The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup is in full swing and Group B is wide open going into tonight's clash between USA and Martinique.
USA’s 1-1 draw against Panama in their Gold Cup opener has them tied with the Panamanians for second place (1 point) in Group B behind Martinique (3 points); who cruised to an eye-opening 2-0 win over Nicaragua in their opener.
In many ways, the match-up between USA and Martinique is classic case of David and Goliath. A mere speck on the map located in the Lesser Antilles, Martinique spans a total of 436 square miles with a population of 385,000. To put that into perspective, the state of Florida alone spans 65,755 square miles and has over 20 million inhabitants.
Due to the island’s status as an overseas department of France, Martinique is not a FIFA member and therefore cannot qualify for the World Cup. Martinique, however, is an associate member of CONCACAF which means their national team can compete in regional Gold Cup qualifying tournaments such as the CFU Caribbean Cup http://www.cfufootball.org/index.php/caribbean-cup .
The USMNT defeated Martinique 2-0 in the teams’ only previous meeting which occured during the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage.
Players to Watch:
USA’s Dom Dwyer became the 10th American player to score in his first two national team appearances when he found the back of the net against Panama. If Dwyer can notch a goal against Martinique, he will join Alexander Rae and Eddie Johnson as the only USMNT players to score in each of his first three appearances in USA colors.
Martinique has pace all over the field, and Steeven Langil is no exception. A dynamic, forward-thinking player, Langil is a force to be reckoned with. Martinique’s #10 was only on the field for 60 seconds before scoring arguably the goal of the tournament thus far. Langil proved he can make an impact from the bench, but do not be surprised if he makes the starting lineup tonight against the US.
Match: USA v. Martinique - Group B
Kickoff: Wednesday, July 12th 9:00PM ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL