On this night we all learned something special about a young and upcoming superstar that has come out blazing and converting chances for the US Men’sNational Team. Two big goals took out the Reggae Boys and it was all done by one man or at least a brand new 18-year-old sensation in Ricardo Pepi as the USA defeated Jamaica by a final score of two goals to nil.
The opening goal came four minutes after the restart as the USA pushed the ball up the field, a lovely cross along the near side from Sergino DEst found its way to Ricardo Pepi and he headed the ball inside the far post to put the home side into the lead. In the 62nd minute, the USA did it again, but this time from the far side of the field.
Antonee Robinson made a nice pass to spring Brendan Aaronson and when he made that sharp turn towards the area, he too made a beautiful cross to Pepi and all the lad did was make a midair slide shot past goalkeeper Andre Blake to earn his second of the match and it was his third goal within two consecutive games. The boy who was born in El Paso developed at FC Dallas and smashed in a brace at Austin is a hero in his native state of Texas.
What we have seen is a special young player who is not afraid to take the reigns and dominate on the field as well as bury balls into the back of the net in a high staked World Cup Qualifier. You can tell he has a high level of confidence that we have never seen before with young players in the past try to do with the USA shirt.
It makes you feel happy when you are missing superstars like Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna due to injury that the next round of superstars is just around the corner. You can also see it when Tim Weah who came on as a substitute was speed burning towards the Jamaican net as a second-half substitute and he is playing like a threat.
But the only two refereeing question marks in this match came in the opening half as both Kemar Lawrence in the opening twenty seconds and Damion Lowe in the 33rd minute created tackles where it looked like they were the last line of defense denying a goal-scoring opportunity from behind. Many were sure that referee Antonio Joshua Radix of Grenada was going to give a straight red card, but he decided to give a yellow to both fouls instead.
And without VAR being used for these final round qualifiers, we would’ve seen on the replay that there was a possibility to change that card color from yellow to red in both moments. but it never happened. If both fouls were shown a red card, you can bet the USA would’ve had more goals in this one and, Jamaica would’ve been down to nine men.
With this win and Canada draws against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, the USA on points and a better Goal Differential are now at the top of the Octagon. While there are still two games remaining in this October Qualifying Widow and, plenty more in November, January & March, there is still plenty of time to be careful on who is ahead on the horizon of the USA’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup next Winter.