Haiti's Reginal Goreux (blue jersey) in CONCACAF Gold Cup action against Panama on July 7, 2015, in Frisco, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts – The United States continues defense of CONCACAF Gold Cup title, when it squares off against Haiti at Gillette Stadium on Friday.
Here are Three Points to consider ahead of the game:
1) American attack vs. Haitian solidity
Despite sitting 34 places above Haiti in the latest FIFA World Rankings, the United States will be expecting a stern test in their Friday night meeting. The Americans scored an impressive 20 goals in the 2013 Gold Cup and possess a dangerous attacking threat in the form of Clint Dempsey (two goals v Honduras), who didn’t take part two years ago. The Haitian defense, though, has conceded only twice in their last three Gold Cup outings. Organized and compact, it held Panama to a 1-1 draw in their opener on Tuesday.
2) For Haiti, there is precedent
While the U.S. is just one tournament title short of being tied with Mexico for the most championships in Gold Cup history, Haiti has jabbed a Gold Cup thorn into its side. In their last tournament meeting on July 11, 2009, -- also played at Gillette Stadium -- Haiti ran out to a 2-1 lead, before a stoppage-time stunner from Stuart Holden snatched a point for the relieved Americans.
3) Emotional night for Altidore
It will be a special night for Jozy Altidore on Friday as the American goal-getter takes to the field against Haiti. Born in New Jersey and raised in Boca Raton, Florida, the 25-year-old is the son of Haitian immigrants, a fact that fills him with pride. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, he raised money through his foundation for relief efforts, also helping to build a well that provides clean water to a village of more than 400 people. Indicative of his support, the current Toronto FC striker has even worn a wristband adorned with both the U.S. and Haitian flags at times while playing. Altidore has scored 27 goals in 80 appearances for the Stars & Stripes. If he takes the field, it will be his first-ever game against Haiti.
• Haiti has twice qualified the tournament’s quarterfinal stage, advancing out of the group in both 2002 and 2009.
• Six players in the current U.S. squad were a part of the USA team that won the Gold Cup in 2013: Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez, Nick Rimando and Chris Wondolowski.