Los Angeles (AFP) – The United States opened the defence of their CONCACAF Gold Cup crown with a comfortable 4-0 win over Guyana on Tuesday.
The 2017 champions warmed up for the tournament in unconvincing fashion, suffering back-to-back defeats to Jamaica and Venezuela.
But Gregg Berhalter’s side were always in control of their Group D encounter against minnows Guyana, who are 177th in the FIFA rankings, 147 places below the 30th ranked USA.
D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola opened the scoring on 28 minutes, finishing crisply into the corner after a neat pass from Bundesliga-based midfielder Weston McKennie.
New Zealand-born forward Tyler Boyd doubled the US tally in the 51st minute, controlling a superb pass from midfield talisman Michael Bradley before rifling home from just inside the penalty area.
Gyasi Zardes then made it 3-0 four minutes later with a bizarre goal, the ball cannoning off his head into the net after Arriola’s fierce long-range effort deflected off a defender.
Boyd, who was born and raised in New Zealand but qualifies for the USA by virtue of his American mother, then added his second on 81 minutes with a crisp finish from the edge of the area.
In the day’s other game, 2018 World Cup qualifiers Panama were deserved 2-0 winners over Trinidad and Tobago.
Veteran striker Armando Cooper scored the opening goal on 53 minutes, producing a deft finish from a tight angle after a superb through ball from Gabriel Torres.
Torres was involved in the build-up to Panama’s second goal in the 68th minute, unleashing a fierce shot that Trinidad goalkeeper Marvin Phillip could only parry away.
Edgar Barcenas lashed the rebound back towards goal and when Phillip was again unable to hold on, bundled home from close range for 2-0.
Trinidad and Tobago face the United States in their second game of the tournament in Cleveland on Saturday, with Panama taking on Guyana.