After largely failing to impress in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the USMNT faced a huge test last night against Jamaica in the tournament quarterfinals. And they passed with flying colors.
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter fielded the second-youngest squad to ever start a knockout round match for the Stars & Stripes. He did so without the likes of USMNT superstars like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Aaron Long.
But the cast of MLS players and mid-level starlets had little trouble running circles around the Reggae Boyz for most of the match. They held possession for an incredible 67-percent of the game, but struggled to find the net… until the 83rd minute.
Starting forward Matthew Hoppe, getting just his third cap for the USMNT, scored a header off a cross in perfect position to give his team a late lead. Jamaica tried to equalize, but the USMNT defense would not give up.
The US soccer world has been giddy for the last 12 hours as their team now heads to the semifinals for a first-ever knockout round bout with Qatar:
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) July 26, 2021
I Hoppe we go to the final and win! #usmnt
— Andy Garcia🇺🇸 (@TheAndy_Garcia) July 26, 2021
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) July 26, 2021
— Andres Soto (@Andres_Soto_7) July 26, 2021
Among the most excited for the USMNT, and Hoppe in particular, was “Captain America” Christian Pulisic himself:
In four games this tournament, the USMNT has scored nine goals and allowed one.
Up next is Qatar, a special entrant in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but a team that’s been making a lot of impact. The Maroon are undefeated since December and have scored 12 goals in their four Gold Cup games.
But the USMNT should be up to the task. Especially after what they did against Jamaica.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals will be held on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. EST and will air on FOX Sports.