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Fuel Soccer Talk: For Starters, U.S. blanks Guyana; Boyd comes up gold for U.S.; U.S. women prepare for first real test

Gold Cup: U.S. dominant in 4-0 victory over Guyana

ST. PAUL, Minn. – In front of a sellout crowd of 19,418 fans at Allianz Field, the U.S. Men’s National Team opened its 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup campaign with a 4-0 win against Guyana. Paul Arriola and Gyasi Zardes scored a goal apiece, while Tyler Boyd notched two, the first of which opened his account with the USA and also marked the 1,000th goal in USMNT history.

The USA (1-0-0; 3 pts) sits atop Gold Cup Group D with a superior goal difference to Panama (1-0-0; 3 pts), which defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in the day’s earlier game. Group D action now shifts to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland where Panama will play Guyana and the USA will face Trinidad & Tobago on June 22. Kickoff for the U.S. vs. Trinidad is set for 8 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on FS1 and Univision.

The U.S. side completely dominated the game – although Guyana did have a few solid runs at goal in the first half when the game was still in doubt. But overall the U.S. played a very strong defensive game, limiting Guyana to just four shots and only one on target.

The U.S. took 20 shots with six on target and dominated possession 60 percent to 40 percent. The U.S. had 561 passes to 375 for their opponent. The U.S. pass accuracy was 86 percent.

What did you like from the U.S. side of the pitch?

Gold Cup: Boyd was the best player on the pitch against Guyana

After a FIFA-approved switch of affiliation from New Zealand to the U.S., Tyler Boyd made his red, white and blue debut in an ugly 3-0 loss to Venezuela on June 9. But when the 24-year-old attacker stepped on the pitch Tuesday night against Guyana, there was nothing ugly about his performance or the result as the U.S. cruised to a 4-0 win behind two goals from Boyd.

Boyd, who called it a “dream come true,” was the best player on the field in St. Paul. He was aggressive and created plenty of problems for Guyana defenders with his speed and attacking style. He not only scored twice but almost scored a third in an impressive performance.

HERE IS GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:

USA – Paul Arriola (Weston McKennie), 28th minute: The USA worked the ball down the left sideline with McKennie drawing wide from his central midfield position to help facilitate possession and he picked out the run of Arriola into the left side of the box. Arriola nipped past a defender to collect the pass before wrapping his foot around the ball to curl it past the goalkeeper from a tight angle into the far right side netting. USA 1, GUY 0 [WATCH]

USA – Tyler Boyd (Michael Bradley), 51st minute: U.S. captain Michael Bradley controlled the ball just inside the Guyana half near the left touchline before driving a cross-field ball onto the foot of Boyd near the top right corner of the box. Boyd took a touch to settle before ripping a shot between a defender’s legs that nestled into the lower left corner for his first career U.S. tally and the 1,000th in USMNT history. USA 2, GUY 0 [WATCH]

USA – Gyasi Zardes, 55th minute: Arriola deftly took down a long cross-field ball and beat a defender inside to rip a shot from the top of the box that hit another defender before deflecting off Zardes, who was smartly stationed at the penalty mark, and dropping into the center of the goal. USA 3, GUY 0 [WATCH]

USA – Tyler Boyd (Paul Arriola), 81st minute: Working down the left side once again, Arriola picked out Boyd near the top left of the box and the USA’s newest addition slipped past a defender to create space for a blast that skimmed off another defender on its way into the right side of the goal. USA 4, GUY 0 [WATCH] FINAL

Which goal was the most impressive?

World Cup: U.S. faces Sweden in first big test tomorrow

The U.S. women breezed into the knockout rounds following the 13-0 rout of Thailand in the opener and a 3-0 win over Chile in which coach Jill Ellis rested some of her top players. The preliminaries are out of the way. Now it gets real – as in a real test.

The U.S. plays Sweden in the final Group F game Thursday (3 p.m.) in their first test of this World Cup. Not only is Sweden one of the perennial powerhouses in women’s soccer but the rivalry is only getting more intense as Sweden continues to improve on the pitch.

The USA and Sweden are two of only seven countries to have competed in every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sweden, a U.S. opponent during the past four FIFA Women’s World Cup group stages, was also the USA’s first Women’s World Cup opponent when FIFA’s premier women’s competition began with the 1991 event in China.

While the teams have never met in a Knockout Round match, the USA holds a 3-1-1 record vs. Sweden in the teams’ five previous World Cup games.

What are the keys for the U.S.?

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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