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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. American Record for Walsh at U.S. Swim Nationals!
2. Simone Biles returns to competition at U.S. Classic
3. Brisbane 2032 strategy: sponsors and sports participation
4. Atos and EBU offer new promotion tools at European Games
5. Encouraging WADA report on NADO/IF performance
Veteran stars Michael Andrew, Lilly King and Ryan Murphy all scored wins at the USA Swimming National Championships in Indianapolis, Murphy with a world-leading performance in the men’s 200 m Backstroke. But it was young swimmers like 20-year-old Gretchen Walsh who starred, with an American Record win in the women’s 50 m Butterfly, 16-year-old Claire Weinstein upsetting Katie Ledecky in the women’s 200 m Free and Regan Smith, who won the women’s 200 m Backstroke with the no. 5 performance in history. USA Gymnastics announced an all-star line-up for the U.S. Classic, with the great Simone Biles coming back to competition. At the first meeting of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane, Australia, the organizing committee spoke of developing its branding and sponsorship strategy an the IOC is hopeful to be able to use the nine-year ramp-up to find new ways to optimize the presentation of the Games more efficiently while also increasing participation in sports, especially among young people. At the European Games, a new project of the Atos Major Events team and the European Broadcasting Union provides athletes, national federations and National Olympic Committees with video clips that can be used on social media, even with the EBU owning the exclusive TV rights! The World Anti-Doping Agency published its 2022 compliance report, noting that of 111 national anti-doping agencies and International Federations involved, more than 92% were compliant on testing, investigations and results management.
● Panorama: Los Angeles 2028 (2: Oakley signs with USOPC and LA28; horrible report on cricket in England and Wales) = Special Olympics World Games (14 go missing in Berlin) = Athletics (Road Running champs shortened to one day) = Fencing (USA Fencing defends allowing a handful of Russian and Belarusians to compete at Nationals) = Figure Skating (ISU Grand Prix assignments include no Russians) = Football (U.S. men sail past St. Kitts & Nevis in CONCACAF Gold Cup) ●
American Record for Walsh at U.S. Swim Nationals!
Sure, there were wins by evergreen champions Lilly King and Ryan Murphy on day two of the USA Swimming National Championships in Indianapolis, but the kid’s table is where the party was.
In the women’s 50 m Butterfly, defending national champion Gretchen Walsh – more of a Freestyle star at Virginia – led all qualifiers at 25.54, but was slow off the block in the final. No matter, when she came up, she was in front and just could not be caught. American Record holder Torri Huske, the 2022 Worlds Short-Course gold medalist in this event, was pressing hard, and was getting closer, but Walsh’s last two strokes got her to the wall in 25.11, an American Record!
Walsh, 20, said afterwards, “I didn’t see that coming at all.” She’s now no. 2 in the world this season behind Swedish star Sarah Sjostrom and now equal-third all-time!
It was Huske’s 25.38 from 2022 that was erased; she was second in 25.33, under her old record, now equal-13th all-time, and no. 4 on the year list.
The biggest shock was in the first race of the evening, in the women’s 200 m Freestyle.
Superstar (and 24-time national champion) Katie Ledecky led the qualifying easily at 1:55.49, but the final was another story. The 24-time national champion went out smoothly, but trailed at the turn to 18-year-old Bella Sims, a Worlds relay gold medalist in 2022. Sims was still in front at 100 m, with Ledecky second (+0.22), but then Ledecky surged in front, leading 16-year-old Claire Weinstein by 0.28 and that was it, right?
Nope. Weinstein kept coming and drew even only in the final 5 m and then extended a left hand to touch first with a lifetime best of 1:55.26 – no. 6 on the 2023 world list – with Ledecky just 0.02 behind. Sims grabbed third at 1:56.08, now no. 13 for 2023.
Then there was the 2019 women’s 200 m Backstroke World Champion, Regan Smith, 21, who hadn’t broken 2:04 since that year and determined to get there again. And she left nothing on the table, sprinting to the lead in the 200 m Back final and storming to a 0.58-second lead after 50, 1.15 after 100 and 1.84 at the 150 mark.
Her American Record was in reach, but not quite as she touched in 2:03.80, no. 2 in the world for 2023 and the no. 5 performance in history! Smith said afterwards she was targeting a 2:03 finish: “I know I’m that swimmer again.”
Behind her were 2022 Nationals runner-up Rhyan White (2:05.77), World Short-Course silver medalist Claire Curzan (2:06.35), Kennedy Noble (2:06.54) and Phoebe Bacon (2:06.59), times which rank 3-4-5-6 on the 2023 world list. Wow!
The U.S. had no one in the world top 10 when the men’s 200 m Free prelims started Wednesday morning, but then 19-year-old Luke Hobson – the 200-yard and 500-yard NCAA champ for Texas – scored a big lifetime best and moved to no. 6 in 2023 at 1:45.12! Could he duplicate that in the final?
Actually not, but he won anyway. Kieran Smith, the Tokyo Olympic bronze winner at 400 m, was the top American coming into the meet and was in front at 50 m, 100 m and 150 m, taking the final turn with a 0.20 lead on Drew Kibler and 0.40 on Hobson. But with 20 m left, Hobson had closed the gap and pushed in front to win in 1:45.18, with Smith at 1:45.63 (now equal-8th in 2023) and Kibler at 1:45.75.
Hobson and Smith replicated their 1-2 finish from the 2022 Nationals, but almost a full second faster.
The men’s 200 m Breast final looked good for defending national champion Matt Fallon, 21, who led the qualifying at 2:08.19, moving to no. 6 in the world for 2023. In the final, Fallon was way off the pace: seventh at 50 m and sixth at 100 m … but first at 150 m! He was not to be denied and finished with a lifetime best of 2:07.71, still no. 6 in 2023, but now no. 6 all-time U.S.
The 2019 World Junior Champion, Josh Matheny, was close to the front the whole way, and second at 150 m, coming home second in 2:08.32 (no. 8 in 2023), with Jake Foster third in 2:09.10.
Veterans had their moments, too.
In the women’s 200 m Breaststroke final, World Champion King, 26, clearly the second choice behind Kate Douglass, the 100 m Free winner on Tuesday, the World Short-Course champ in this event, and the easy leader in the prelims, 2:23.87 to 2:25.81 for King.
That wasn’t King’s plan, however. She went out hard and had an 0.94-second margin at the first turn and kept going. But the lead was 0.66 at the second turn and 0.43 at the 150 m mark. And Douglass was closing with every stroke on the way home, drawing almost even with 10 m left. But King pushed and got to the wall first in 2:20.95, the no. 2 time in 2023, with Douglass in 2:21.82, a lifetime best, no. 3 in 2023 and now no. 7 on the all-time U.S. list.
It was King’s second-fastest 200 m Breast time ever. Third was Annie Lazor, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, in 2:25.86.
Now 27, Murphy is still the man to beat in the 200 m Back. The reigning World Champion, he led the qualifying, but found himself trailing the 2022 National Champion Jack Aikins by 0.17 at the 100 m mark, but used a perfect underwater on the third lap to get in front and lead Aikins by 0.17 going into the final 50 m. He could not be caught, but Aikins was passed by NCAA 200-yard Back champ Destin Lasco of Cal in the final 10 m, with both pressing Murphy.
But Murphy had plenty left and touched in a world-leading 1:55.03, to make his fifth U.S. Worlds team. Lasco got a lifetime best of 1:55.63, now no. 3 in 2023 and Aikins and Daniel Diehl tied for third at 1:56.04, now no. 6 this year.
Although Caeleb Dressel made the final of the men’s 50 m Butterfly as the seventh-fastest qualifier (23.79), the favorite was Michael Andrew, 24, no. 2 on the year list at 22.85. But it was Dare Rose of Cal who led the qualifiers at 23.16.
In the final, Andrew was out well, took control by 15 m and methodically pushed to the wall to win in 23.11, far off his seasonal best, but a victory nonetheless. Rose was close throughout and got second (23.20); Dressel made a late charge and got up for third in an encouraging 23.35.
Day three on Thursday will include the 400 m Medleys, 100 m Butterfly and the 50 m Breaststroke and 50 m Backstroke events. Live coverage of the finals is only available on the Peacock subscription service.
Simone Biles returns to competition at U.S. Classic
The greatest female gymnast in history, American Simone Biles, has been on hiatus since her difficulties at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, but appears ready for her comeback to the sport.
Biles is entered in the U.S. Classic, a traditional warm-up meet for the national championships, scheduled for Saturday, 5 August in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, north of Chicago, from 7-9 p.m. local time.
She will be part of a talented field that includes Tokyo Olympic All-Around champ Sunisa Lee, Tokyo Olympic Floor gold medalist Jade Carey and members of the victorious Worlds women’s Team from 2022, including Skye Blakely, Jordan Chiles, Leanne Wong and alternate Lexi Zeiss.
Wong and Kayla DiCello were the silver and bronze medalists at the 2021 Worlds All-Around.
Despite her spatial awareness challenges in Tokyo, Biles – now 26 – won a silver with the women’s team and an individual bronze on Beam to give her seven career Olympic medals (4-1-2) and she has taken a break in competition before.
She stormed through the 2013 Worlds (2-1-1), 2014 Worlds (4-1-0), 2015 Worlds (4-0-1) and 2016 Olympic Games (4-0-1) before taking 2017 off, then returning for the 2018 Worlds (4-1-1) and 2019 Worlds (5-0-0) before Tokyo in 2021.
The big winner from Wednesday’s announcement is undoubtedly NBC, which had the meet on CNBC and Peacock last year, but will be much more interested in showing it live and over-the-air with Biles in the line-up.
Brisbane 2032 strategy: sponsors and sports participation
“We have learned how people want Brisbane and Queensland to be presented to the world. That’s very important; we have a wonderful part of the world, but not as well known as maybe it needs to be, and this opportunity to showcase our part of the world, our lifestyle, our climate, our high standards of living; I’ve said in previous press conference, making Brisbane and Queensland known as a lifestyle superpower.
“We’re excited to share our way of life with the Olympic and Paralympic Movement and the world, and we will be ready when it matters most.”
That’s Andrew Liveris, President of the Brisbane 2032 board of directors, speaking to reporters at the opening of the first IOC Coordination Commission meeting for the 2032 Olympic Games, in Lausanne.
He, Brisbane 2032 chief executive Cindy Hook (USA), Coordination Commission head Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) and IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi (SUI) shared the planning efforts to date. Asked what the IOC expects from the Brisbane organizers at this early stage, Coventry explained:
“Right now we are spending a little more time on all the technical sides. In the last three days, we have been meeting with the different directors, from technology, our communications, what the IOC can help with, how we can deliver these essential fundamentals of an [Olympic organizing committee] together at an early stage … Let’s try to do these things once, so that further down the line, we don’t have to repeat it. We might need to upgrade it, and again, re-look at it.
“When it comes to some of our timelines, this is where again the Games Optimization Working Group is looking at. It’s one of the fundamentals we are looking at: adaptability, flexibility. Nine years to go is a longer time period that we’re used to, but it’s also an opportunity for us to look at all those different timelines to see if it’s going to work, how it’s going to work, do we still need o wait to the end of L.A.  to make certain decisions. Can we make some earlier decisions; what does that look like, does it open up [options]?
“So I think that’s where I’m quite excited about the next few years, the early stages, because chairing the Games Optimization [Committee] and chairing Brisbane [Coordination Commission], really working closely together, along with the OCOGs … as to what fundamental timelines as the IOC do we need to look at in order for Brisbane to be as successful as they can be in these next nine coming years and what does that look like.”
Dubi was focused on one of the IOC’s cherished goals, of improving health and physical fitness:
“The dream here is the following … what if we have a pre-legacy, and we give ourselves a chance to work on what really matters: sports participation, especially for youth.
“We have many other things to do, but we should aim, when we have such a long runway, of doing two things. One, be very patient and not rush into technicalities that will unfold at a later stage, because … many things will happen between now and then, including [artificial intelligence], and the influence of AI on sport, development of digital and others. Let’s take time on this, this is the job of the Optimization group … but at the same time, anything we can do, practically on the ground, to see participation rising, there would be a tremendous objective to share.”
Hook explained about the continuing work on the promotional campaign for the Games:
“I don’t think it will surprise anyone in Brisbane to know that Brisbane is not particularly well known globally; it doesn’t have a brand. And even within Australia, its brand is not distinct from the country itself, and that creates a tremendous opportunity, because we have a bit of a blank sheet of paper and a lot of white space. That also means that we have to create a really compelling brand narrative, and build that narrative, which will take a little bit more time to do. …
“The commercial target has been set at $1.7 billion U.S., and that includes everything from ticket sales to commercial sponsorships to merchandising; there’s a whole lot of pieces in that. It should be known that our commercial rights don’t start until 2027, so we do have some time build the commercial strategy.”
Liveris – the former Chair of Dow Chemical – added, “If there’s a way we can optimize Games delivery, we’re going to find it. … We don’t want scope changes that add cost. We want it the other way.
“Australia is a small commercial market by global standards. So that means we have to find innovative ways to bring sponsors to the table, which is consistent with the Premier’s strategy of ‘Invest Queensland.’ So we are bolting up to their offices to help attract companies to the country, to the state, that will indeed be potential sponsors for us.
“And if you think about the drivers of on-shoring and supply chains that are going on in the world, and notably for Australian defense and space industry, there are opportunities to bring big globals to Australia, and to Queensland, and to, of course, bolt the Rings up and the brand to that.”
He was also asked about the continuing controversy over the renovation for the Brisbane Cricket Ground (The Gabba), and observed:
“If you go to Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, [they have] world-class stadiums. We need a world-class stadium for Brisbane, independent of the Olympics, and the [Australian Football League] and cricket are driving that process. We will be a beneficiary of it, and it will be ready for Games. That’s actually the Queensland State Government’s plan and we’re absolutely supportive.”
Atos and EBU offer new promotion tools at European Games
The III European Games is continuing in Poland, and will wind up on Sunday, but not before leaving a digital legacy of new tools for athletes and National Olympic Committees to promote themselves … and the event.
Reporters were briefed Tuesday on the joint effort by Games technology partner Atos – which also produces the results system for the Olympic Games – and the European Broadcasting Union of public broadcast companies to offer new digital products:
● Personalized video clips
● Virtual medals and diplomas
● A European Games immersive Web site
The video clip service is the most intriguing new option, providing clips of 10-20 seconds that are selected and edited by EBU and Atos, then meta-tagged with the athlete’s identification (by accreditation badge number), sport and National Olympic Committee and then distributed to the athlete, national federation and/or NOC via the European Games app created for this purpose (and others). Somewhat longer clips are available to federations or NOCs as summaries of a specific sports session.
What the athlete, federation or NOC do with it them is up to them, but this free service gives athletes – especially – ready-made content for their own social mediums, free of charge and ready to go.
The breadth is pretty impressive: 850-plus clips are distributed daily, which have been cumulatively used more than 2,000 times by athletes, federations and NOCs, with the app have been downloaded more than 9,500 times. That’s for an event with 6,857 athletes from 48 countries.
There are limits. The clips may not be sponsored or otherwise directly monetized. Asked about the clash between the exclusive broadcast rights purchase by the EBU for its members and this free distribution outside of their channels, Eurovision Sport Executive Director Glen Killane (IRL) explained:
“I think the higher the rights fee, the more protective members tend to be. And I think that’s something that we need to be mindful of.
“We know that we are on the journey here and we have to build this up and we have to grow it and we have to kind of, create a narrative that is very coherent as well around what actually the European Games is. I think the [European Olympic Committees] has done a tremendous job in bringing, you know, all the sports together. ….
“I think giving up clips, is essential to promote it. Promotion is essential. Communication is essential. Discoverability is essential to grow it. So I think if you’re talking about something like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games, it might be a different conversation with members.
“But I think members are very happy to play a role here. And hopefully we can grow it together and I think that’s the vision that EOC have and that’s the vision we have for we want to grow this and make it make it into something to bring more audiences. to get more audiences excited.”
Nacho Moros, the Chief Operations Officer for Atos Major Events, noted that the digital medals and diplomas sent to athletes after their competitions are protected in a blockchained register, and if an athlete were to be disqualified for doping or a rules violations, Atos would be able to delete the digital awards and re-shuffle the awards as needed.
About halfway through the Games, the clips had been seen by an estimated 3.2 million viewers.
Hasan Arat (TUR), the EOC Coordination Commission Chair for the European Games, praised the Polish organizers for their performance: “I have to [tell] you very honestly they organized everything. Perfect. Perfect. From the security from the roads, from the transportation, the village. …
“I want to congratulate them from the bottom of my heart what they have done. It is totally Olympic standard. The only need we have, maybe, we need to start partying little bit earlier.”
Encouraging WADA report on NADO/IF performance
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2022 Compliance Annual Report was published on Tuesday, summarizing the state of compliance with WADA’s regulations and from the agency’s audits of National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) and International Federations.
In general, the compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code by both NADOs and IFs was good:
● 96% compliant for Results Management
● 93% compliant for Therapeutic Use Exemptions
● 92% compliant for Testing and Investigations
● 86% compliant for Privacy
● 78% compliant for General administration
● 71% compliant for Education
The education number is apparently low due to new educational requirements which are not yet fully implemented worldwide. The high compliance percentages for testing and results management are encouraging. Compared to the same report for 2017, “non-conformities” among the 111 NADOs and IFs combined were down 22%, from 2,598 to 2,022.
Then there is Russia:
“As per the [Court of Arbitration for Sport] decision, RUSADA remained non-compliant throughout 2022 and WADA was responsible for monitoring the consequences contained in the CAS decision. At the end of 2022, the two-year period of consequences detailed in the CAS decision came to end. However, RUSADA remains non-compliant.
“The process for RUSADA’s reinstatement will occur in a phased approach. The first phase will be an assessment by WADA management of whether the reinstatement conditions have been met or not. Once WADA’s management determines that in its opinion the reinstatement conditions have been met, the [Compliance Review Committee] will conduct its own assessment. If the CRC agrees with WADA’s management view that the conditions have been met it will make a recommendation for reinstatement to the WADA Executive Committee.”
That hasn’t happened yet.
On Wednesday, WADA shared news of a major drug bust in eastern Europe:
“A joint-operation between law enforcement agencies in Europe and the Polish Anti-Doping Agency (POLADA) has successfully removed performance-enhancing substances from circulation and broken up an extensive criminal network that was running drugs throughout Eastern Europe.
“The coordinated police raids, which also included assistance from Europol and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), uncovered 10 warehouses at locations in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic containing underground laboratories that were illegally producing dietary supplements and counterfeit drugs. In the course of the raids, 550,000 packages of illegal substances were seized, including anabolic and androgenic steroids prohibited in sport, several hundred packages of new psychoactive substances, a quantity of cash and about one ton of various types of raw materials and components used in the illegal production.
“Police arrested 19 people in connection with the illegal operation and while the total value of the haul has not yet been calculated, EUR 3.5 million (USD 3.8 million) worth of other property belonging to the suspects was also seized.”
The International Testing Agency shared statistics for 2022 as well, showing more than 37,000 samples collected from more than 13,400 athletes from more than 180 countries.
Of these, about 19,700 (53%) were collected out of competition and 17,300 in-competition. The results:
● “Of the 556 potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs), 185 resulted in a sanction, while 196 others are still under review.”
● “In addition, 992 Whereabouts Failures (i.e., athletes not fulfilling their obligation to provide timely or accurate whereabouts information for testing) were reviewed, 481 were recorded, 154 were referred to the respective National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) for results management and 48 are still pending – 309 were not recorded after review.”
There were 527 Therapeutic Use Exemption applications during 2022, of which 333 were approved, 12 were denied, 63 are pending and 119 were closed.
The ITA is now the world’s largest operator of anti-doping programs in sport.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2028: Los Angeles ● Oakley signed on as the Official Eyewear of the 2028 Olympic Games and as the Official Eyewear of Team USA for the Paris 2024 Games, and continuing on to 2028.
Two new sunglass styles are being introduced as the Team USA x Oakley line: Team USA Encoder Strike Vented, with Prizm Road Lenses and Team USA Heliostat with Prizm Black Lenses, both of which are now available.
Cricket is one of the sports lobbying the LA28 organizing committee to be an added sport in 2028 and is a likely addition for the Brisbane 2032 organizers. But a new report paints the sport in a bad light, in England – where the sport was invented – and Wales.
The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket was created in March 2021 by the England and Wales Cricket Board, and its now-released, 317-page report, Holding Up a Mirror to Cricket, found:
“Racism is entrenched in cricket. The game’s structures lead to racial disparities and
discrimination, and the ICEC heard many examples of stereotyping, exclusion and racist behaviour.”
The report also details little attention to addressing class barriers in the sport and that women “are marginalised and routinely experience sexism and misogyny.”
ICEC Chair Cindy Butts wrote in her introduction:
“We had unprecedented access to cricket which provided us with a unique opportunity to hold a mirror up to the game. Our findings are unequivocal. Racism, class-based discrimination, elitism and sexism are widespread and deep rooted. The game must face up to the fact that it’s not banter or just a few bad apples. Discrimination is both overt and baked into the structures and processes within cricket.
“The stark reality is cricket is not a game for everyone. …
“87% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi respondents, 82% of Indian respondents and 75% of Black respondents to our survey told us they have experienced discrimination, which is simply unacceptable.”
The report makes 44 recommendations for reform, starting with apologies, but going on to include:
“The entire talent pathway structure should be overhauled to make it more meritocratic, inclusive, accountable and free of direct costs by 2025.”
A new regulatory body is also suggested; the England and Wales Cricket Board is expected to file a formal reply within 90 days.
● Special Olympics World Games ● “Berlin authorities say that 14 members of delegations to the Special Olympics Summer Games, which drew to a close this week, have disappeared.”
This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence at Special Olympics World Games, especially those held in Western cities. According to reports, the delegates are caregivers or relatives of World Games athletes, who would prefer to stay in Germany than go home.
Those missing include eight members of the Cote d’Ivoire team and individuals from Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Guinea, Lebanon, and Senegal.
● Athletics ● The inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga (LAT) has been cut from two days to one, on Sunday, 1 October.
The original plan was for races on Saturday and Sunday, but now the road 5 km, mile and Half Marathon events will be run all on Sunday. Mass races for children will be held on Saturday.
Said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe (GBR): “As preparations for the World Road Running Championships have evolved, it has become apparent that the event will work better as a single-day event in Riga, both for local organisers and for broadcast.”
● Fencing ● USA Fencing is defending its previously-announced policy of allowing Russian and Belarusian passport holders living in the U.S. to compete at the Summer National Championships in Phoenix, Arizona that begin on Friday. The requirements:
“As long as they have denounced the actions of Russia and Belarus and display no physical manifestation of Russian or Belorussian affiliation within the venue, these individuals are permitted to return to USA Fencing competitions, per the decision of the USA Fencing Board of Directors on April 16, 2023.
“In the case of our 2023 Summer Nationals tournament in Phoenix, Russian and Belorussian fencers are permitted to compete in non-championship events (such as Division I) only if they have met our Board-mandated requirements. As of June 28, three fencers have completed those requirements.”
The Summer Nationals run from 30 June to 9 July.
● Figure Skating ● The International Skating Union announces its assignments for the 2023 Grand Prix beginning 20-22 October with Skate America and continuing for five more events in Canada, France, China, Finland and Japan through the end of November.
No Russian entrants were allowed; the ISU said that it is studying Russian and Belarusian re-entry, but has maintained its current ban. According to the ISU:
“In total, 41 Men, 36 Women, 25 Pairs and 34 Ice Dance couples representing 25 ISU Members have been currently invited, leaving a few more open spots to be announced. The maximum number of entries for each event is 12 Ladies, 12 Men, 8 Pairs and 10 Ice Dance couples.”
There is significant prize money of $180,000 per event, awarded to places 1-5: $18,000-$13,000-$9,000-3,000-2,000.
● Football ● The U.S. men’s National Team continued Group A play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with its first-ever meeting with St. Kitts and Nevis in St. Louis, and a 6-0 win.
The game started with the U.S. in possession, but seemingly without a plan of attack, but that all changed with three scores in just 3:50. First, a seeing-eye cross by midfielder Gianluca Busio into the box whipped past striker Jesus Ferreira and right to midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, who slammed the ball into the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Just two minutes later, defender Bryan Reynolds – on his 22nd birthday – sent a perfect, right-foot liner from outside the box through two defenders and past keeper Julani Archibald to make it 2-0. And in the 16th, it was a Busio lead pass that found Ferreira on the right side and he sent a hard and low shot from the right side for a 3-0 lead.
There was one more score, again for Ferreira, who was served a through ball by Mihailovic and then sent a shot between Archibald’s legs in the 25th for a 4-0 lead. The half ended that way, with the U.S. having 68% of possession and a 17-1 edge in shots.
Ferreira got a hat trick in the 50th minute off another Mihailovic assist (5-0), and then Mihailovic got his second in the 79th for the 6-0 final. The U.S. had 66% of possession and shots were 34-2.
In the other Group A game, Jamaica handled Trinidad & Tobago, 4-1, so the U.S. and Jamaica are both 1-0-1, but with the U.S. holding a lead on a goal differential of six vs. three.
The U.S.’s last game in group play is against Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday (2 July) in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!