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3 things we learned from the USMNT's 1-0 win over Haiti

Once again, it wasn't pretty, but the Americans got three points.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The United States have clinched the top spot in their Gold Cup group, winning their second straight game, and they're now four points ahead of their nearest competition. They struggled once again on Friday night, but did well enough to beat Haiti, 1-0.

Haiti actually ran over the Americans early, and nearly scored in the 10th minute when Mechack Jerome hit the crossbar with a free kick. The USMNT should have had the opening goal in the 34th minute when Aron Johannsson found the back of the net, but he was erroneously whistled for offside.

At halftime, Jurgen Klinsmann opted to bring in Gyasi Zardes for Jozy Altidore, who had a poor first half. Zardes immediately made an impact, picking up a pass from Greg Garza and laying off for Clint Dempsey to score, less than two minutes after he entered the game.

Unfortunately for the U.S., that was not the catalyst for a good second half performance. They struggled to create chances again, while Haiti did well, and Duckens Nazon forced Brad Guzan into a tough save in the 57th minute. But ultimately, Haiti's finishing let them down, and they weren't able to score despite manufacturing more chances than the Americans.

United States: Guzan, Garza (Johnson 67'), Ream, Gonzalez, Evans, Bradley, Diskerud, Zusi, Dempsey, Altidore (Zardes 46'), Johannsson (Beckerman 83')

Goals: Dempsey (47')

Haiti: Placide, Jerome, Jaggy, Bertin, Goreux (Norde 83'), Lefrance (Thuriere 71'), Guerrier, Marcelin, Alexandre, Maurice, Nazon (Louis 66')

Goals: None

3 things we learned

1. The U.S. tried weird things and they didn't work. After his team won their hardest game, we can forgive Jurgen Klinsmann for doing some serious lineup tinkering that didn't work. This version of the diamond midfield didn't look great, with Dempsey and Michael Bradley looking less effective in new roles than they did against Honduras. Mix Diskerud also didn't look like he fit in the formation, while Altidore was worse next to Johannsson than he was partnered with Dempsey.

2. Gyasi Zardes and Aron Johannsson should always play over Jozy Altidore. Based on their play in these first two games, there's no reason to pick Altidore until one of the other two strikers has a shocker or Altidore turns in a brilliant performance off the bench. Zardes and Johannsson are in much better form and have been giving way more to the team. It's time to make a change.

3. Center back spots are anyone's to win. Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez were slightly better than John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado were against Honduras, but they certainly didn't dazzle, and were playing against a slightly lower standard of opposition. Klinsmann has four decent center backs, but no great ones. He could pick any two out of a hat and his selection would be defensible.