USMNT vs. Jamaica score: Ricardo Pepi scores twice as USA Soccer gets World Cup qualifying campaign on track

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The United States men's national team found out two things on Thursday night -- their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track and their striker. The Americans beat Jamaica, 2-0, in Austin, Texas in their fourth World Cup qualifier, stringing back-to-back wins together with Ricardo Pepi stealing the show. The victory provisionally lifted the team into first place in the qualifying table. 

Pepi, the 18-year-old star FC Dallas striker linked with a big move to Europe before long, scored twice early in the second half to continue his incredible early stages of his international career. Before last month's World Cup qualifiers, Pepi chose to represent the U.S. over Mexico. 

After two draws to start qualifying, the U.S. won 4-1 at Honduras in their latest match before following it up with a convincing performance Thursday night. With both Jamaica and the U.S. without important players due to injury, it was a fairly even first half, while the second half was all red, white and blue. 

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Pepi twice put himself in a dangerous position, unmarked in the box, finishing from about five yards out both times. The first came 49 minutes in after Yunus Musah fed Sergino Dest down the right, with the Barcelona man finding Pepi's head.

Then in the 62nd minute, it was Brenden Aaronson who recorded the easy assist by playing a wide-open Pepi across the face of goal.

Pepi made history with the brace, becoming the youngest player to score in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers for the USMNT.

Jamaica, without Leon Bailey and Michail Antonio, registered just one shot on goal and somehow finished the match with 11 men. There were a few instances in the first half where a red card could have been awarded, most notably Kemar Lawrence's challenge on Paul Arriola. The play denied the U.S. a goal-scoring opportunity but the Jamaica player was shown just a yellow card as a result.

The victory means the U.S. now just need one more victory this window to eclipse their five-point window from September. The Americans go to Panama on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET in a game you can see on Paramount+.

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USA 2, Jamaica 0 (FT)

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GOAL USA! Pepi again!

It's 2-0 to the U.S.! Pepi scores in front of goal on a lovely ball from Aaronson! Game over?

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October 8, 2021, 12:57 AM
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49' GOAL USA! Pepi!

He heads home from the middle of the box! Just wide open! Musah does well to get the ball out to Dest, and the FC Dallas striker heads home with very little trouble! 

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