It wasn’t pretty, but the US Men’s National Team got it done with an 88th-minute set-piece set up by Graham Zusi and finished by Matt Miazga. A night where the US needed 3 goals to win the group, they got there despite their best efforts not to. Two second half penalty kick saves saw the Americans sit with just a 2-0 lead late in the 2nd half. After a strange sequence where Nicaragua saw two of their attackers get a clean look at a cross, that would have doomed the US, instead, both collided and led to an odd man break the other way. Juan Agudelo drew a foul which led to a 2nd yellow issued AND on the other end with the collision, a Nicaraguan forward had to be stretchered off the field. That led to an 11-on-9 set piece for the US, which saw a perfectly struck cross from Graham Zusi that found the head of Miazga and subsequentially the back of the net. It was Miazga’s first career international goal and it could not have come at a better time.
With the 3-0 win, the US won their group, meaning that instead of playing Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, they will play the 3rd place finisher in Group C. This is the 13 time in 14 tries that the US has won their group in the Gold Cup. The other big piece is that the US can make 6 roster changes prior to the quarterfinals. There are already rumors circulating that Clint Dempsey will be added to the roster, while Tim Howard and Michael Bradley were both in attendance for the game tonight, generating more speculation on their potential late inclusion. While we are unsure of what the roster will look like next week, one thing is for sure, Bruce Arena is going to put the best side forward to win the tournament.