The United States posted a very important victory in their World Cup qualifiers tonight. They would take all three points against Jamaica following a 2-0 win and seize the top spot in the CONCACAF qualifying zone.
Ricardo Pepi was the hero of the game, with the FC Dallas striker netting twice in the second 45 minutes. This wasn’t the first time he saved Gregg Berhalter’s unit, as he also scored the crucial goal in Honduras, flipping the result and killing the hosts’ morale in that match.
It was similar tonight. Pepi scored his first goal four minutes into the second period, shocking the guests who couldn’t recover after this. Sergino Dest centered the ball from the right flank, directly onto Pepe’s head, and there was simply no hope for Jamaica’s goalkeeper Andre Blake.
Pepi making history!! pic.twitter.com/KU9YRkXPJQ
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 8, 2021
The second goal came 12 minutes later. Brenden Aaronson received the ball on the left side of the box, calmly sending a low cross near the goalkeeper area, where Pepi ran onto it and sent it past Blake once again. After this one, there was no way back for the Jamaicans.
Pepi became the youngest ever player in the US team’s history to score in two consecutive World Cup qualifying matches with today’s brace.
Truth be told, Reggae Boyz were inferior throughout the majority of the match, and they should have been behind much earlier. A very bad referee saved them from a deficit in the first half, denying two clear penalties for the American side. Fortunately for Berhalter and his crew, those poor decisions didn’t affect the final result.
There were a few more chances for the hosts to increase the goalscoring saldo, but both Tim Weah and Gyasi Zardes were inaccurate.
“We’re all excited. We’re sitting here, and we’re on the (Pepi) train,” Berhalter said. “What you see and what I really like, he has this instinct [to score]. It’s really hard to teach that to players.”
Even without its two biggest stars, Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna, the US showed very good quality. There are a lot of young and talented players able to replace these two and step up to lead the team at any given moment.
With these three points, the Americans are topping the assembly, having won eight so far. Mexico is second with 8, while Canada sits third with six. The Jamaicans are hammered to the bottom with only one point in four matches, and the worst goal difference, 2-8.
In the derby of the night, Canada managed to shock Mexico on the road and snap a point. The match at the legendary Azteca Stadium in Mexico City ended 1-1, which is a massive success for the Canadian team.
After winning a point on the road in the United States, the Canadians have excellent chances of reaching the World Cup, which would be their only second appearance at this tournament ever.
Jonathan Osorio’s goal in the 42nd minute leveled the result and brought one point to John Herdman’s crew. Previously, Jorge Sanchez gave the lead to the hosts.
The Canadians showed incredible determination in the remaining part of the game, rebuffing the hosts’ attacks and protecting the lead. Also, they were trying to reach Mexico’s goal as well.
Up next, they jump to Jamaica to face the hosts, while the USA heads for Panama.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.