PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The United States was outplayed during the second half by 79th-ranked Curacao but managed to advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals with a 1-0 win Sunday night behind Weston McKennie’s goal in the 25th minute.
The defending champion U.S. extended its Gold Cup winning streak to nine and will play Jamaica on Wednesday at Nashville, Tennessee, in the second semifinal, a night after Mexico faces Haiti at Glendale, Arizona. The U.S. reached the semifinals for the 10th straight Gold Cup and 14th in 15 overall.
Christian Pulisic, the Americans’ 20-year-old star midfielder, captained the U.S. for the second time and fed McKennie for the goal. Pulisic cut in from a flank and crossed, and McKennie headed in the ball from 4 yards for his second goal in 12 international appearances.
Playing near his hometown of Hershey, 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 had 60 percent possession in the second half. American goalkeeper Zack Steffen, a native of suburban Coatesville, made a leaping save on Leandro Bacuna in the 84th minute.
The 30th-ranked Americans have outscored opponents 12-0 in the tournament, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, and have held opponents scoreless for 405 minutes overall.
This will be the third straight Gold Cup in which the U.S. and Jamaica meet in the knockout stage. The Reggae Boyz upset the U.S. in the 2015 semifinals, and the Americans defeated Jamaica in the 2017 final.
Pulisic’s only previous game as captain was in a 1-0 exhibition defeat to Italy last Nov. 20 under interim coach Dave Sarachan. New coach Gregg Berhalter has had nine different captains in 10 games.
Berhalter returned to the same starting lineup he used for the initial group stage matches against Guyana and then Trinidad and Tobago. With the U.S. assured of advancing, Berhalter changed all 11 starters against Panama for the group stage finale against Panama.
Source: FOX Sport