From what we have seen of Martinique, they are an extremely unpredictable side, which makes them a difficult opponent. They can demonstrate flashes of brilliance, and also in moments show a lack of discipline. They are very athletic, and the strength of their team lies in their attacking players. While they possess a lot of raw talent, Martinique is inexperienced at the international level.
We expect Martinique to field a team tonight composed primarily of domestic-based players. It's likely that nine of the eleven starters will come from that group, with midfielder Charles-Edouard Coridon (RC Lens) and goalkeeper Eddy Heurlie, who is a teammate of U.S. international David Regis at FC Troyes, the only two players plying their trade in France.
As I mentioned, their strength lies in the attack. We feel their best players are forwards Jose Gordon and Patrick Percin. Gordon is a post-up type forward who has good size, and is the leading scorer in their domestic league with 18 goals. Percin, who plays underneath, has a great work-rate and makes excellent runs out of the midfield. At the other end, Miguel Duragrin, their right back, does a nice job getting forward from that position and contributing to their attack.
From the outset, we are expecting Martinique to drop off defensively, drawing their line of pressure at the top of the center circle, and looking to counter-attack. Our job will be to try and play forward as quickly as possible when we win the ball, reducing the number of Martinique defenders that can get help defend. If we can get an early goal, it will force Martinique to try and press the play, opening up space for our midfielders and frontrunners. When they get in their comfort zone by having numbers behind the ball, the key to breaking them down will be quick ball circulation and switching the point of attack. One of the key parts of the game will be set pieces. Because of their poor marking at times, this an area where we should be to create quality opportunities.
This is an important game for both teams. For Martinique, a point from this match will put them in a great position to advance out of the group. For our team, we look to continue to improve upon our performances and build momentum as we head into the knockout phase of the tournament. Having said that, we are definitely not looking past tonight's match. The U.S. team will come ready to play.