2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup: USA 1-0 Haiti: Unimpressive Stars and Stripes edge past Les Grenadiers
Photo: Omar Vega/Getty Images

The United States men's national team got their CONCACAF Gold Cup off to a good start despite an overall lackluster performance, defeating Haiti 1-0 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City.

Sam Vines scored the only goal of the match in the eighth minute as the Stars and Stripes moved to the top of Group B against a Les Grenadiers side that was missing several key players due to COVID-19 issues. 

Story of the match

It was the United States controlling most of the ball as they looked to attack the Haiti goal, although Les Grenadines had a wonderful chance through Derrick Etienne Jr. in the fifth minute, but his final product was lacking. 

Walker Zimmerman volleyed off of the crossbar in the sixth minute, but two minutes later, the Stars and Stripes were in front as Zimmerman passed for Kellyn Acosta, who found Shaq Moore and Gyasi Zardes flicked in a cross that bounced around the box before Vines pounced on it and scored.

Etienne Jr. again threatened the American goal in the 20th minute, but was off-target with his shot. Deep into first-half stoppage time, goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre saved Zimmerman's header set up by a cross from Sebastian Lletget.

Embed from Getty Images

The Stars and Stripes kept pressing and came close to a second goal as Nicholas Gioacchini, one of four non-MLS players in the squad, struck the left post in the 66th minute and ten minutes later, Gianluca Busio saw his effort saved by Sylvestre.

Haiti failed to find anything from a last-minute scramble in front of goalkeeper Matt Turner and the Americans hung on for the victory, knowing they will need to greatly improve going forward.

Man of the Match: Shaq Moore

A constant presence at right-back, the Tenerife defender only got the start because Reggie Cannon was held out with what U.S. Soccer termed "right hamstring soreness. Substituted in the 76th minute, he made a strong case for a higher place on the depth chart.


Rocky start for the Americans

As mentioned, this isn't what the United States was looking for. Haiti was dealing with five players missing through COVID-19 and the assassination of their president, but the Stars and Stripes lacked the cutting edge to truly put the game to bed.

If there was one thing that would encourage coach Gregg Berhalter, it was the overall improvement of the squad once Busio, James Sands and Eryk Williamson came on in the second half. With that mind, don't be surprised if any of the three find their way into the starting XI for the next match on Thursday.