Teamwork makes the dream work

Pulisic, Reyna, Pepi assist USA beat Grenada in Nations League

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Whereas the United States‘ sport at Grenada on Friday represented the workforce’s return to aggressive soccer for the primary time for the reason that World Cup, the match — as anticipated — was something however.

Ricardo Pepi scored twice — together with an early objective within the fourth minute — opening the floodgates in a 7-1 win in CONCACAF Nations League play.

Weston McKennie additionally scored twice whereas Christian Pulisic starred by enjoying a serious position in 5 of the objectives, together with scoring one in all his personal. Brenden Aaronson and Alejandro Zendejas — making his first look since committing to the U.S. over Mexico — scored the opposite objectives for a U.S. aspect below the cost of interim coach Anthony Hudson.

Myles Hippolyte’s objective was the one comfort for the hosts.

Speedy response

1. Significance of MLS on show in rout

For the primary time since MLS launched in 1996, an energetic participant within the league didn’t function in a USMNT sport (Atlanta United‘s Miles Robinson is on the roster however was a wholesome scratch). On the floor, that would come off as a unfavourable for the league, nevertheless it’s actually not.

It speaks extra to how the expertise stage within the is bettering — a growth that MLS has performed a serious position in. Of the 11 starters, 9 got here by MLS academies and solely two of these gamers — Giovanni Reyna (NYCFC) and Weston McKennie (FC Dallas) — opted to signed their first skilled contracts overseas.

This cycle will proceed. MLS will proceed to do the lion’s share of the participant growth within the nation, these gamers will transfer on and the nationwide workforce will profit.

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2. Reyna’s midfield position signal

The concept of Reyna enjoying centrally has at all times been interesting. However with the trio of Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams and McKennie having labored so effectively collectively, Reyna within the midfield by no means occurred. A part of that was former coach Gregg Berhalter’s desire, in fact, however with Adams out of the squad as a consequence of harm, it offered a possibility to experiment.

Reyna began as a part of the midfield three on this match — together with Luca de la Torre and McKennie — and whereas he did not impression the sport on the scoresheet, it was an necessary train. He dropped deep to gather the ball at occasions and pushed ahead to play extra as a No. 10.

Maybe extra necessary than the tactical side of Reyna’s sport was that the sport marked an necessary step ahead from all of the off-the-field noise that he is been hooked up to for the previous few months.

3. Capping off win with a number of cap-ties

After committing his worldwide future to america, Alejandro Zendejas is now formally cap-tied and marked the event with a wonderful objective to spherical out the scoring after he got here on as a second-half substitute. Zendejas, who made his USMNT debut in a pleasant towards Serbia in January, was electrical towards Grenada and has the potential to be a serious contributor.

Midfielder Johnny Cardoso was additionally cap-tied when he entered within the second half, although his impression on the sport wasn’t as pronounced. Centerback Auston Trusty, who has impressed with Birmingham Metropolis this season, additionally made his USMNT debut, partnering along with his former Philadelphia Union teammate Mark McKenzie (whose now at Genk). Attacker Taylor Sales space additionally acquired his debut and is cap-tied, as he was eligible to play for Italy.

Finest and worst performers

Finest: Christian Pulisic, FW, USA.
Pulisic was, by far, one of the best participant on the sector. Grenada was fully overmatched all around the area, nevertheless it was particularly noticeable when the ball was on the captain’s ft. He had two official assists, a (gentle) objective and delivered one other ball in that led to a objective in a straightforward night time on the workplace.

Finest: Ricardo Pepi, FW, USA.
After not being chosen to the World Cup roster, Pepi’s return to the workforce showcased why his future stays so shiny. He scored a pair of objectives and seems to be again heading in the right direction.

Finest: Weston McKennie, MF, USA.
McKennie within the field stays one of many workforce’s finest weapons. He additionally scored two objectives.

Worst: Benjamin Ettienne, DF, Grenada.
Had a tricky time with the U.S. enjoying down the left.

Worst: Jason Belfon, GK, Grenada.
Seven objectives is seven objectives. The one he conceded to Pulisic was significantly unhealthy.

Worst: Kwazim Theodore, MF, Grenada.
It is a bit harsh to single out Grenada gamers right here, however Theordore had a tough go.

Highlights and notable moments

Loads of objectives to select from this lopsided scoreline, however Weston McKennie’s first on the night time was a pleasant show of athleticism.

Christian Pulisic was a pressure within the first half, wrecking havoc on the wing which led to 2 assists. He lastly received on the scoreboard quickly after the break. With 24 worldwide objectives, he’s one behind Joe-Max Moore for sixth most on the USMNT all-time scorers record.

Alejandro Zendejas, who was the topic of a recruiting battle between the USMNT and Mexico, scored his first of his worldwide profession and the final on the night of the guests.

After the match: What the gamers/managers mentioned

Examine again quickly as protection continues.

Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info analysis)

– With Atlanta’s Miles Robinson a wholesome scratch, it was the USMNT’s first aggressive match with out utilizing a single MLS participant for the reason that league started in 1996.

– The USMNT’s win makes it 5 in as many video games vs. Grenada, which breaks a tie with Barbados for many video games performed with a 100% file.

– It was the fifth time the USMNT had scored seven in a sport — essentially the most they’ve ever scored was eight (vs. Cayman Islands in 1993 and vs. Barbados in 2008).

Up subsequent

Grenada: This was their solely sport of the worldwide window and their Nations League group stage marketing campaign is full. They will end final behind El Salvador and america, and can subsequent be in motion for the Gold Cup qualifiers in July.

United States: Taking up El Salvador in Orlando on Monday to see who’ll win Group A and guide a spot within the Nations League semifinals in Las Vegas in June. Friday’s win additionally secured the USMNT an automated place for the Gold Cup.

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