New York City FC captain James Sands and the United States Men's National Team are moving on in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Both the national team and Jamaica ended with seven points, but the USMNT topped Group A on Sunday based on goal differential. The players will now move on after they tied Jamaica, 1-1, beat Saint Kitts and Nevis by a 6-0 score line, and finished out the group round with another 6-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago.
Meanwhile, Sands started every single match for the USMNT as the defensive midfielder. The NYCFC favorite was substituted out in the second game of the group round, but played every single minute in the opener and third fixture. This was despite a good amount of rotation.
NYCFC captain James Sands performed well for the USMNT
It is not surprising though, for Sands is one of the top defensive midfielders from Major League Soccer, and this roster is composed of predominantly MLS players. In addition, his performances on the pitch during the Gold Cup proved why he continued to start.
His accurate passing percentage was always amongst the highest of the USMNT, for it was over 86% in all three games. His best percentage was against Trinidad and Tobago; his accuracy stood at about 92%.
Against Jamaica, Sands brought his NYCFC attitude to the duels. He led the USMNT with 16, but then won an incredible 84.6% against Jamaica players. In the same match, he led his teammates with four tackles.
It was not just the statistics, but the eye test alone showed that Sands deserved to start every single match. His IQ on the pitch and awareness of his fellow players allowed him to assist with moving the ball into the attack. Moreover, his ability to intervene the passes by opponents aided in the regaining of possession. This is something that he does extremely well with NYCFC, so it makes sense he continued to present this skill in the group round of the Gold Cup.
Next, Sands and the USMNT will play this upcoming weekend in the quarterfinals. The team is chasing to become repeat champions, and they currently have put themselves in a good position after a fantastic group round. Sure, New York City FC and the other MLS teams miss their players, but hopefully another Gold Cup trophy will be raised.