GC Daily: Jaedyn Shawesome

All the latest news, thoughts, poems, analysis and quotes from the W Gold Cup.

GC Daily: Jaedyn Shawesome
Jaedyn Shaw celebrates scoring her first international brace | Courtesy of Concacaf

Note: Welcome to Gold Cup Daily. A quick snapshot of the tournament's action from the day before (beginning), some extra words on the day's main talking point (middle), and key details of the next matches (at the end).

Friday's Group A results:
Mexico 8-0 Dominican Republic
USA 4-0 Argentina

The Snapshot

My 18-month-old son is a loose cannon. He's highly unpredictable.

One day, he loves tortellini. The next, he won't touch the stuff. Sometimes he wants only me to hold him. Other times, just his mother. Get anything wrong and it can result in a quite unhinged display of rage. Get it right, you will feel loved and appreciated.

I empathize with Mexico head coach Pedro Lopez when he talks about his experiences at the W Gold Cup so far because it sounds similar to my life as a first-time parent.

"Mexico is a country of strong emotions, you go from heaven to hell in two days," he said with a smile, following El Tri's 8-0 thrashing of the Dominican Republic on Friday night.

After opening the tournament with a drab 0-0 against Argentina, the passionate fanbase, the Mexican media, this intrepid reporter, and perhaps even my irrational son, were all questioning El Tri.

Pop your head outside into Twittersville over the past two days, and the sky could actually have been seen to be falling.

However, a rejuvenating 8-0 win later, which included a handful of remarkably well-taken and slick team goals, and everything is right at rain. Here we are. Mexico are back, baby!

Of course, that doesn't mean Lopez is getting carried away.

"I think it was a good game. We still have nothing to celebrate. We have to focus on the next opponent, above all, recover as best as possible, and strengthen things that went well," he said somewhat dourly.

Lopez made sweeping changes, four in total. Crucially he replaced his line-leading forwards: Diana Ordonez and Kiana Palacios came in for Steph Mayor and Charlyn Corral.

In addition, he switched Jackie Ovalle to the right wing, and advanced Maria Sanchez to a more prominent left wing position. Maybe he was reading Squad Depth?

The adjustments undoubtedly work. And yet, instead of celebrating, Lopez reiterated that he and his players will remain grounded. In his mind, it is their job to bring "balance" to the emotional cycle of highs and lows he believes this team is used to having.

Up next is the United States. Their greatest rival. A nation they have only beaten once in 60 meetings. A whopping 58 of those encounters have ended in a loss for Mexico. Heaven or hell awaits.

Dominican Republic head coach Henry Parra looking like he needs a cuddle

For the DR this was brutal. Despite having a lower xGA vs. Mexico (4.8) than they had vs. the USA (6.85) they managed to concede an extra three goals.

El Tri's finishing was superb but 19-year-old goalkeeper Paloma Peña Toro will also be gutted she let Nicki Hernandez's opening goal, in the 12th minute, slip through her legs via a shot from 25 yards out. That early blood in the water set the tone.

Even with the squad looking fatigued, both physically and mentally, there's still a chance they can make the Quarterfinals. Beat Argentina on Matchday 3 and it opens up an avenue, although their goal difference of -13 will not do them any extra favours.

If the DR don't make it, this tournament will always be a huge platform and learning experience for future teams. It stings today, but perhaps not tomorrow.

Jaedyn Shawesome

The United States officially booked their spot in the Quarterfinals in large part down to the unwavering ascendance of Jaedyn Shaw.

The 19-year-old scored her first international brace, which means she's now up to four goals in just six caps for the Stars and Stripes. An average of a goal every 69 minutes for her country. Nice.

In a nervy opening, Argentina had cracked the crossbar from an absolutely audacious 40-yard strike by Mariana Larroquette. USA keeper Casey Murphy looked well-beaten in that moment.

But there was no time to let fear compound itself. Barely a few moments later, a switched-on Shaw restarted play with a quick short free kick from Lindsey Horan, and smashed the first into the net from close range, while Argentina were positionally a mess. Intelligent play beyond her years.

The second goal is one of those you can watch and watch again. A timeless volley, that somehow is both thumped and delicately placed. The goal looks how an orchestra sounds.

What I do also really love about the second goal – beyond just the technique and connection – is how far Shaw has to quickly jolt over several yards to meet the ball. Alex Morgan is also in the vicinity, but it is the USA legend that retreats in order to stay clear of the swarming teen.

When the Argentines decided to get physical or gobby with her, she held her own and stood tall. The young Texan was more than happy to shithouse right back. Fear is not a feeling she is familiar with.

Her best attribute might be that she sees things others do not. Whether that is scanning to know when to time her run into the box. Or having the advanced understanding to make the right pass selection, at the exact right window of opportunity.

Running rings around international players at 19. Oof. What is the ceiling on her potential? Is she now the most important young player on the US' stacked squad?

At this moment in time, expectation and belief keep rising. Not only does Shaw seem to be locking in a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympic Squad but soon she could be one of the first names in the USWNT starting XI.

"Excellent, excellent in the pocket." interim head coach Twila Kilgore said about Shaw. "Provided for us when we needed it, provided final passes. I also just want to praise her defensive effort. This is a critical part of the game and something that we rely on all of our players for and I thought she had a very, very complete performance."

Extraordinarily, Argentina finished the match without taking a single touch inside the USA box. The Americans' dominance was severe. And Shaw had a hand in it all.

NEXT: Sat. 24 Feb. Group B fixtures:
Puerto Rico v Panama | 7:30 p.m. ET
Colombia v Brazil | 10:15 p.m. ET