Pontius was very involved in the game on the right-wing, completing 30 of his 39 passes. He made plays up and down the right-wing. When he was needed to help out in USA’s own half he did, and created movement forward when on the ball. When in the attacking half, he looked for open teammates. He found Morris on the first half chance against Blake, and would’ve been credited the assist if not for his Union teammate. Pontius has played well in the January camp. He could have a chance to get another call up, but maybe not in the must win games coming up in March.
Bedoya came on for Pontius in the 74th minute. For only playing 16 minutes, Bedoya was very involved in the possession game US was playing. Already up 1-0 USMNT were trying to grind out the result. Bedoya passed the ball 16 times in his 16 minutes, and completed 15 of them. His poise to find the open player helped the US secure its first victory of 2017. Bedoya is a vital part of the USMNT whatever position he plays. He should be a player added to the group for the World Cup qualifiers coming in March.
USMNT has seven weeks until it’s World Cup match versus Honduras. Only time will tell which players will be added to the squad for that match and the second qualifier at Panama. Bedoya will likely be with the team, but who knows maybe more Union players will find their way to USMNT camp. The upcoming World Cup qualifiers are:
USA vs Honduras March 24th 2017. USA at Panama March 28th 2017.
USMNT currently sits last in the “Hex” standings, but tow victories puts them right back in contention to be in the top three teams!
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more USMNT news closer towards their World Cup Qualifiers!
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports