The US U-23 men's national team got its qualifying campaign for this summer's Olympics in Tokyo off to a winning start, taking a 1-0 group stage victory over Costa Rica in an entertaining match at Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico on Thursday.
The US nearly found the opener just three minutes after kickoff when Ferreira forced a turnover deep in Costa Rica's end and found himself with an open look on goal, but he couldn't quite convert, putting his shot from a tough angle off the near post.
That set the stage for a wide-open, back-and-forth first half that saw both teams rack up chances at finding an opening goal, with each backline showcasing some nervy moments. It was the US who would find the first-half breakthrough courtesy of Ferreira, who atoned for the early missed opportunity by jumping on a loose ball in the box and slotting home the finish off a low cross from the Colorado Rapids' Sam Vines.
That turned out to be the only goal the US would need on the day, even as the high-octane pace continued into the second half. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa managed to preserve the clean sheet with some timely saves, while Ferreira had perhaps the US' best chance at doubling the lead on a 65th-minute breakaway that wound up getting saved.
- 35' - US - Jesus Ferreira
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
He'll want that early breakaway shot that he put off the post back, but Ferreira couldn't have picked a much better way to make up for it with his first-half tally that wound up standing as the game-winner.
- US: Sunday, March 21 vs. Dominican Republic (7 pm ET | FS1, TUDN)