DeJuan Jones is for real! USMNT winners and losers as defender makes his case against Canada with dreamy assist

Jones USMNT 2023Getty

Everyone knew that Sunday's Gold Cup quarter-final would be a different sort of game for the U.S. men's national team. This wasn't a cakewalk against St. Kitts & Nevis or Trinidad & Tobago. It also wasn't an opening game against a very good Jamaica team where both teams took some time to feel out each other and their own new-look teams.

No, Sunday's game against Canada was going to be a battle, a derby. And it certainly was. It was ugly, physical and, at times, mean. This was a rivalry game, no doubt.

In the end, the U.S. stood tall, but only by the slimmest of margins. A 2-2 draw turned into a penalty shootout and then into a USMNT win, with Matt Turner's two saves paving the way for a spot in the Gold Cup semi-finals.

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This was no doubt this young USMNT group's biggest test. Jamaica is likely the better team, but this was the more complete game. The U.S. survived, and only just. They seized the lead and then gave it back. Then Canada seized the lead and gave it back. It was back and forth. In some ways, it was a classic and, in others, it was one many who watched it will be ready to forget. That's the Gold Cup in a nutshell, isn't it?

For the USMNT, the Gold Cup is about performances just as much as it is about a trophy. The program is looking for new stars to step up and, on Sunday, a few did, even if the Man of the Match was Turner, a World Cup veteran.

Next up for the USMNT is Panama, another big test, but, before that, they'll enjoy this one as they got one over on their local rival. GOAL breaks down the winners and losers of Sunday's quarter-final clash: