United States wins and advances to Gold Cup quarterfinals

United States coach Bruce Arena gives instructions to players during a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against Panama Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

With Panama defeating Martinique in the first game of the day, the United States men’s national team needed a win of three goals of more in its match against Nicaragua to clinch the top spot in Group B of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Bruce Arena’s team accomplished that goal, defeating Nicaragua 3-0 in Cleveland.

Both teams got off to a slow start Saturday, with Joe Corona’s 37th minute goal opening the account for the USMNT. The hosts had the chance to put the game away four minutes into the second half after forward Dom Dwyer was ruled to have been taken down in the penalty area by Nicaragua’s Marlon Lopez.

However, Dwyer’s left-footed penalty was saved by Nicaraguan keeper Justo Lorente, keeping Dwyer from becoming the third player in USMNT history to score a goal in each of his first three caps with the team.

That second goal would come in the 56th minute as Alejandro Bedoya found Kelyn Rowe, who beat Lorente with a right-footed shot. The USMNT would tack on a third goal in the 88th minute by way of a Matt Miazga header, three minutes after Nicaragua dropped to ten men due to defender Luis Copete receiving his second yellow card of the match.

With the win the United States has won its group in 13 of its 14 appearances in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Both the United States and Panama ended group play with goal differentials of plus-4, with the next tiebreaker being total goal scored. Due to their scoring seven goals in group play to Panama’s six, the USMNT gets the top spot in Group B.

Next up will be the third-place finisher from either Group A or Group C, with Honduras finishing third in Group A. Group C will complete play Sunday night, with Mexico taking on Curaçao and Jamaica facing El Salvador.

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