On Monday night, Anthony Hudson and the USMNT faced off against Hugo Perez and El Salvador at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The USMNT went into the match only needing a single point to advance to the final four of the Nations League, but fully expect the team to try and get all three points on the night. The USMNT ended up getting all three points in the match, defeating El Salvador by a score of 1-0. Ricardo Pepi’s 62nd-minute goal sealed the deal, as the USMNT moved on to the Concacaf Nations League semifinals.
Rotated USMNT Squad
Anthony Hudson rotated his starting eleven around from the match against Grenada, changing a total of seven starters. Matt Turner, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie, and Christian Pulisic were the only starters who remained from the squad for El Salvador. Miles Robinson made his first start for the US since he ruptured his Achilles tendon, and Alejandro Zendejas had his first competitive start with the team since committing to them over Mexico.
Other new names in the starting eleven included players from the World Cup squad, such as Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Yunus Musah, and Tim Ream. The other rotated individual would be West Brom striker Daryl Dike, who replaced Ricardo Pepi in the squad. The starting eleven looked more like the A team for the USMNT tonight, as they looked to get the point that they needed in tonight’s match.
Ricardo Pepi Strikes Instantly
One of the changes that Anthony Hudson made for the El Salvador match was starting Daryl Dike over Ricardo Pepi, who had a brace in the match against Grenada. But Pepi was brought on to replace Dike in the 60th minute, with the match tied at 0-0.
In the 62nd minute, not even two minutes after he came on, Pepi put the hosts up 1-0 with a beauty of a finish after a nice run. Weston McKennie sent a beautiful through ball through the El Salvador defense, finding Pepi perfectly. Ricardo Pepi having the type of performance he has during this game is something that he would enjoy seeing after not being called up to the World Cup roster. He is as talented a striker that the USMNT has, and he has definitely thrived in the small time that he has been under interim manager Anthony Hudson.
On to the Nations League Semifinals
With tonight’s win against El Salvador, the USMNT confirmed that they will be participating in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals in June, which will be taking place in Las Vegas. As stated previously, the semifinals will be played on June 15th, with the final being played on the 18th of June. If needed, the third-place match will also be taking place on June 18th. The opponent for the USMNT in the semifinals is currently unknown, as they are still waiting for other results in the remainder of the matches.
All in all, life under Anthony Hudson has been a good one so far for the USMNT. He has a record of 2-1-1, with both wins coming in the Nations League where he had a majority of the main squad. The interim manager seems to have the USMNT playing to their best, and they also seem to be playing with more freedom. While Anthony Hudson will not be the first name on the manager shortlist for a majority of the American supporters, he might be starting to influence them with these performances.
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: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire, Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire, Pressinphoto/Imago/Icon Sportswire