Sunday night was a good one for Team USA and the Colorado Rapids.
Jonathan Lewis, Sam Vines and Kellyn Acosta all earned the start for the U.S. Men’s National Team and contributed across the scoresheet in the team’s dominant 7-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago. Lewis scored two goals, and Vines and Acosta each added assists in their 244 combined minutes.
Lewis kicked off the scoring, finding the back of the net in the second minute and finishing what would eventually be deemed the game-winning goal. The ‘Colorado Connection’ – as the FS1 broadcast referred to it – was well intact from the opening minutes of the game. Vines started the offensive break that led to Lewis’ eventual goal.
This marked his first goal for the senior team and wouldn’t be his last. That Colorado Connection stayed strong, when Acosta played a beautiful long ball from about midfield, finding Lewis on the left flank. Lewis brought the ball in and fired a nice strike from the top of the box.
“Credit to Jonathan, who I think has had an outstanding camp,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “His development throughout the camp, his improvement throughout the camp, just kept going upwards. I think he put a great effort in, and it was great to see him get the results tonight.”
The match was especially meaningful for Lewis, a Florida native, who had a number of friends and family members in the stands. He described how this allowed him to feel more comfortable and just have fun with the game, something he regularly strives for with Colorado as well.
“[Rapids head coach Robin Fraser] tells me all the time, when I’m in training… when I just play free, when I just enjoy it, and I’m not thinking too much, that’s when he feels like I’m at my best,” Lewis explained. “He texted me after the game, Robin, and he actually said the same thing. And then he said, ‘Looks like you’re not afraid to start.’ And I just laughed.”
Vines was involved on several goals but earned his first official assist for the red, white and blue on the team’s second goal. Lewis found Vines on the end line, and he one-timed it to the penalty spot, where Jesús Ferreira found the back of the net.
“We talk to our fullbacks about being relentless, getting up and down the field, continually attacking, continually defending, and just really stamping their authority on the game, not being passive, not having passive performances,” Berhalter said. “And Sam did just that.”
Acosta was one of five players, including Lewis, who played all 90 minutes, and offered consistent production in the midfield. In addition to his assist on Lewis’ second goal, he also played in a nice free kick that led directly to the team’s fifth goal of the contest.
The match marks the end of January camp for the Rapids players and USMNT. Team USA is expected to name its U-23 squad for Olympic qualification, which Vines and Lewis are both eligible for, in early March.