CHARLOTTE – Yesterday evening, the United States Men’s National Team defeated Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in their final group stage game of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup. A second Jesús Ferreira hat trick saw the USMNT finish top of Group A. They now play Sunday evening in Cincinnati, Ohio against the runner-up of Group D, possibly Canada. Similar to the 2021 Gold Cup, a USMNT squad of backups are performing and growing. One loves to see it.
Jesús Ferreira Hat Tricks has USMNT on Path to Gold Cup Final
Jesús Ferreira is making history, giving options at striker:
This could have been a tricky game. Trinidad and Tobago had a path to the knockout stage. Meanwhile, Jamaica were playing the already eliminated Saint Kitts and Nevis. The United States needed a win and needed to pad the goal difference to ensure they won the group. A second straight Ferreira hat trick saw them get a second straight 6-0 win. Ferreira is the first USMNT player to get hat-tricks in back-to-back games. He now has three for the senior national team, another first. Yes, he’s done it against island nations who are relative minnows in Concacaf.
Still, an American striker is finding the back of the net regularly and is dangerous regardless of what’s going on around him. Folarin Balogun burst onto the scene in the Nations League. Ricardo Pepi scored in the Nations League as well. All three should be going into good club situations come the fall. Balogun’s stock is up from international duty and his season at Reims as he looks to leave Arsenal. Ferreira will return to FC Dallas and be the center piece as they look to compete come the business end of the MLS season. Pepi’s move to PSV Eindhoven is encouraging. The USMNT has three strikers in position to do it for club and country right now. One could not say that a year ago.
Triples is best.
Jesús Ferreira bags his second consecutive hat trick! pic.twitter.com/SgOKTqggMG
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) July 3, 2023
The kids are becoming alright:
The Yanks put together two comprehensive performances, albeit against lesser opposition. Still, several players relatively new to the senior national team have made progress this year and in this group stage. Jalen Neal does not look out of place at center back, having been put under pressure several times in the last two starts. The USA defense has been tested in transition. It has not been pretty, but they’ve gotten the job done. Matt Turner’s come up big several times. Tougher tests are coming in the knockout stage.
Bryan Reynolds, Gianluca Busio, and Cade Cowell have all added goal contributions. They’ve looked better each appearance they’ve gotten. Đorđe Mihailović has to be feeling good after four goal contributions given how tough of a start he had with AZ Alkmaar. Alex Zendejas has not made the highlight real like some of the other players, but has been consistent and positive. B.J. Callaghan’s given opportunities to players on the fringes of the first choice roster for the national team. These players are taking their opportunities. It’s working and fun to watch.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 3, 2023
Path to the final:
Winning the group was going to be critical given how good Jamaica’s squad is. It puts the US in a position to avoid Mexico until the final. The hope was to also avoid Canada, should they win their group, setting up a Canada-Mexico semifinal on the other side of the bracket. That said, Canada’s B Team has been poor and could still go out in the group stage. The only teams that should strike fear in the minds of the US should be Mexico or maybe a rematch with Jamaica (though they’ve fixed the issues that made that performance poor).
The USMNT has a clear path to the final. We could be setup for another USA-Mexico game on July 16 at SoFi Stadium. If the young players keep building on good performances and the offense stays hot, they should like their chances.
Photo Credit: Antonia Geiger, emdashphoto.com, Last Word on Soccer.
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