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Jesús Ferreira scores hat trick in United States’ dominant win over St. Kitts and Nevis in CONCACAF Gold Cup

Jesús Ferreira scored his second international hat trick, Djordje Mihailovic had two goals and the 13th-ranked United States overwhelmed No. 139 St. Kitts and Nevis 6-0 on Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Mihailovic, Bryan Reynolds and Ferreira scored in a 3:50 span to build a 3-0 lead by the 16th minute. The U.S. outshot St. Kitts 34-2.

“We know that we had to come out here and gain points, gain goals, and I think the team went out there and took care of business,” Ferreira said.

Jesús Ferreira celebrates after scoring

United States Jesus Ferreira celebrates after scoring during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against St. Kitts & Nevis Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Ferreira has 11 goals in 20 appearances and became the fastest American to double-digit goals, accomplishing the feat in three games fewer than Clint Mathis. Seven of Ferreira’s goals have been against St. Kitts and then-No. 170 Grenada.

Ferreira became the fifth American with multiple hat tricks behind Landon Donovan with three, and Peter Millar, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey with two each. Ferreira was the only American starter who played at last year’s World Cup, appearing in the first half of the second-round loss to the Netherlands.

Mihailovic also had two assists for the defending champion Americans, who matched their largest Gold Cup victory margin, also 6-0 against Cuba in 2015 and Trinidad in 2019.

The U.S., which needed a late goal for a 1-1 opening draw against Jamaica, leads Group A with four points. Trinidad and Tobago has three, Jamaica one and St. Kitts none. The top two teams advance and the U.S. needs merely a draw against Trinidad on Sunday at Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Tonight was one more step forward for us,” U.S. interim coach B.J. Callaghan said.

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Bryan Reynolds celebrates

United States Bryan Reynolds, right, celebrates after scoring as teammate Jesus Ferreira (9) watches during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against St. Kitts & Nevis Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in St. Louis.  (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

St. Kitts, which became the U.S.’s 100th international opponent. dropped to 0-2 as the U.S. improved to 39 wins, one loss and five draws in the Gold Cup group stage.

Making his first start since June 2019, Mihailovic put the U.S. ahead in the 12th minute before a crowd of 21,216 with a left foot shot from the side of the penalty spot after a cut-back pass from Gianluca Busio.

Reynolds, playing on his 22nd birthday, beat Julani Archibald with a 20-yard volley in the 14th after Alejandro Zendejas’ corner kick bounced twice across the penalty area. He became the first American to score an international goal on his birthday since Earnie Stewart against Honduras in 2001.

Ferreira dribbled into the penalty area following a Busio pass, scoring on a 12-yard angled shot in the 16th to give the U.S. three competitive goals in the shortest span in team history. Ferreira then got past an offside trap to score between the goalkeeper’s legs from a Mihailovic feed in the 25th.

Ferreira added his third from short range in the 50th and Mihailovic added his third international goal in the 79th.

Jesús Ferreira is congratulated by Djordje Mihailovic

United States Jesus Ferreira, right, is congratulated by teammate Djordje Mihailovic (14) after scoring during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against St. Kitts & Nevis Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in St. Louis.  (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Callaghan inserted seven new starters from last weekend’s opener, adding goalkeeper Sean Johnson, Reynolds at right back, central defender Jalen Neal and left back DeJuan Jones along with Busio and Mihailovic in midfield and forward Cale Cowell. The holdovers were defender Matt Miazga and midfielder James Sands along with Ferreira and Alex Zendejas up front.

Johnson captained the U.S. for the first time.

In the first game, No. 63 Jamaica beat 104th-ranked Trinidad and Tobago 4-1. Demarai Gray, playing on his 26th birthday, scored in the 14th and 30th minutes for his first two international goals. Leon Bailey scored in the 18th and Dujuan Richards got a goal in the second minute of second-half stoppage time. Andre Rampersad scored for the Soca Warriors in the 49th.

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