Bruce Arena's second stint as head coach of the US Men's National Team is going pretty well. The USA is undefeated in the nine games it has played under the Arena II regime. It has achieved some good results - the 1-1 draw with Mexico at Azteca in June; the 6-0 trouncing of Honduras in San Jose in March - offset by some games that were merely mildly disappointing, such as the tedious 0-0 tie with Serbia in a January friendly. There have been no catastrophes on Arena's watch so far. Since he was hired to guide the team without incident to Russia 2018, that is exactly what US Soccer hoped it would achieve when it reached for a safe pair of hands after the exhausting experience of keeping up with Jurgen Klinsmann's restless experimentation.
Klinsmann got something of a bad rap from the US soccer media, which led increasingly shrill cries for his dismissal as patience with his methods and tactics evaporated in almost direct correlation with the increasing difficulty he appeared to have in explaining what it was he was trying to achieve. But those days are passed, and USMNT's current focus is less on the grand, multi-year vision Klinsmann was hired to implement and more on the short-term goal of qualifying for Russia 2018, and putting in a creditable performance at that tournament.
The 2017 Gold Cup is a mere diversion from that goal, but it does give Arena his best opportunity to indulge in a little Klinsi-style tinkering. Hence the B-team flavor to the USA's squad at this competition. But this is still a side expected to canter through the rest of its group stage schedule.
Martinique will be buoyed by its opening-game win over Nicaragua, and those three points might well be sufficient to see the team through to the quarterfinals. But it will be a massive upset of expectations if the Caribbean qualifiers get anything more than experience out of this match.
The USA is the heavy favorite to win this game, regardless of Arena's lineup and tactical decisions.