Clint Dempsey continued his goalscoring form as defending champions United States prevailed 1-0 against Haiti in Foxborough on Friday.
Dempsey bagged a brace in USA’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A opener on Tuesday, with his two goals lifting the host nation to a 2-1 win over Honduras.
USA’s second all-time leading scorer was at it again at Gillette Stadium, after his 47th-minute strike helped overcome a spirited Haiti outfit – and ensuring the Americans will finish top of the group with a game to spare.
The Seattle Sounders forward was played in by second-half substitute Gyasi Zardes and made no mistake from near the penalty spot for his eighth career Gold Cup goal – moving him level alongside former international Brian McBride as USA’s third highest scorer at CONCACAF’s showpiece event.
USA made seven changes to the team that saw off Honduras 2-1 in their opening match, with Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Gregory Garza, Graham Zusi, Mikkel Diskerud and Aron Johannsson coming in for Fabian Johnson, Timothy Chandler, John Brooks, Ventura Alvarado, DeAndre Yedlin, Kyle Beckerman and Zardes.
Frantz Bertin, Kevin Lafrance and Jean Maurice were elevated to Haiti’s starting XI at the expense of Jean Pierre, Jean Alcenat and Jeff Louis following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Panama.
Haiti – unbeaten in their past two meetings against USA after consecutive draws – surprisingly settled quickest out of the two teams.
Defender Mechack Jerome almost gave the underdogs a shock 10th-minute lead but his free-kick hit the top of the crossbar.
Haiti had another opportunity 11 minutes later, this time forward Donald Guerrier coming close, though his powerful effort flashed just wide of the post.
USA did manage to put the ball in the back of the net after 35 minutes, however Johannsson was flagged for offside.
For all of Haiti’s good work, they were breached just two minutes into the second half via Dempsey.
Zardes – a replacement for Jozy Altidore – influenced the match within minutes of his introduction, cutting the ball back for Dempsey, who side-footed into the roof of the net, with Johnny Placide helpless.
Haiti almost went up the other end and restored parity in the 58th minute but USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan stood tall to deny Duckens Nazon after the forward beat the offside trap to run through on goal.
The visitors continued to press forward in search of an equaliser without success as USA preserved their 100 per cent record.
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