The soccer news starts with the USMNT's 4-0 shutout of Guyana in the Gold Cup. There's no use flattering the opponent. This was a game that would always be about how the US won. That's Guyana's situation throughout the group D schedule, an over-matched team trying to take something away from the tournament. Against the USMNT, that takeaway was only being down a goal at halftime.
For the USMNT, what they carry with them to Cleveland is the ability to get a job done. USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter's tactical choices need stronger competition. Without that, we don't know what he really has in mind or what the USMNT can do under pressure in a game that counts. Against Guyana, they showed an ability to create chances. Taking full advantage of those chances is still an issue, but so is what a first-choice Berhalter team really looks like.
Group stages are about navigation and working through any problems that may present themselves. The USMNT is the clear favorite, so the expectation is advancing in 1st-place with three wins. That gets harder with each of the games presenting a more difficult opponent. There's a way of looking at that as optimal for Berhalter. His approach still has time to develop before facing a knockout game.
ESPN's Jeff Carlisle stresses that increasing level of difficulty. SI.com's Brian Straus on Tyler Boyd and what the USMNT got right against Guyana. Yahoo's Henry Bushnell with the USMNT showing it can control a game. MLSsoccer's Tom Bogert asks about the USMNT's shot selection.
Also in the soccer news, the US Open Cup round of 16 began with Atlanta knocking out Columbus 3-2 at MAPFRE Stadium. Brandon Vasquez put Atlanta up in the 5th minute with Miles Robinson doubling the lead in the 14th. David Accam scored for the Crew in the 40th. Vasquez made it 3-1 Atlanta in the 65th with the Crew getting an own-goal in the 71st minute.
"We said it before the game that we hadn’t advanced past this round yet," Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst said. "We wanted to be sure we did that this year and to take steps further as a club in each competition. It was a battle out there tonight, but the Open Cup is about advancing."
Minnesota knocked out defending champions Houston 3-2 on the road coming back from two goals down. Ronaldo Pena scored for the Dynamo in the 9th with Tomas Martinez doubling the lead in the 37th. Darwin Quintero scored for United in the 66th and equalized in the 82nd. Mason Toye scored Minnesota's winner in the 89th minute.
"We’ve all played in games when you’re two-nil up and you end up losing the game," Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said. "Goals change games. The next goal was going to determine how the game went, and I thought if we could get one, I thought we’d make something of it. Certainly, in the second half, I thought our play was excellent."
AP's Samuel Petrequin, John Leicester, and Patrick Hermansen update the situation with Michel Platini released after a day of questioning by French authorities over the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The Guardian's Marina Hyde on the bigger picture for FIFA.
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