It might look like the U.S. men’s national team has made it through the toughest part of the 2023 Gold Cup group stage.
The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) put itself in a strong position to advance from a quartet that also includes Saint Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago by holding a Jamaican squad fronted by four Premier League attackers to a 1-1 tie in Saturday’s tournament opener in Chicago.
On Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET on FS1, watch them play Saint Kitts in a contest that should be easy to predict. Though the two teams have never met before, the United States is rated 13th and Saint Kitts is 139th in terms of FIFA rankings. On Sunday, the nation of fewer than 50,000 people dropped its inaugural Gold Cup match, 3-0 against T&T. On Wednesday, they’ll face the reigning champion United States in front of a full home crowd at St. Louis’ glitzy new City Park.
FOXBet gives the US Men’s National Team an incredible 95% chance of winning at home. This seems like a slam dunk on paper.
“It’s very cliché to say, but there is no easy game in professional football,” American defender Matt Miazga remarked on Tuesday. “I’ve been in situations before where I was expected to win but I didn’t have the right focus and lost the game or it was more difficult than I thought it would be at the club level,” he said.
And even if they do manage to defeat the Sugar Boyz, that alone may not be enough to guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals. If the United States beats the Soca Warriors and Jamaica beats Saint Kitts, all three teams would have three points each. Goal differential would then decide which two teams would move on to the knockout stage.
That motivates the Americans to attempt to score heavily on Wednesday and at least match or beat Trinidad’s performance from three days ago.
St. Kitts and Nevis vs. USMNT
“We want to play at a high tempo, we want to press, and we want to dominate with the ball,” stated USMNT interim head coach B.J. Callaghan. We feel that if we are doing that and executing at a high level, success will follow.
“We’re not looking at a specific scoreline or anything like that,” Callaghan said. “All we want to do is top what we did in Jamaica.”
Certainly, there is room for such to exist. After winning the CONCACAF Nations League earlier this month, most of the greatest American club players are currently on holiday in Europe. One of its most seasoned attackers, Jordan Morris, was injured in the season opener against the Reggae Boyz and hasn’t trained since. He is doubtful to play on Wednesday.
Callaghan also said that center defender Miles Robinson, one of just five players to remain from the Nations League squad, will be available despite missing the tournament’s championship and the tournament’s opener due to a strained calf/hamstring.
If the players who have been made available to the media this week are any indication, Callaghan will not likely trot back the same team he used on Saturday. Miazga, Gianluca Busio, and Sean Johnson are all normally reserves. The coach didn’t exactly dispute the idea that this match would be a good one to rest some of the regulars in preparation for Sunday’s group stage finale against T&T, a team the United States learned not to take for granted in the cruelest possible way in 2017 when a 2-1 loss in Trinidad prevented them from qualifying for the following year’s World Cup.
Callaghan affirmed the club’s faith in all of the players that made the final cut to the 23-man squad. As the saying goes, “We will make changes.”
After all, there are positive sides to change as well. Substitutes Cade Cowell and Brandon Vazquez gave the U.S. a much-needed boost in the second half against Jamaica, and Vazquez’s goal in the 88th minute saved a point that might prove pivotal. On Wednesday, either of the forwards might make the starting lineup. There is a lot at risk for the club as a whole, but the new players also have a lot to show.
“When anyone puts on the U.S. jersey and steps onto the pitch, it’s a big opportunity,” Miazga said. You’ll never know when you might need it again, so why not save it? Make sure you’re energized, focused, and eager for success before you take the stage. And I believe that many men are prepared to do so.
Q1. Which USMNT players have dual citizenship?
Some of the most well-known squad members are also dual nationals; they include Cameron Carter-Vickers (England), Sergino Dest (Netherlands), Yunus Musah (England), and Antonee Robinson (England).