USMNT route Grenada 7-1 in CONCACAF Nations League

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.

The USMNT’s first competitive action since being bounced out of the 2022 World Cup went off without a hitch with a dominant 7-1  performance on the road against Grenada, inching the US closer to advancing in the CONCACAF Nations League.

KANSAS CITY, KS – JUNE 05: United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) reacts to a corner kick during the match between the USMNT and Uruguay on Sunday June 5th, 2022 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire)

USMNT cruise to Nations League Victory

The starting 11 saw a few new faces enter the lineup from the one fans became accustomed to during the World Cup, including a fresh backline of Joe Scally, Auston Trusty, Mark Mckenzie, and Bryan Reynolds.  Luca De La Torre and Ricardo Pepi were the other 2 starters that did not feature in Qatar.  It was also the first time since 1996 that the USMNT lineup was made up of zero players currently in MLS, though a number of those included are products of MLS academies. 

The match can be summarized by Ricardo Pepi’s pre-match comments, where he spoke on Interim Head Coach Anthony Hudson’s mindset in attack

“In the attacking third, Anthony has told us that we have more freedom. If you feel something and have the capacity to do it, he’s going to let you do it.”

Ricardo Pepi

And while yes, Granada isn’t the most defensive opponent, currently ranked 173rd in the world, It was the willingness to be aggressive and on the front foot that made the game enjoyable to watch for many fans.

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 27: during the World Cup Qualifier soccer match between the USMNT and Panama on March 27, 2022 at Explorer Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)

Familiar Faces making a difference

The USMNT wasted no time putting pressure on the Granada backline, cashing in their first goal of the night just 4 minutes in when Ricardo Pepi headed home a ball that was put into the area off the right foot of Christian Pulisic.  Pulisic had his hands all over this game. While only being credited with 2 assists, Pulisic had major involvement in 5 of the 7 goals, scoring 1 in the second half, and creating an array of other chances going forward.  Brendan Aaronson made the score 2-0 in the 20th minute, when he received a pass from Pulisic with his back to goal, shifted the ball to his right foot, and slotted the ball low past the keeper. 

Weston Mckennie scored the first of his 2 goals in the 30th minute, volley-ing home a blocked attempt with his left foot.  Just a minute later, Grenada scored their lone goal of the match after working the ball down the right side of the field, when Jacob Berkely Agyepong moved the ball to Myles Hyppolyte inside the penalty area, who beat USMNT keeper Matt Turner with a left-footed shot.  In the 34th minute, Weston McKennie would make it 3 goals in the span of 4 minutes, when another Christian Pulisic free kick to the back post was headed across the front of the net by Auston Trusty, and headed home by McKennie for his 2nd of the night.

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 12: United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) talks to forward Christian Pulisic (10) during a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying game between the United States and Mexico on November 12, 2021 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Fresh Faces pitching in

Ricardo Pepi’s 2 goal performance wasn’t the only convincing performance from someone that didn’t get to leave their mark on the previous World Cup. Luca De La Torre chipped in 2 assists in the 7-1 route, moving the ball to the feet of an open Pulisic for the first goal of the Second half in the 49th minute. De La Torre showed his vision once again in the 53rd minute with a through ball that led Ricardo Pepi 1-on-1 with the keeper, who slotted home his second goal of the night. 

Another name that impressed for the USMNT was Alejandro Zendejas, who recently stated his commitment to the USMNT.  Zendajas showed his offensive prowess right away when a botched clearance forced by the press of Brendan Aaronson found its way to Zendejas, who curled the ball with his left foot past the Grenada keeper for his first international goal, the 7th and final tally of the night.  Zendajas wasn’t done with his cameo, having a number of chances to earn a brace in his first appearance for the US, only to be denied by multiple impressive saves by Grenada keeper Jason Belfon. 

While the USMNT backline didn’t have a whole lot to do, the 7-1 win marked defender Auston Trusty’s first appearance for the US, and Bryan Reynolds’ first start for the Stars and Stripes and his first appearance since December of 2021.

KANSAS CITY, KS – JULY 15: United States midfielder Gianluca Busio (6) looks on as United States forward Daryl Dike (11) celebrates with fans and teammates after scoring a goal in action during a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B match between Martinique and the United States on July 15, 2021 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Positive performance, but USMNT must maintain focus

Amidst the drama surrounding Greg Berhalter and the Reyna family, the 7-1 win left everyone in the USMNT camp with little to complain about and something positive to build off of for the first time since all the news broke. While Grenada is an opponent that the US should beat, it’s refreshing to see the team take care of business in a way that’s enjoyable for fans to watch. Now, Interim Head Coach Anthony Hudson says the team must remain focused on doing the right things if they want to take care of business against El Salvador on Monday night with a chance of moving on in the Nations League.

The importance for us is just to make sure that we do all the right things between now and the next game and we finish the job off. But the actual performance, I thought it was the result of just a really, really good week.”

Interim Head Coach Anthony Hudson

Be sure to return to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!

Follow our Union team on Twitter:

Tim Lovenguth | Justin Friedberg | El Parcero Philly
Zach LoBasso | Steve Beavon | Liam Jenkins
Eric Frysinger | Paul Frenzel | Jimmy King

Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire, Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire, Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire