The United States men’s national team defeated Martinique 3-2, but the story that many USF fans really care about is that Dom Dwyer was not given a chance to play in Tampa.
Audible “we want Dom” chants rang out through Raymond James Stadium on Wednesday night, and a glimpse of Dwyer on the stadium video board drew an ovation in the first half. But coach Bruce Arena chose instead to use his three subs on Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius, and Dax McCarty. Sure, McCarty was born in Winter Park, and it’s nice to see the local guy get some time. But when we can hear the crowd of 23,000+ chanting for someone audibly through the press box glass, it’s pretty clear who should be coming on.
Dwyer was clearly upset and declined an interview after the game. (Several people noticed the USF logo on my shirt and came up to me after saying things along the lines of “that was rough” after Dom had walked by.) The move to keep Dwyer benched in his college town was condemned by the entire TDS staff, the Goalmouths in attendance, and a large number of people on Twitter.
Yes, Jordan Morris scored twice, but he was largely invisible for the rest of the game. Dwyer would have had an excellent day given his physical style of play and non-stop engine. It’s almost a shame that Morris got the brace, because it justifies Bruce Arena’s decision to field him, despite his complete lack of consistency in MLS and international play. It’ll be a question going forward if Dom will be allowed another chance to stake his spot on the main roster.
For the USMNT in general, it was an extremely disappointing game. While anyone paying attention knew that the Martinique attack was actually a credible threat, there was no reason that the two goals conceded should have ever gone in. The first was a low shot from the top of the box that Guzan got a solid hand on, but couldn’t stop. The second came off a save made by Brad Guzan after Martinique sliced the US defense apart. Guzan saved the initial shot, but got chipped by a deflected second attempt.
The game went into halftime scoreless after several excellent Zardes crosses were knocked away by the Martinique defense. It seemed early that the US could easily outclass MTQ if they played to their potential, but Les Matininocrepelled attack after attack, and the US grew weary. They were lucky not to concede toward the end of the first half, with one Martinique shot hitting the post and a clean header going just wide.
Juan Agudelo and Gyasi Zardes had good games, creating plenty of chances for the US that all went begging. Kellen Acosta looked better than he did against Panama, but he was nothing special and his set piece delivery was poor. The defense and goaltending was once again extremely lackluster, and allowed two soft goals.
It was all around disappointment, even with the three points. Arena lost TDS and quite a few US fans with how the game turned out, but especially his decision not to play Dom Dwyer in front of his college crowd when many of them bought tickets just to see him play.