The U.S. men’s national team needed a convincing win to have a chance to finish above Jamaica in the group standings, and they’ve done just that. In the second match of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup’s group stage, they thrashed the Sugar Boyz 6-0, and even then, six was too little, considering the missed opportunities.
Jesus Ferreira scored three goals to complete his hat-trick and reach the double digits on the international stage. Djordje Mihailovic and Bryan Reynolds also scored to complete the scoring.
We take a closer look at how it all went down, the context of some of the key plays within the flow of the game, and what it means for the team going forward.
Team USA (4-3-3): 18. Johnson (GK) — 5. Reynolds (Gressel, 76′), 4. Miazga, 20. Neal, 15. D. Jones — 8. Sands (A. Morris, 57′), 6. Busio (Sonora, 46′), 14. Mihailovic — 17. Zendejas, 9. Ferreira (Vazquez, 57′), 11. Cowell (Roldan, 68′).
Interim head coach BJ Callaghan has made the decision to heavily rotate the team for the upcoming match. In goal, Sean Johnson will replace Matt Turner and also take on the role of captain. Numerous individuals will express their desire to see the youngster Gaga Slonina in action for this match instead of the Toronto keeper. However, in a gesture acknowledging his experience and service, the veteran has been chosen to start instead.
Additionally, promising young talents Cade Cowell and Jalen Neal have been included in the starting lineup. However, one player who will maintain his position up front is Jesus Ferreira, who will start up top. This means that Brandon Vazquez, who was the hero of Saturday’s match, will begin the game on the bench.
Goal difference will decide between the U.S. and Jamaica on who finishes top of the group as the Reggae Boyz decimate Trinidad and Tobago 4-1 in the other game of the group. A statement is needed at CITYPARK in St. Louis, Missouri. from the Americans.
As expected, the majority of the opening minutes were played in St. Kitts’ half and will look to be a common scene in this match—no goals in the opening ten minutes.
Instead, The first goal occurred in the 12th minute, and Djordje Mihailovic gives the Yanks the lead. To get things going and prevent any frustrating moments with the game scoreless, starting the game early is crucial. Gianluca Busio receives a vertical feed as it is created down the right flank. Instead, Busio cuts it back to Mihailovic, who is unmarked at the top of the six-yard box and smashes it at the roof of the net.
It takes the United States just two minutes to double the lead, and it’s Bryan Reynolds’ who scored an absolute GOLAZO to open his USMNT account. The ball perfectly lands on him from the resulting free kick and unleashes a vicious volley past the keeper. The floodgates have been opened!
Another goal two minutes later, and the USMNT are on fire. Jesus Ferreira outwits Jameel Ible one-on-one and coolly scores from a tight angle with his right foot. What a strong start for the Americans in a game where they must statpad their goal differential.
Three goals in roughly five minutes are exactly what the U.S. needed in the hopes of seeing them leapfrog Jamaica in the standings.
Ferrerira gets his second for the boys in red, white, and blue and at 4-0 for the States in the 26th minute! The play unfolds in the midfield as Djordje Mihailovic orchestrates a remarkable moment. Despite being tripped and falling to the ground, Mihailovic miraculously delivers a precisely weighted vertical pass. The timing of the FC Dallas talisman’s run is impeccable, effectively bypassing the St. Kitts & Nevis defense. He then confidently converts a one-on-one opportunity by neatly slotting the ball through Julani Archibald’s legs. The goal continues to make their goal difference more and more pretty.
Julani Archibald, the keeper of St. Kitts and Nevis, is responsible for the somewhat complementing scoreline; he puts everything on the line, including his face, which saw him use it to stop a first-half hat-trick from Ferrerira. It really should be six-nil to the United States.
Surprisingly there was no added time after the 45 minutes despite witnessing four goals. However, I don’t think either side will be complaining.
The Americans should be proud of their performance during the first 45 minutes. Instead of letting the game continue without a score and allowing uncertainty to set in about their performance, as we’ve seen in the past, they started the onslaught early and frequently. Overall, the United States played very well, and they’ll want to improve on that in the second half to put themselves ahead of Jamaica in the goal differential heading into the final game of the group stage.
Alan Sonora, who started against Jamaica, replaces Gianluca Busio as USMNT head coach BJ Callaghan makes one half-time change. Busio was fantastic in the first half, picking up two assists, so hopefully, he isn’t hurt.
The United States continues what they left off in the first half: the high-intensity threat to the opposition, absolutely no mercy.
The fifth goal had been coming for some time now, and Jesus Ferrerira finally grabs his well-deserved hat trick to make it 5-0 to the host nation! His first touch expertly gets him past the defender for a simple finish on the doorstep after receiving the ball from Djordje Mihailovic down the left.
As it stands, the United States holds the group A lead in goal differential.
Archibald is at it again to deny another American goal at the hour mark. Bryan Reynolds receives an absolutely flawless cross from DeJuan Jones on the left side that is delivered straight to him at the far post, but Archibald gets across to make a fantastic save.
Cristian Roldan enters the frame as Cade Cowell comes off.
The newest American international to be rejected by Julani Archibald is Alan Sonora. He takes a free kick that is perfectly aimed for the inside of the near post, but Archibald crosses the field and palms the ball away over the goal line!
Bryan Reynolds, who scored the second goal of the evening, is replaced by Julian Gressel as the final American off the bench.
In the 77th minute, Jalen Neal misses a free header off a corner to become the most recent American player to blow a golden opportunity. He had nobody nearby, yet he was unable to aim that at them. The USMNT has been incredibly wasteful in this second half compared to the first half.
Djordje Mihailovic scores the game’s sixth goal and his second in the 80th minute, which was expertly executed. Due to Cristian Roldan’s excellent move to the left and Julani Archibald’s isolation, Julani Archibald is compelled to leave his line in order to challenge. Roldan squares to the middle for the AZ Alkmaar midfielder, who finds a pathway through the woods and slots the ball home after realizing the goal is open, but his window is closed.
A gruesome scene occurred in the 86th minute in St. Kitts & Nevis penalty area; Cristian Roldan seized a free kick and screamed a shot right into Gerard Williams’ groin. FS1, for some reason, wanted to replay the incident several times, but we’ll move on.
With a soft looping shot straight into the bread basket, Alan Sonora challenges Julani Archibald to make the simplest of his nine saves for the night. Despite the final score, Archibald has been outstanding this evening. The ref blows the final whistle to end the Carribean nation’s misery.
The United States delivered a commanding and all-encompassing display, precisely achieving its desired outcome. Jesus Ferreira secured a hat-trick, while Djordje Mihailovic and Bryan Reynolds, the other goal scorers, also performed exceptionally. It was a one-sided affair as the Sugar Boyz were outclassed in every aspect of the game. Sean Johnson hardly faced any challenges, and the U.S. maintained control throughout the match. It was precisely the outcome they needed, just as anticipated.
Djordje Mihailovic picked up a brace in goals and assists Wednesday night and is my Man of the Match. With an eye for goal and a wizard on the ball, he was an absolute menace against the Sugar Boyz.
In actuality, the United States wasted a lot of opportunities in the second half. However, they still produced an effective outcome to put themselves in a strong position at the top of Group A. It is preferable mainly to win the group because placing second would put them in danger of being drawn on the same side of the bracket as Canada and Mexico.
The U.S. will now play Trinidad & Tobago in the group stage finale on Sunday in Charlotte. They will win the group if the U.S. result is not bettered by three goals or more.