The United States had a less than impressive 1-0 win over a depleted Haiti squad to start their CONCACAF Gold Cup run on Sunday. Group play continues Thursday with a matchup against Martinique, 4-1 losers to Canada in the opener. With a Sunday showdown looming against Canada for the top of the group, the USA must pick up a win in Thursday’s contest.
The United States are heavy favorites against tiny Martinique at -1200 on the money line and -2.5 (-170) on the spread. Martinique is +2500 at +2.5 spread (+100) with a draw at +1200. The total goals is set at 3.5 with the over at +100 and the under at -125 while the USA is -1600 to score first.
Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday from Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas and the game will be televised on FS1.
The United States and Martinique have met twice in their history, both in Gold Cup group stages. The US won 2-0 in 2003 with a pair of Brian McBride goals and also won 3-2 in 2017 after blowing a 2-0 lead. Jordan Morris scored the winner in the 76th minute and the US went on to win the Gold Cup.
MLS Heavy USA Squad Growing into Roles
With the big-name European-based players like Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Zack Steffen and Weston McKenzie not at the Gold Cup, manager Gregg Berhalter has called on a young mix of MLS players to go after the trophy. The roster does include USMNT veterans like Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Walker Zimmerman and Sebastian Lletget along with four newcomers to the national team.
The US won their first game in Group B on Sunday thanks to an eighth-minute goal from defender Sam Vines of Colorado Rapids. The goal was the first international goal for Vines, coming in his fourth game. New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner made that goal stand up with three saves as the US held 63% of the possession.
Lineup changes will be interesting for Berhalter, especially with another game on Sunday. Teenage midfielder Gianluca Busio had a great performance off the bench in his USMNT debut and could move into the starting lineup. Striker Daryl Dike also came off the bench and could move into a starting role while midfielder Cristian Roldan and striker Matthew Hoppe didn’t play in the opener.
Martinique Looking for a Miracle
Coming from a 436 square mile island with 375,000 inhabitants in the South Caribbean, Martinique is a CONCACAF member but not recognized by FIFA. Therefore they are not World Cup eligible so the Gold Cup is the biggest tournament they can play in as a French territory. This is their seventh Gold Cup with a 4-2-12 (W-D-L) all-time record, a -24 goal differential and one quarterfinal appearance in 2002.
All-time goal scorer Kevin Parsemain, who scored twice against the US in 2017, is not on the team this summer. Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Canada was Martinique’s first competitive match since qualifying for the Gold Cup in 2019. The majority of their roster plays professionally in Martinique though a handful of players are based in Europe.
Manager Mario Bocaly has a 6-4-5 (W-D-L) record in charge of Les Matinino. Center back Jean Sylvain-Babin is the key to the defense and the French-born defender plays for second-division Sporting Gijon in Spain. Emmanuel Riviere, who plays for second-division Crotone in Italy, scored against Canada in the group opener.
In the game against Canada, Martinique was outshot 14-5 and they had just 34% of the possession. Les Matinino gave up six corners to Canada and allowed nearly 90% of passes to be completed. They will need to pressure the US more to stay in the game on Thursday.
USA vs Martinique Betting Analysis
This should be a walk in the park for the US. Martinique would celebrate a draw like they won the World Cup while the US need a tune up to be ready for Canada and the knockout stages that follow. This is the kind of game that should allow Berhalter to get new players valuable experience and look for the US to cruise.
FREE PICK: Over 3.5 Goals (+100)