Steven Moreira's time in Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations comes to an end after a crushing penalty shootout loss, and he will be returning to Columbus promptly ahead of the 2024 MLS season.
Despite the loss, it's worth noting that Moreira with Cape Verde wasn't expected to make it this far, especially considering they had African giants Egypt and Ghana in their group. Not only did they make it out of the group stage, but they topped it, above Egypt and Ghana, who have a combined 11 AFCON trophies to their name. Moreover, the Blue Sharks technically haven't lost a game all tournament, with a penalty shootout tie breaker being the deciding factor.
Moreira started in every match, bar one which is the game against Egypt in the final group stage game where his country already clitched the top spot and were just rotating for the knockout stage. The 2023 Crew defender of the year looks well prepared for the 2024 MLS season, and is well conditioned, starting four out of the five possible games, and even played the full 120 minutes against South Africa which they would eventually fall to Saturday evening.
South African goalkeeper Ronwen Williams had an exceptional game for his country, holding it down during the 120 minutes and saving four out of five of Cape Verde's penalties. This marks the first time a goalkeeper has saved four penalties in an AFCON penalty shootout. Additionally, it's worth noting that Williams kept four consecutive shutouts, not conceding a single goal after losing to Mali in their opening group stage match. An absolutely historical performance that would see Moreira fly back to Columbus.