Djordje Mihailovic was just the spark the USMNT needed, dishing two assists and scoring one goal in a 4-0 victory over the Dominican Republic in Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Sunday night.
After a first hour that saw a tentative United States struggle to break down the Dominican Republic’s defensive block, Jackson Yueill put the Yanks on the board with the opening goal of the match in the 61st minute. Mihailovic, the Chicago Fire Homegrown from Lemont, Ill., who was traded to CF Montreal in the off season, came on in the 62nd minute, just after the first goal.
Mihailovic made a big impact in his 30 minutes, assisting goals by Hassani Dotson in the 73rd and 78th minutes, before scoring one himself off a Benji Michel cross in the 90th minute.
U.S. coach Jason Kreis said the contrast between the two halves was huge.
“Our guys were just a little bit too cautious about the affair,” Kreis said. “I think our guys were more concerned about the transition than they were about attacking moments. Those two things add up to not a great performance in the first half, but what we saw in the second half was much improved, and we’re pleased to walk out with another three points.”
Fire defender Mauricio Pineda, who played all 90 minutes in the team’s opening win over Costa Rica, was an unused substitute in the victory over the Dominican Republic.
The win puts the U.S. on six points in Group A, guaranteeing a spot in the tournament semifinal. First, though, they’ll face Mexico in the last match of the group stage (8:30 p.m. CT, FS1 & TUDN). Both teams are on six points, and already guaranteed a spot in the semifinal, but Kreis isn’t looking past El Tri.
“We will want to beat Mexico. We will want to win this group,” Kreis said.
USA: 1-JT Marcinkowski, 2-Julian Araujo, 3-Henry Kessler, 4-Justen Glad, 13-Sam Vines; 16-Johnny Cardoso (18-Hassani Dotson, 62), 6-Jackson Yueill (capt.) (11-Tanner Tessmann, 80), 15-Andrés Perea, 10-Sebastian Saucedo (8-Djordje Mihailovic, 62), 7-Jonathan Lewis (14-Benji Michel, 69), 9-Jesús Ferreira (19-Sebastian Soto, 46)
Substitutes not used: 20-David Ochoa, 12-Matt Freese, 17-Aaron Herrera, 5-Mauricio Pineda
Head coach: Jason Kreis
DOM: 1-Johan Guzman (capt), 3-Jose de la Cruz, 4-Brian Lopez, 5-Alejandro Jimenez, 7-Edarlyn Reyes (14- Juan Pineda, 80), 8- Gerard Lavergne (6- Fabián Messina, 84), 10-Edison Azcona, 11-Nowend Lorenzo (9- Erick Paniagua, 69), 15-Jose de la Cruz, 16-Josue Baez, 19-Rafael Mata (17-Darny Romero, 55)
Substitutes not used: 12-Alessandro Baroni, 20-Danilo Campana, 2-Joao Urbaez, 13-Kelvin Martinez, 18-Sebastian Mañon,
Head coach: Jonathan Himelfarb