Thursday's soccer news starts with the biggest takeaway from last night's USMNT win in the Gold Cup. This redone lineup tried to press the offense. They succeeded in creating chances, hitting the frame and forcing several strong saves from Martinique goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa.
The official US Soccer match report lists the shot totals as 8 to 7 USMNT with shots on goal 3 to 1. MLSsoccer.com's boxscore saw it differently, crediting the USMNT with 21 shots to Martinique's 13, putting 10 of those on goal to their five. CONCACAF's official report has it 21 to 11 with 11 to 4 on goal.
So let's assume that the USMNT took a lot of shots and kept their on target percentage at around 50%. For a lineup put together in response to the Panama game and rotating out eight players, that's a lot of offense. Martinique turned out to be stronger than expected on the night, but that's its own old CONCACAF story. On another night, this game could've been the lopsided result most predicted.
The job for USMNT coach Bruce Arena right now is to try to find a balance between his lineups that highlights what they're doing right. SI.com's Brian Straus on the USMNT's performance against Martinique. Sports on Earth's Cy Brown considers the stakes and the entertainment value. CBS Sports' Roger Gonzalez wasn't impressed with either group stage game.
Also in the soccer news, the US Open Cup quarterfinal between Miami and Cincinnati will be rescheduled after weather postponed last night's game. The quarterfinal round has a lengthy window, explaining the one game per night schedule we've seen this week.
The Guardian's Michael Carlson's obituary for Chuck Blazer, the former FIFA VP and CONCACAF general secretary who died on Tuesday. The Washington Post's Matt Bonesteel on the duality of Blazer's career in soccer. AP's Ronald Blum has an obituary for Blazer.
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