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Hoppe winner lifts USMNT past Jamaica into Gold Cup semifinals

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Matthew Hoppe was just seconds away from being substituted when Cristian Roldan struck a floating cross to the back-post that brought with it a chance to decide a tightly-contested Gold Cup quarterfinal.

Having been denied by Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake on multiple occasions, Hoppe made sure his last chance wouldn’t be wasted, heading home Roldan’s cross for the lone goal in a hard-fought 1-0 win for the U.S. men’s national team over Jamaica on Sunday night.

On a night when the U.S. attack struggled to find a way past Blake, it was the American defense delivering another strong outing, as Miles Robinson and James Sands led the backline while Matt Turner made five saves to record his third shutout in four Gold Cup matches.

The Americans found themselves locked in a hard-fought battle in the first half, with the Jamaicans bullying the USMNT, which started slowly as the young lineup deployed by Berhalter struggled to get a hold of the game.

The Americans showed more composure in the second half and slowly began taking control of the match, but the goal still didn’t come, in part because of impact made by second-half substitutes Gyasi Zardes and Cristian Roldan, who helped boost the attack when they came in for Daryl Dike and Paul Arriola, two players who struggled to make their mark on the match.

It was Roldan who helped deliver the winner when he floated a cross from the right wing to the back-post, where Zardes and Hoppe crashed into the penalty area, With Zardes attracting attention from Blake, it cleared the way for Hoppe to deliver a free header for the winner.

The Americans will now take on Qatar in the Gold Cup semifinals on Thursday in Austin, Texas.

Comments

  1. in terms of positions where there is actually a chance to make the team, this tournament continues to make turner, the center backs, and the wing backs look good. they are the ones pitching shutouts to save the bad offense. this has not been an advertisement for the mids or forwards relative to the first choice. it may have hurt yeuill and helped acosta, which may open up a grand total of one mid slot. it may have hurt dike and helped zardes, which may just swap who is the last forward on the team. if you already have aaronson pulisic reyna there is only one 23 man wing spot left and not sure hoppe beats weah konrad musah to that.

    people need to start watching games like a coach thinking back to NL. does this look better than the NL team. at keeper and defense, yes. any place else, no. so the question is going to be how many, if any, defenders and keepers he integrates, and there will be little change up front. a stuttering offense where the impressive players play popular positions does not lend itself to personnel change in offense. none of these guys is taking the starters’ jobs. consider where your favorite plays and who we had at that spot for NL. if you’re not better so what if you look decent at GC with the B team.

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  2. Hoppe reminds me a lot of Mueller with BM and Germany. Not the quickest, know where to move and when, good with his feet and his head, and smashes the ball when he gets his chances with accuracy. If anything it’s the hard hit accuracy of his shots that reminds me on Mueller so much too. Ball is smashed and always well placed and makes the keeper do work. Really hope he gets a shot at another club this window with all the problems at Scalke. Still getting a whole season and lots of play in 2nundesliga wouldn’t be so bad either.

    Biggest takeaway here for me was Hoppe looking like a serious consideration as a sub for WCQ when we need to change gears in a bogged down concacafing game.

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    • what people seem to miss here is we have a few wings and what we need is a 9. reyna pulisic aaronson etc. getting shifted to a loaded position where you look ok doesn’t help other than as depth. there is an interesting question what he would do at 9 based on that header but having had him in for weeks he has barely played there.

      also, while his dribbling entertains, basically what he does wide is loft crosses in. he doesn’t invert. he could maybe take people on but mostly does that middle third. so kind of one note. and while he looks decent we don’t get to see anyone else prove they look decent while the coach has lewis on the roster but buried in the garage under a car wheel and some sticks.

      at some point US fans need to realize this is team assembly and not just an all star team of fan favs.

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      • I thought Hoppe was a 9, and GB was playing him at wing only because he preferred Dike as the 9. But after last night, that may no longer be the case.

        It seems to me that the striker spot is a wide open competition right now. Sargent is slipping back and really needs to start producing this year, because just being a starter on a B2 team is not enough. Dike, Pefok, Zardes, Hoppe and maybe Nico can all make claims that they should go to Qatar. And who knows what Pepi is going to look like next year (and will GB be tempted to bring him to Qatar to tie him to the US). But as you say, no more than 3 strikers will go, so it’s going to be fun to see how it plays out over the next year or so.

      • the problem is the coach is probably only figuring out now that sargent is struggling, and bet heavy on dike here, and so who else but zardes is really getting a look? this favors incumbency plus zardes even if it really shouldn’t. people act like i am some irrational berhalter hater but my deal is i can foresee some of these issues and if he hands all the time to 1-2 players who then disappoint all you’ve really learned is who you wish you wouldn’t have to play as opposed to who WON THE JOB. for comparison’s purposes, the backline this tournament, where a bunch of kids are playing well. but they may run into the fact they are all B team right now and how many does he promote up?

  3. Hopefully Hoppe’s heroics are a preview of coming attractions for when we have all of our European Club Players together for W/C Qualifying and Finals Action.

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  4. Dike does not initiate the contact on his hold up play, instead waits to get hit by the defender as the ball arrives, and it messes up his first touch. Needs to use those shoulders and bump the D off of him before the ball arrives and create just that little space to receive, my opinion. it’s learnable. He struggled. Seemed like Arriola lost every ball played to him

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    • let’s be real, based on what we’ve seen so far, he’s the 4th 9 which means he gets cut. pefok sargent zardes. i appreciate the portions of his game he needs to work on but the NT is not a learning exercise. you are ready or not. he is not.

      and let’s be real, there’s a list of guys fighting for that spot. in a fair world this sort of stumble would mean someone else’s turn.

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      • I’m real. He was not good. I’d still start him to get as much opportunity for him in varying matchups as possible. Also, quicker balls into the spaces behind and in between the opposing backline would help him, loosen it up, like how GB had the boys playing in the 2nd half; those quick through balls and timed runs through the gaps helped change the tempo of the game imo, and created space underneath, and more to Dike’s strengths. Anyway, never said he was making the team or not, but re. who does, injuries and all kinds of things can mess up the best laid plans and ideas….

      • no, there are 3 other guys who deserve their chance. part of the berhalter problem is this sort of perseveration that your favorite will turn around given 20 caps. by about mediocre cap 3 we should be on to the next guy. we have too many options to dwell. put up or shut up. there is always next cycle. we need someone ready now.

      • i mean, for example, while i think hoppe is interesting wide, that header was a target striker goal and he’s not been given a 9 chance. nor has nico.

      • Fine with me on any of the options, including Dike again at the 9, but then with tactics more suited to his game from jump instead of after halftime if he is the 9; he needs service to space where he can get moving, he’s limited in tight spaces as we know. Credit to GB for bringing in Hoppe and playing him where he feels comfortable to max his impact.

      • he’s not playing well despite system where we should bend the tactics back around him. the coach wants to play a certain way. he’s not thriving. see if someone else thrives. reality is coach has burned so much of his effort on about 4 players when quali arrives it has to be 3 out of those 4 no matter what we think nico or hoppe or soto or ferreira or whatnot might offer. this is my thing is he heavily commits himself and to players who haven’t really won the job on the field yet. which is how sargent has the starting job without a goal in 2 years. only way that happens is a finger on the scales having decided this whole thing on paper beforehand.

  5. Am I the one who thought Sands wasn’t up to level? So many bad passes and got beat a lot. He was a definite liability.
    Also, I don’t get Berhalter’s love for Arriola. Really one of the worst players out there last night. Lleget was pretty poor too. Couldn’t shoot a corner to save his life and so many bad passes. Dike looked lost and needs to dig deeper because he has been awful past 2 games. Busio was better in second half and hustled well on defense but still a work in progress – too many poor decisions.

    Robinson looks like he belongs and hopefully can get to Europe soon. Hoppe though raw at least tried hardest and probably the only one willing to take one defenders and try to attack. I also thought Vines was excellent.

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    • the first 3 center backs zimmermann sands robinson look so much better than the NL backs that it’s basically what is GB thinking. i also am not going to critique sands harshly for more or less doing his job when brooks is a dribbling cone and ream needs a jet pack. the quiet story of this tournament is the CBs and keeper keeping it clean to overcome the coach’s stuttering offense. trying to turn that into sands screwing up is a distortion of the truth.

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      • If the play of Robinson, Sands and Zimmerman don’t relegate Ream to the permanent dust bin…… This is not a criticism of Ream who I really like- just confusion frustration with a managers repeatedly selecting a player well past it for meaningless friendlies which has pushed the integration of players ready to step up much further down the road then it had to be. A definite pattern that I strain to find an upside to. Guzan…. Johnson? Just… why?

      • We’re not really comparing apples to apples though are we. Switzerland had all Bundesliga strikers, Honduras has two European based strikers, Mexico’s three forwards were all Euro based that played in the final. Haiti’s forwards were largely 2nd division, same with Martinique, Canada Larin played what 2/3s but Akinola is a raw MLS prospect, Bailey didn’t play for Jamaica so Burke is an average MLS player, Reid was in EPL with Fulham but played mostly as a wing and almost all his career is Championship or League One. We’ve also changed tactics a little keeping Vines deeper since Haiti.
        ————————————
        Totally agree people need to remember this is for spots 20-26, if you mix one of these guys with Pulisic and Reyna their going to be more affective. Lleget struggles for example when he’s got to create instead of just make the late run to finish. Musah is hurt not a lot of details other than his leg didn’t have fracture which was the original fear. That might open a spot for September at least.

      • actually it is apples to oranges because i have previously pointed you to games where brooks and ream screwed up regionally. ream vs canada. brooks vs costa rica, jamaica. the pretense is they get the hard games and these guys get the easy ones. but it’s (a) not true when they played their own unsuccessful gold cups dating back to the 2015 and 2019 debacles and (b) it kind of begs the question why the trash gets the big games. you can say they earned it, i kind of wonder when that ever happened. your argument basically amounts to the self-serving theory they should start because they already do so which is circular logic, “experience.” i prefer giving people chances based on how the games go.

        you also neglect we lost a lot of the tough games you mention — i mean, how did that swiss game actually go hmmmmm. i have gone down the list of brooks bad days before. you don’t care. you don’t even care he came close to handing an equalizer right back to elis from honduras, or that we shipped 2 goals to mexico before winning in OT.

      • you’re not going to argue elis twisted him in a pretzel, then. he was abused by the swiss. he was abused by costa rica, england, brazil, etc. whether he was not the specific victim of mexico that night is kind of fake. fwiw on goal 1 if there was a rebound he was jogging slowly back behind his man.

        the fake argument is he’s better at passing but this group hardly looks worse on the ball than the starters.

  6. Jamaica is the one team we face in CONCAFAF that consistently plays fast and physical. I question whether the new callups had ever played in a game that intense and challenging before, and certainly not in MLS.

    Busio is 19, and just needs good coaching and more game experience. As others mentioned, he was better defensively in this game than Canada. Qatar is in November of 2021, so the door is open for improvement.

    If there is a sliver lining to Zimmerman’s injury, it is forcing newbies Sands and Robinson to jump right into the deep end of the pool and learn to swim. Better to gain that experience now that in a crucial WCQ game.

    The player who most needs coaching and practice is Dike with his holdup play and distribution. In this game and with Canada, the defense won just about every duel. Someone with that size and strength needs to earn the confidence of his teammates as a forward target.

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    • What both players and fans need to recognize is that international tournament play is a large step above club play, unless you are playing for the UEFA championship. Jamaica is one of the quickest teams around, but in a knock out game, intensity levels will be very high, no matter the opponent. Not every team will press as much as Jamaica does, but a game like that is not for the faint hearted. The players cannot let down for a second. We made a lot of turnovers because I don’t think our MLS based players expected the intensity of Jamaica. Passes that would have been okay in an MLS game, got intercepted in this game. This is why I warn folks that a player who looks good in MLS may not be ready for international play.

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      • Agreed. First 20 minutes there were quite a few incidents of our players being way too slow and casual on the ball…. not at all in touch with the intensity of Jamaica.(Lletget all game) I think Jamaica looked at the fast start and fades of o the US games and were determined to come out extra intense to squelch that. We were extremely fortunate to get out of that first 15 minutes unscathed.

    • Yeah….. Dike had next to no service from a midfield seemingly incapable or unwilling to make an incisive, ambitious pass. Hoppe was the only player consistently going at Jamaica with any intent or aggression. So that said, I’ll give Dike a semi pass as his runs were simply ignored. Big however…. The type of player he is in the type of game this was…. his totally absent hold up play is a glaring problem. He’s a smart, talented dude who seems to learn very fast. I confident that if he focuses on that aspect of his game which he desperately needs to- he’ll get it. Until then- not ready for prime-time.

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      • well he obviously had enough gas to do what no one else could. maybe the coach could have replaced him with a wingback.

    • Yeah! I wish we knew who to give credit for calling in Hoppe, giving him his USMNT debut, starting him in a knockout match against a physical opponent, and sticking with him until he ran out of gas —— because it sure couldn’t have been that idiot BEERHOLDER.

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      • you mean the 9 playing wing who came in to head the cross where the 9 should be? the 9 who was asleep all night but the coach really wants to start because once upon a time he was the hot form player but obviously no longer?

    • The lone 9 can’t be sitting back post. If Zardes is on the back post Blake catches or punches that cross. That’s the backside wing’s ball all day. Made easier because the RB was watching the #9 and lost Hoppe so the header was uncontested. I’d like to see Hoppe or Nico as the #9 but Gyasi did his job and because of that Hoppe was able to do his. Also Hoppe has had to play wider to enable Vines to stay more at home. CP and Reyna are able to tuck in because Dest gives the width that isolates Brooks.

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      • you’re confusing hoppe begins running in from the back post with where the ball comes down, which is basically right where zardes was. he heads the ball in from almost on top of him. it’s not a header from outside the 6 or the frame. he’s inside the frame. it’s a striker’s goal basically. and he gets the goal climbing over the striker.

      • and you’re trying so hard to nitpick you’re missing the basic point of a struggling 9 starter and his sub being outshone by the 9-turned-wing coming into their part of the field to win a crash the box striker header. the implications for perhaps who should be getting these chances first should naturally follow.

  7. Busio is consistently disappointing me at the moment. If he’s heralded as ‘the American Pirlo’, he should probably try to pass the ball forward every once and a while. Good job on the defensive end, yes, but we need someone in the midfield to pick his head up and ping a dangerous pass. Tyler Adams does it well, but I wish we had a better plan B option.

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    • Agree, he is overhyped and I don’t think he is ready for serie A. Not only is he backpassing but his passes were compromising the defense players he was giving the ball too. Very dissapointing.

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    • As one who has been trying to put some brakes on the hype, he is still very raw, but he was noticeably better this game than before. I wouldn’t pencil him on the roster for World Cup qualifying, but he is showing some promise and should be nurtured along. One thing t5hat seems clear to me is that our young European based players are considerably better than our young MLS based players, with maybe a couple of exceptions (Miles Robinson over Mark McKenzie at this point, for one example).

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    • I gotta say I disgree with you guys. Busio had a very good 2nd half. I agree about his poor first half but the 2nd half he really got the attack going on the right flank. All we heard was how weak he was on defense and he really was aggressive on the defensive side

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      • Busio’s 2nd half was pretty darn good, 19 year old kid. Pump breaks on what? No one here thinks he’s Pirlo, we all see he’s a 19 year old kid, a kid, and he stood up to be counted like a man instead of wilting under the pressure as the game wore on. I was impressed by that

    • i thought the TV snippets post game were heavily edited like where were the turnovers and the getting run right by. also, people have just not discussed how out of shape and gassed he looked second half against canada, like standing around. i would prefer him to yeuill but he sucks. otherwise i think acosta has basically won the backup 6 slot. which means if you start counting mids in the 23 does busio even make the team? lletget adams acosta mckennie musah, not many slots really left. kind of like people touting hoppe wide. is he the second best LF? where does he play and make the team? his best chance was actually 9. looking good wide is a long prison sentence behind reyna and pulisic.

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      • Reyna needs to be our playmaker in the middle of the field. We have no one his equal there and many options out wide…. who actually like to play out wide.

    • @beachbum I respect your opinion here and you’re certainly entitled to it, but 19 years old really isn’t that young anymore all things considered. Juxtaposed against players like Pulisic, Reyna, Adams, and McKennie who made dents internationally at the same age, I’m not as impressed with Busio at the moment. But, from another angle, Dempsey and Mcbride were late bloomers; so was Bradley (albeit he had a massive falling-off in his twilight years), and I’d be a fool to rule out Busio when his best years are yet to come.

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      • all have their own arc. this is his first taste, and appears to have adjusted quickly to play in our region. That’s impressive to me too. Can he continue? idk,we’ll see. I thought he was terrible vs. Canada, and said so. Reyna has had some poor performances in the uni along with some beauties, he too is inconsistent at 19. Busio played better when GB moved him outside and higher, I’d like to see him deployed there again

      • i’m actually with rico po. i think pulisic and reyna should be central which then clears the path for the wing talent we have in bulk. what we lack is great central players. they are as close as we have to that, and they even play the spot a lot in pro. i see the issue as the coach loves his regulars and it would be controversial to some if mckennie got bumped. to me it’s like be the best at your job or that’s the risk.

        you can then pick from aaronson weah musah konrad arriola etc. wide. we will be just fine there and the middle will be superior.

        that being said, if you go by the coach’s idea of the midfield maybe he has an outside chance at yeuill’s expense or something. but his chances really have to do with not thinking about who else we could use, including people played out of position eg reyna or left out eg holmes. i don’t think properly selected he would make this team right now. he does a nice thing or two and i like the shooting. but that’s proving isolated and anecdotal.

      • i also think one unconsidered solution to the 9 problem is pulisic plays striker. if you can’t rely on the 9s yet then play someone reliable as the 9 a la donovan or dempsey getting moved in from wing. no sense having great players serving it in to unreliable ones. have good players serve our best.

  8. I thought Busio was much more effective than he was against Canada. He made several tackles cleaning winning the ball off bigger, stronger players.

    Also Vines did well, at least in part because he was less likely to get caught up than he was vs Canada, probably because he did not try to get inside the 18, stopping about 30 yards out.(that may have been due to the change in formation.)

    Robinson and Sands did very well as did Turner in goal and Moore continued his run of great games.

    Acosta was guilty of some give-aways in bad spots, but overall he was effective in preventing Jamaica from advancing through the middle of the midfield (not that they tried much).

    I thought it was clear from the beginning that if Jamaica failed to score off their high press strategy at the beginning that the US would eventually prevail. However, I did not expect the US would dominate possession that much once the high press dropped off, yet fail to turn that possession into many good chances on goal. The attack needed to be quicker and more creative, it was just too easy for Jaimaca to defend.

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    • agree with these observations. Berhalter shifting Busio higher and wider helped bring out better play from him and he got stronger as the game wore on instead of wilting like he did last game imo. Can he do it again? idk, we’ll see

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    • Vines is a classic and capable stay at home FB. He can make occasional, adequate, opportunistic runs forward, but when you start asking him to operate as a wingback- the wheels come off.

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