BRENT LATHAM, Guatemala City – The USA put matters to rest quickly in their opening match of the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifying, disposing of an overmatched Suriname side without breaking much of a sweat.
Joe Gyau was the primary source of early offense for the Americans, driving the Suriname side up the wall with incisive runs down both flanks.
The Hoffenheim created the first American goal in the 18th minute, by driving down the right wing and drawing a free kick about 35 yards from goal. The dead ball was handled by Greg Garza, who put a weighted ball into the area which found Conor Doyle’s head. Doyle flicked on for Bobby Wood who easily chested home for the early lead.
The Americans looked determined to put the game away immediately, and just two minutes later another Gyau run, this time down the left flank, teed up Sebastian Lletget, who struck the right post with his shot.
Just a minute later Kelyn Rowe found himself alone at the top of the box, and beat the Suriname keeper with a weighted shot that shook the crossbar.
The flank run was on, though, and Gyau struck the second himself minutes kater when he broke in on the left side and struck a shot on the ground into the side of the net for the 2-0 lead.
The third wouldn’t be far behind, as in the 36th Rowe crossed for Doyle. The Derby County striker headed down towards goal, where the Suriname goal keeper attempted to pounce on the ball only to see his defender knock it out of his hands and into the net with Wood pressuring.
In the second half rhythm seemed to elude the Americans as Coach Thomas Rongen made a number of changes. At the half he brought on Moises Orozco for Amobi Okugo, and later introduced Omar Salgado on the front line for Wood
Despite Suriname going down a man, it wasn’t until the 84th minute that U.S. would add to their lead, with Rowe hammering home a Doyle feed from the top of the 18.
“I was very pleased with the way we started,” Coach Rongen said. “Not necessarily pleased with a few areas of the game where we take the foot off the pedal a little bit and didn’t really play as well as we are capable of.
“I think we will get better as the tournament goes on because our starting eleven never played a minute together, up to the match in Dallas, and we think we will get better. At the same time you know you have to be critical and we need to improve some things.”
“I like the approach of Suriname in terms of how they played. I’m Dutch, so I know the history of that country, as a team that could upset somebody.”
The U.S. will now rest until Saturday, when they take on Panama.
Zac MacMath, GK, 6 – Had absolutely nothing to do all day, save kick the ball a few times.
Zarek Valentin, DF, 6 - Easily handled the little bit of traffic that came down the right side. Didn’t have much to do either, in fact the U.S. might have lived without him or MacMath, and didn’t get into the offense as much as he might down the road, but a decet performance at any rate.
Gale Agbossoumonde, DF, 6.5 – Solid game at CB for Boss. Handled things in the air and looked poised handling and distributing on the ground. Will be interesting to see what he looks like under more pressure down the road.
Perry Kitchen, DF/MF, 6.5 – A very solid outing from the United defender. Smooth and quick in the middle, and just as interesting from the holding mid spot later in the game, imposing himself and moving the ball forward with confidence.
Greg Garza, DF, 7 – Garza had an excellent game at left back. He got forward constantly into attack, delivered set pieces well in the attacking third, and handled his defensive duties without a hitch, Maybe the U.S.’ bets player on the night.
Omobi Okugo, MF, 5 – Didn’t have much to do at his defensive mid position, and played a relatively quiet half before coming of after 45 minutes.
Sebastian Lletget, MF, 5.5 – Didn’t have the game he would have liked, and dipped too often too deep into midfield when he could have been effective further up the field. Struck the woodwork twice though, and may be close to having a huge impact on the tournament.
Kelyn Rowe, MF, 6 – Rowe did some damage up top and struck the post in the first half, before converting late to secure the 4-0 lead. If their was a dark spot, his first touch was a bit off and distribution to the front line could possibly have been more positive.
Bobby Wood, F, 6 – Scored the first goal then went pretty quiet. Maybe still getting used to playing the wing after playing in a 4-5-1 at 1860.
Joe Gyau, F, 7 – Drew the foul that caused the first goal, scored the second, and nearly assisted on another while making the largest American offensive impact on the night. Went silent in the second half, and dribbled into trouble a few times, but overall had an excellent night.
Conor Doyle, F, 6.5 – Did well at the point and later on the wings, and played well up and down the field. Put in a solid shift though many of his contributions were off the ball, opening up space for Gyau or drifting back to receive a pass. Created the third goal and assisted on the fourth.
Moises Orozco, MF, 4.5 – Not the best of nights for the Tigres man. Lost possession frequently and didn’t weigh his passes or shots well. Overall looked a bit out of sync after coming on at the half in a game that was rapidly losing momentum.
Omar Salgado, F, 5 – Struggled a bit to make an impact up top in half an hour of late action.
Sebastian Ibeagha, DF, NR – Saw the field late as a defensive sub.