Jesús Ferreira had a hat-trick, Djordje Mihailovic scored twice and Bryan Reynolds also scored as the US men’s national team defeated tiny Saint Kitts and Nevis 6-0 on Wednesday in their second group game. of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the largest in its history. margin of victory in the tournament.
Mihailovic opened the Americans’ account with the eventual game-winning goal just 12 minutes into the game, which was played in front of a sold-out professional American crowd in St. Louis, Missouri:
Here are three quick thoughts, plus the instant reaction from Ferreira and USMNT interim head coach BJ Callaghan after Wednesday’s contest:
Show Ferreira some respect.
Let’s be real: It was probably unfair of past/future USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter to cast Ferreira in the spotlight of a starting role in a World Cup qualifier after failing to hit the FC Dallas star a single minute during the group stage. Even before that, Ferreira’s MLS affiliation had already made him a favorite target of a certain segment of the fanbase, a sentiment that only grew when Europe-based Ricardo Pepi was left off the roster for Qatar 2022. .
That doesn’t mean Ferreira isn’t still a legitimate talent. If Serie A champion Napoli’s recent interest in the 22-year-old didn’t suggest so much, perhaps Wednesday’s milestone did. The Colombian-born, Texas-raised forward is now the fastest American man to reach double-digit goals. Faster than Christian Pulisic. Faster than the show’s all-time leading scorers, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.
It is true that an important part of Ferreira’s international goals have been against regional minnows. He may not be a world champion, or a guy worthy of the burden of taking the US to new heights on the biggest stage of all. But there’s a reason Ferreira continues to get chances at him, as he did in somewhat surprising fashion Wednesday over Game 1 hero Brandon Vazquez. And he proved why once again.
“He’s got great game sense, he can go down and connect, he makes these little runs behind the baseline,” Callaghan said. “He understands that as No. 9 you have pressure to score goals. And that’s a pressure he’s leaning into. He wants it. It drives him.”
Team rotation pays off
The interim USA coach was coy on Tuesday when asked by FOX Sports if he would deploy his reserves against the heavily outmatched Sugar Boyz.
But Callaghan backed up the confidence he said he had in the entire 23-man Gold Cup squad by fielding an almost entirely different lineup than the one that returned to rob Jamaica of a point last weekend. Most of them made the most of the opportunity. Gianluca Busio had the best of the nine caps of his career. Teenage central defender Jalen Neal continues to rise to the occasion. Reynolds surely raised his value with his great goal:
Mihailovic was perhaps the biggest winner. An early injury deprived the midfielder of any real chance to make the 2022 World Cup squad, and the former CF Montreal star, no longer a player any younger at 24, struggled to adjust to the top league. from the Netherlands after his arrival in January.
But Mihailovic did everything he could on Wednesday to show that he can help this particular Gold Cup team. If he ends up playing a big role in a deep American run, it could be vital to his chances of breaking through the USMNT with his full force en route to the 2026 World Cup on his home soil.
The finish of the group against T&T remains the key for the USMNT
As if the USA needed to be reminded of how dangerous it can be to play Trinidad and Tobago in the final game of a competition, Jamaica’s status as perhaps the most experienced and talented team in the entire tournament adds additional urgency to Sunday’s game. against the Soca Warriors (7 p.m. ET). , FOX).
With Premier League frontline Reggae Boyz expected to take out already eliminated Saint Kitts, the US must beat T&T by as many goals as possible to secure a top finish in Group A.
“Now we go back, we look at the video, we see what we need to improve,” Ferreira said. “And go out and run.”
If he and a rested cast of regulars can match the hunger and execution shown by their subs on Wednesday, you’ve got to like their chances.
Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports and has covered the United States men’s and women’s national teams at various FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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