The United States emphatically booked their place in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals following a 6-1 thrashing of Martinique at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City.
Daryl Dike opened the scoring for the Stars and Stripes in the 14th minute. The lead was doubled after an own goal from Samuel Camille.
Miles Robinson made it 3-0 five minutes after halftime before Dike made it four in the 59th minute. Martinique finally got on the board through a 64th minute penalty from Emmanuel Riviere.
Substitutes closed out the scoring as Gyasi Zardes made it 5-1 in the 70th minute and Nicholas Gioachhini capped things off in the 90th minute.
Story of the match
The Americans were on the board first. After a long spell of possession, Eryk Williamson, inserted into the starting XI by coach Gregg Berhalter, sent a long diagonal ball into the far left corner.
George Bello caught up to it and played it to Matthew Hoppe, who crossed to the back post that Dike met and headed it past Gilles Meslien from eight yards out.
It was 2-0 nine minutes later as Cristian Roldan lifted a dangerous ball into the area that Hoppe failed to settle. The ball fell to a defender who attempted to clear, but Bello blocked it and Hoppe sent a back-heel into to the top of the box.
Gianluca Busio then smashed a shot on the fly that Meslien tipped off the crossbar, and the rebound bounced to Dike, who again headed it towards goal. With the header possibly going wide, it hit Camille's heel and went over the line for an own goal.
Five minutes into the second half, it was 3-0 as Busio sent a corner from the left side which Williamson recovered, turned and put the ball back across to the far post, finding a wide-open Robinson, who scored the USA’s third header on the night from six yards out.
In the 59th minute, Roldan played a simple ball to Dike outside the box, and he barreled his way past two defenders into the box, drawing Meslien out before a clever chip beat him at the far post to complete his brace.
Martinique would get on the board as Kellyn Acosta was whistled for bringing down Kevin Fortune just inside the penalty box. Riviere stepped up and beat Matt Turner low to the left side as USA goalkeeper committed the other way to make it a 4-1 game.
Roldan was again involved in the Stars and Stripes fifth, advancing a long ball around a defender allowing Zardes, who just came on for Dike, to gather and run at goal, hitting a hard shot across to the far side for his fifth career Gold Cup goal.
Gioacchini wrapped up the scoring in the 90th minute, After twice being denied by Meslien once and a defender’s deflection the second time, the Caen frontman got his goal when he tapped in a cross from Busio in front of goal.
Man of the Match: Darryl Dike
He's the one all US soccer fans want to see. He justified the hype with his performance here, overwhelming Martinique and getting the Stars and Stripes back on track after an unconvincing first victory. His second goal, which showcased his power and athleticism, was pure class.
Changes by Berhalter pay off
Following the 1-0 victory over Haiti, the American manager instilled some much-needed confidence ahead of the showdown against Canada that will determine the group winner. If the Stars and Stripes can put forth a similar effort, they'll have a good chance to knock off their neighbors to the north.