Arena emphasizes positives in USMNT’s Gold Cup group-clinching win

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The US national team got what they needed Saturday night, but it wasn’t always pretty.

The 3-0 win over Nicaragua was enough to see them to the top of Group B in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but the result came with a few worries. Head coach Bruce Arena was satisfied with the victory, but also saw his team struggle at times.

“Clearly a good result for us,” he said after the match. “A game where I would think that you could say we wasted some opportunities and made it pretty difficult on ourselves.”

It was a match the US expected to win easily, but their opponents didn’t make it so. Nicaragua came out pressing hard early on, which caught the Arena and his group off guard.

“I was surprised at how aggressive they were and how they pressed us and came after us and made the game difficult.”

Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya echoed this sentiment afterwards: “They came at us, they tried to pressure us. Which I didn’t expect from them.”

The biggest self-inflicted hurdle was two saved penalties in the second half. Both attempts — by Dom Dwyer and Joe Corona — were poor, but Arena gave credit to Nicaraguan goalkeeper Justo Lorente: “Two penalty kick saves isn’t bad in a game. We didn’t do well with our kicks.”

Among the positives, Arena praised

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