PHILADELPHIA — The United States was outplayed during the second half by 79th-ranked Curacao on Sunday night but managed to advance to the Gold Cup semifinals with a 1-0 victory.
Weston McKennie’s header in the 25th minute was the difference for the 30th-ranked United States, which extended its Gold Cup winning streak to nine games.
It will play Jamaica in a semifinal on Wednesday, one night after Mexico faces Haiti in the other semifinal. Jamaica defeated Panama, 1-0, on a penalty kick in the 75th minute on Sunday.
The United States is defending its title in the tournament, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, and reached the semifinals for the 10th straight Gold Cup.
Christian Pulisic, the 20-year-old star midfielder, was the United States’ captain for the second time and fed McKennie for the goal. Pulisic cut in from a flank and crossed a ball that McKennie headed in from 4 yards out, scoring for the second time in 12 international appearances.
Playing near his hometown, Hershey, Pa., Pulisic shot just wide in the second minute and was denied in the fourth when goalkeeper Eloy Room, while falling to his left, reached to his right to tip Pulisic’s shot over the crossbar.
Curacao possessed the ball 60 percent of the time in the second half, and the American goalkeeper, Zack Steffen, was forced to make a leaping save of a Leandro Bacuna shot in the 84th minute.
This will be the third straight Gold Cup in which the United States and Jamaica meet in the knockout stage. The Reggae Boyz upset the Americans in the 2015 semifinals, and the United States defeated Jamaica in the 2017 final.
Pulisic’s only previous game as captain was in a 1-0 exhibition defeat to Italy on Nov. 20 under the interim coach Dave Sarachan. The new coach, Gregg Berhalter, has used nine different captains in 10 games.
Berhalter returned to the same starting lineup against Curacao that he had used for the United States’ first two group-stage matches, against Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. When the United States was assured of advancing, Berhalter changed all 11 starters for the group-stage finale against Panama.
The Americans have outscored opponents, 12-0, in the tournament, and have held opponents scoreless for 405 minutes over all.
Source: Read Full Article