It wasn't a thriller at Jerry-World in Arlington, but the USMNT got it done against Jamaica to advance to the Semifinals of the Gold Cup, where they'll face the still oddly confusing guest at this tournament, Qatar.
20 year old Matthew Hoppe scored the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute. Both Zardes and Hoppe had a chance at the lofted cross to the back post by Cristian Roldan, but it was ultimately buried into the net by the Schalke forward for the game winner.
There were some struggles. Many US Soccer fans were excited to see Daryl Dike leading the line in the quarterfinals, but "El Tanque" as they refer to him on the TUDN broadcast, was just a step off on the night. The workload of the past 365 days on the young Orlando City striker may be getting to him, as well as the shoulder injury he suffered earlier against Canada. But we can be sure that the run of success he experienced in that time, is a more accurate depiction of the actual Daryl Dike than the one we saw against Jamaica.
Defensively, the USMNT had their best game of the tournament. This while dealing with the loss of Walker Zimmerman due to injury. Not only on the backline, but in the midfield, the defensive responsibilities were handled soundly for most of the game. Still, two players stood out more than others on that end of the field.
By far the most outstanding player of the tournament thus far for the USA, Robinson had himself another stellar performance in the quarterfinal. His ability in the air and his freakish athleticism have been on full display. The latter does so much to recover for the possible mishaps of his teammates. His closing speed in emergency situations has been massive in helping the US get results in this Gold Cup.
The 24 year old Atlanta United defender has thrust himself into the conversation for a spot in the backline during World Cup Qualifying starting in September. This is a welcome rise at a position the national team desperately needs. Like we've seen at other positions, it seems the player pool finally has depth at centerback.
For a player that has played several positions throughout his career, Kellyn Acosta seems to have found a home in the defensive midfielder role on this version of the USMNT. Sure some passes were a little loose, and possession wasn't always at a premium, but defensively he was damn near perfect.
"Kellyn was an absolute beast today." said head coach Gregg Berhalter following the match. He was all over the pitch in defense. He clogged up passing lanes right and left, resulting in 3 interceptions, and was successful on every challenge he attempted. This was a massive performance, in another position that lacks depth in the US player pool. Tyler Adams is the first choice defensive midfielder, but if this is a sign of things to come for Acosta, he may have the backup job locked up moving forward.
Star Spangled soccer will be heading to Texas this week to cover the semifinal against Qatar in Austin. We will be talking to Miles Robinson before the match, so be sure to send your questions for the defender and I'll ask him some of the best one submitted!