Jesus Ferreira is a man on fire right now for the U.S. men’s national team as he recorded another hat trick to help them to rout Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and finish atop Group A in the Concacaf Gold Cup.
After a strong outing against Saint Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday, the U.S. found themselves in a good position to win the group. However, with Jamaica level on points with them, they did not pack it in as they knew goal difference would be the key to making sure they avoid would not face tougher opposition in the knockout stage.
Interim coach BJ Callaghan made a couple of personnel changes prior to kickoff. Matt Turner returned to take up goalkeeping duties while Cristian Roldan started on the left side of the three-man frontline.
The Soca Warriors would have an excellent chance to open the scoring within the first ten minutes of play when Djordje Mihailovic lost possession of the ball, allowing Levi Garcia to send a cross into the area from the right side only for Joevin Jones to send his shot sailing well over the crossbar.
The Americans got on the scoreboard in the 14th minute when DeJuan Jones played the ball to Roldan who then gave it back to his teammate to center it toward Ferreira to slot home. The FC Dallas man added his second in the 38th minute as Mihailovic played the ball into space for Alejandro Zendejas on the left side. The winger’s cross found Ferreira at the far post and he attempted to put it back toward the center only for T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip to intervene. However, the ball went back to Ferreira to fire it into the open goal.
The 22-year-old then completed his hat trick in first-half stoppage time when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty after Mihailovic was brought down in the area by Alvin Jones. Ferreira was cool as can be as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to bury the ball in the back of the net.
Jamaica remained on the heels of the U.S. as they were dominating Saint Kitts and Nevis elsewhere, but the host nation did not let up in their goal assault.
Cade Cowell, who came off the bench just after the hour mark, scored the American’s fourth on the day in the 65th minute. A porous back pass from Kadeem Corbin allowed the 19-year-old to pounce and he made it count as he rounded Phillip and toyed with a defender before firing the ball in.
The U.S. scored again in the 79th minute as Gianluca Busio scored his first international goal. DeAndre Yedlin played the ball to Julian Gressel on the right side before sending his pass to the center of the area for the wide-open midfielder to bury.
Brandon Vazquez would come off the bench to complete the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Cowell sent the ball in his path as he chipped it passed Phillip.
The win ensured the Americans finished first in Group A with seven points, beating Jamaica out on goal difference.
The team will now head into the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup on Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio, as they await the second-place finisher in Group D.