The United States have found a new goalscoring star as Ricardo Pepi's brace inspired a 2-0 win over Jamaica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
USA teenager Pepi now has three goals in two international appearances after the 18-year-old scored on his debut against Honduras last month on the road to Qatar 2022.
Playing before a home-state crowd in Austin, Texas on Thursday, the El Paso native and Dallas star cemented his newfound status as the central figure in USA's attack in the absence of Christian Pulisic.
After the United States failed to score in the first half for the seventh successive game, Pepi found the net in the 49th minute with a header from seven yards out off a cross from Sergino Dest.
In SloMo? Field Level?— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) October 8, 2021
You know that's right. pic.twitter.com/LeJF6cm0Ai
In-demand teenage sensation Pepi followed that up in the 62nd minute by putting home a cross from Brenden Aaronson with his right foot, Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake having no chance to make the save as the former came clean through the middle of the defence.
Pepi's heroics shifted the spotlight away from referee Reon Radix, who drew the ire of the home side by failing to show red cards when Jamaica players hauled down USA attackers who appeared to have a clear path to goal in the first and 33rd minutes.
USA ultimately did not need help after dominating throughout the game, with 61 per cent of possession and seven shots on goal to Jamaica's one.
After a second successive win following two road draws to open the final round of qualifying, USA – a point clear of Mexico before their clash with Canada – next travel to Panama on Sunday, while Jamaica host Canada the same day.