June 28 – The USA made short work of St Kitts and Nevis in front of a home crowd in a not quite full stadium in St Louis, beating the Caribbean islanders 6-0.
The win puts the USA top of Group A, above Jamaica on goal difference.
St Kitts had been the breakthrough team of the preliminary play-offs, the first ever to qualify from the third tier of the Concacaf Nations League, but they have found the group stages a step too far. They 6-0 hammering by the US, followed on from a 3-0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago in their opening group game.
The US, who come into the tournament with a squad mainly drafted from the MLS and LigaMX, are on a mission to prove that criticism of the selection is unfounded. 17 of the 23 player that won the Nations League were dropped from the roster for the Gold Cup.
The US’s opening draw against Jamaica did little to dispel the criticism, but it did show that this group has fight. The St Kitts match and result was not the test of whether they are getting the actual playing of the game right or not.
The US faced similar criticisms in 2021 – a tournament they went on to win with six one goal victories. It wasn’t exciting, at times it was horrible, but it was a win.
The best that can be said of the St Kitts game was that it provided important playing time for the US selection to gel and find their own rhythm and style.
The US wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with Djordje Mihalovic scoring his second goal for the US. Two minutes later Bryan Reynolds fired in from outside the box to make it 2-0.
The US were rampant, the game was already over. Jesus Ferreira made it 3-0 on 16 minutes. The flood gates had opened and Americans were flowing through them unstopped. Ferreira scored again on 25 minutes – 4-0.
Stats on the first 20 minutes showed the US having 10 shots, seven of them on goal. St Kitts hadn’t managed a single goal attempt and had only had 30% of possession.
The second half started as the first finished with US in control. It only took four minutes for Ferreira to complete his hattrick, poking the ball in from inside the box virtually unmarked.
St Kitts captain Juliani Archibald, the hero of the knockout rounds with his penalty saves, made another series of smart saves to keep the score down. The US also helped with multiple misses, but the contest had been over for a long time.
Mihalovic scored his second in the 80th minute to make it 6-0. Alejandro Zendejas, who pushed and probed all night should have scored a couple at the end but St Kitts scambled to keep the margin almost respectable considering the circumstances.
The US now face Trinidad and Tobago needing a point to go through to the knockout rounds. St Kitts will lick their wounds and ice their weary limbs for a last blast against Jamaica.
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