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2020 Men’s Olympic Qualifying Recap - USA 4-0 Dominican Republic: late goals are better than no goals

Ducks fly together

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Trinidad & Tobago at USA Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After David Ochoa single handedly kept the US in contention to qualify for the Olympics by preserving the win in a must win game against Alajuelense Costa Rica, the Yoot Yanks responded by playing a disjointed first half and adjusting somewhat in the second 45, or really third thirty, to come away with a 4-0 win.

After struggling mightily to put together any kind of threat going forward in the first half the USA finally broke through on a Jackson Yueill goal around the hour mark. Two more goals from second half subs Hassani Dotson and a fourth from Djordje Mihailovic turned the game into a rout. Despite the score, the tough start to the match may be somewhat concerning with a game looming against Mexico as the team clearly has some work to do in terms of realizing a game plan.

We’re only going to talk about the second half, right?

Through 15 minutes, the Dominican Republic was not intimidated and the USA seemed to have trouble matching their energy and intensity, much less build possession or threaten in the final third. Turns out playing three defensive midfielders in a 4-3-3 against a nation that has never qualified for a Gold Cup might have been Jason Kreis overestimating his opposition.

As the game settled, the Hispaniola side slowed some and the Americans saw more of the ball, but did not do much to create chances with it. Finally, the first real opportunity came in the 27th minute on a cross from Sam Vines that found Johnny with an open header in the six yard box, but the midfielder smashed his effort right into the arms of DR keeper Johan Guzman.

The first half ended with the US coming to life with a few successful advances into the DR 18 yard box with nothing to show for their efforts. If the idea was to have the US keep possession and then rely on interplay on the wings between the outside backs and attackers to create chances, very, very little of that happened. The team resembled XI individuals rather than a cohesively unit following some sort of well executed or communicated game plan.

Jesus Ferreira, who was on a yellow card, made way for Sebastian Soto to begin the second half which also brought a higher line for the US as the team pushed for its first goal. A few decent chances didn’t amount to anything until finally, Bofo Saucedo flicked a ball past the face of goal that Jackson Yueill deflected into the net to put the US ahead 1-0 in the 61st minute.

After the score, Johnny made way for Hassani Dotson and Saucedo came off for Djordje Mihailovic and at the 69th minute Benji Michel was brought in for Jonathan Lewis.

Shortly thereafter, Mihailovic made a nice run with the ball into the box and picked a pass to Dotson who slotted it past Guzman to make it 2-0 73 minutes in.

With a Minnesota native and a Minnesota United player contributing the goals, the match began to feel like Mighty Ducks FiVe: The Revenge of the Flying V. Dotson would once again find the back of the net on a feed from Mihailovic as Jonathan Himelfarb’s team began to tire in the 78th minute.

Yueill then was subbed off for Tanner Tessmann in the 80th.

A final goal was added by Mihailovic in the 90th minute as the USA made some changes, the DR got worn down, and the game came to an end 4-0.

In the end, the scoreline redeemed a flat performance in the first hour or so of the match and the Stars and Stripes can hopefully use that to build up to facing their rivals Mexico in the final group game.