USMNT routs St. Kitts and Nevis in Gold Cup behind Jesus Ferreira's hat trick

The U.S. is now atop Group A over Jamaica based on superior goal difference


ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – JUNE 28: Jesús Ferreira #9 of the United States celebrates scoring during the second half of a Group A match of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Saint Kitts and Nevis at CITYPARK on June 28, 2023 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by John Dorton/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

If you like goals, then Wednesday's match between the U.S. men's national team and St. Kitts and Nevis provided plenty of action.

Just not the fun kind for fans of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The USMNT routed the Sugar Boyz 6-0 at CITYPARK in St. Louis in the second group stage game of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup. Jesus Ferreira completed a hat trick, while Djordje Mihailovic added a brace and Bryan Reynolds scored a long-range screamer.

The result puts the U.S. atop Group A with four points through two games. They are level with Jamaica after their 1-1 draw on Saturday, but possess the edge due to superior goal difference (plus-6 to plus-3).

Mihailovic started the drubbing in the 12th minute when Gianluca Busio's cutback cross from the right flank made its way to the AZ Alkmaar midfielder, who struck it to the top left corner with his weaker left foot.

That started a span of three goals in four minutes.

Reynolds followed it up with his outside-the-box screamer off a Alex Zendejas corner kick in the 14th minute before Ferreira opened his account with a nice slotted finish towards the bottom left corner in the 16th.

Ferreira then added his second and the USMNT's fourth in the 25th minute when Mihailovic managed to find him with a perfect pass that split two defenders. Ferreira was left one-on-one with goalkeeper Julani Archibald, and the FC Dallas forward calmly nutmegged him.

Ferreira's goal also made history as he became the fastest player in USMNT history to record double-digit goals.

The U.S. went into the half with a 4-0 lead after recording 17 shots in total, with nine hitting the target. That was in stark comparison to the one shot St. Kitts and Nevis logged, but it didn't hit the target as veteran goalie Sean Johnson enjoyed a relatively quiet night between the sticks.

Ferreira then made it a hat trick in the 50th minute when his composure and quick touches in the box allowed him to get off a clean shot towards the right side of the net.

Mihailovic capped off a stellar night of playmaking and activity with a brace in the 79th minute. In transition, midfielder Aidan Morris clipped a cross over to Cristian Roldan from the right wing. Roldan brought it down to Mihailovic after Archibald rushed out of his net, which allowed Mihailovic time to slot it to the right corner without worrying about a goalkeeper diving for it.

The Stars and Stripes finished the game with 34 shots, 15 of which hit the target. St. Kitts and Nevis registered a shot in the second half to make it two in total, but it again failed to hit the target.

The U.S. also won the possession battle 66% to 34% while completing 85% of 537 passes.

This level of dominance was to be expected by the U.S. even though interim manager B.J. Callaghan doesn't have his A-team players available for the Gold Cup. St. Kitts and Nevis came into the tournament ranked 139th by FIFA, and the difference between the two was easily evident.

Ferreira and Mihailovic will draw the headlines and praise for their goal contributions on the night, but youngsters like Reynolds, along with center back Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy) and midfielder Gianluca Busio (Venezia) deserve flowers for their performances. Neal, specifically, has made it two solid games in a row after coming on at halftime against Jamaica for Aaron Long and stymieing the dangerous Reggae Boyz in transition.

Next for the U.S. is the final group stage game against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, July 2 at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be played at the Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.

A win would likely secure first place in the group for the U.S. depending on goal difference disparities, while a draw would also be enough to advance. A loss would make it tricky depending on the outcome of the Jamaica-St. Kitts and Nevis fixture.

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