Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

USMNT defeats Nicaragua, 3-0, wins Group B in Gold Cup 2017

USMNT defeats Nicaragua, 3-0, wins Group B in Gold Cup 2017

With Panama defeating Martinique in the first game of the day, the United States men's national team needed a win of three goals of more in its match against Nicaragua to clinch the top spot in Group B of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

With Panama's 3-0 victory over Martinique earlier in the day, Team USA knew coming into the showdown with Nicaragua it needed to win by at least three goals to claim the top spot in Group B. The pressure was lessened since the US had already secured a spot in the knockout phase.

The U.S. has won its group in 13 of 14 Gold Cups, finishing second to Panama in 2011.

Coach Bruce Arena had planned all along to use nearly everyone on the 23-man roster in the group stage, and in the last match, he swapped out every starter from Wednesday's anxious performance against Martinique.

The USMNT will play in Philadelphia on July 19 vs. the third-place team from either Group A or Group C. They will know their opponent after the conclusion of Group C play on Sunday.

The Americans applied early pressure but didn't sustain rhythm, struggled to connect passes and let the tempo drop.

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With the half winding down, Joe Corona shattered the deadlock. The USMNT had a chance to double the lead from the penalty spot in the 51st but Dom Dwyer saw his attempt saved.

Corona's goal came nearly four years to the day from his last one for the national team - also in the Gold Cup, on July 21, 2013 - in a 5-1 win over El Salvador.

The U.S. quickly atoned for the penalty miss when Kelyn Rowe scored his first global goal, in the 56th minute, from a lovely shot with the outside of his right foot, that took a deflection and slipped inside the near post for a 2-0 lead. The New England Revolution midfielder made no mistake, beating Lorente to the near post.

Dwyer was dragged down by Marlon Lopez for the first spot-kick, but the forward's penalty was too narrow and at a good height for Lorente. Seattle Sounders star Jordan Morris scored two goals, including the game victor in the 76th minute. The USMNT got another opportunity with Graham Zusi taking a free kick from just outside of the box.

Nicaragua's Luis Copete was sent off in the 85th minute to leave his side shorthanded in the waning minutes.

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