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Texas native Pepi lifts USMNT over Jamaica in World Cup qualifier

Ricardo Pepi scored two second-half goals, bringing his combined MLS/international total at Q2 Stadium to four.

AUSTIN, Texas — The United States men's national soccer team (USMNT) defeated Jamaica 2-0 in Austin at Q2 Stadium. 

Texas native Ricardo Pepi continued his goal-scoring rout in Q2 Stadium a header in the 49th minute to give the USMNT a 1-0 lead. Austin fans are no stranger to Pepi goals, either. Pepi scored two goals in the 5-3 FC Dallas win over Austin FC in late August.

Pepi followed up with a 62nd-minute goal, his third goal in two caps for the national team. Pepi's second goal of the night gave him a total tally of four scored in Q2 Stadium.

Missing key pieces such as Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna and John Brooks due to injuries, the USMNT took to the pitch with a younger, less-experienced squad, particularly in the back line. It's something head coach Greg Berhalter said pre-match that they'd have to work through. 

"Regarding the center backs, it's a tough one because they are young. They do lack experience, but the only way to get experience is by actually getting on the field, " Berhalter told the media on Wednesday. "It's time to get them some opportunities."

The Oct. 7 match was the first time the U.S. Men’s National Team played a World Cup Qualifier in Texas despite having the third-most USMNT matches for any state. Among the 27 other matches played in Texas thus far, Austin hosted the USMNT in a Gold Cup semifinal match against World Cup host, Qatar, back in July. The U.S. won that game 1-0 with an 86th minute goal from Gyasi Zardes.

Prior to the match, the Austin crowd unveiled a World Cup trophy TIFO. You can get a look at the story behind the TIFO here.

Pepi became the second-youngest USMNT player – behind only Pulisic – to record multiple goals in a game.

The USMNT improves to 19-3-8 all-time against Jamaica and 6-1-6 in World Cup Qualifying. The USA is also 5-0-2 against Jamaica in home World Cup qualifiers. With the win, the USMNT’s unbeaten streak reached 13 games (11-0-2). The next World Cup qualifying match for the USMNT will be on Sunday, Oct. 10 against Panama on the road. 

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