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Soccer: Sam Vines leads U.S. men over Haiti at Gold Cup

July 12 (UPI) -- Sam Vines' 8th-minute header was enough to lead the United States Men's National Team to a win over Haiti in their first game of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament.

The 1-0 victory Sunday at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., extended the team's winning streak to four games.

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"I feel like we still need to go to another gear," U.S. men's coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters. "We were a little rusty, and we didn't create or finish enough chances.

"From that standpoint, there is room to improve. But I'm happy with the shutout."

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The Americans missed on several chances in the 6th minute, but returned the ball deep into Haiti territory 2 minutes later. U.S. right wing Kellyn Acosta received a through ball down the right flank to start the sequence. He sent another pass forward to right back Shaq Moore.

Moore grounded the next pass into the box, but the feed was deflected by the Haiti defense. U.S. striker Gyasi Zardes collected the deflection and scooped it toward the back post.

Vines then ran into the area and headed the ball into the right side of the net, past Haiti goalie Brian Sylvestre for his first international score.

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The Americans missed several additional chances, including a few off the posts and crossbar, in the second half of the win. The U.S. men held a 63% to 37% edge in possession and outshot Haiti 13-10.

"I think it was a good starting point for us," Moore told reporters. "We could have played a little bit better and been more lethal on the attacking side. But I think it was a good starting point.

"Defensively, we were solid, and we can definitely build off this result."

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The Americans are tied with Canada atop Group B in the Gold Cup standings. They face Martinique in their second group stage game at 9:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in Kansas City. They face Canada in their final group stage appearance at 5 p.m. EDT Sunday at Children's Mercy Park.

Mexico beat the U.S. men 1-0 in the 2019 Gold Cup final. The Americans have won five of the last 10 Gold Cup titles.

The Americans did not qualify for the men's tournament at the postponed 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

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