The United States men's national team kicked off their Concacaf Nations League title defense with a simple, one-sided 5-0 victory over visiting Grenada on Friday night. Jesus Ferreira, looking to be the starting striker for the USMNT at the 2022 World Cup, tied a team record with four goals to help his case, albeit against poor opposition.
The red, white and blue, playing their final match on American soil this calendar year, outshot the visitors 25-3 in a match that at times looked more like a scrimmage than an official competition for Gregg Berhalter's team.
Shockingly, it took the United States 43 minutes to score despite dominating the ball and the chances, with an attentive Ferreira finishing from inside the box.
With so many misses in front of goal as of late, Ferreira was able to reverse that poor form with a prolific match that, while a great stat sheet for him, came against a team ranked 170th in the world. He's the fifth player ever to score four goals in a game for the U.S., joining Archie Stark (1925), Aldo Donelli (1934), Joe-Max Moore (1993) and Landon Donovan (2003).
With key players like Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams rested, the U.S. were able to dictate the pace of play all night long. The visitors never came close to scoring, recording an xG of 0.10 on three shots. The U.S. finished with an xG of 4.08 on its 25 shots. The Americans also had 66.6 percent possession, did not concede a corner and saw Matt Turner not have to make a single save on goal.
The reigning champs stretched their unbeaten run at home to 26 games, matching the previous record set from 2013-15.
The Americans now turn their attention to what figures to be a much tougher test on Tuesday when they face El Salvador on Matchday 2.
The U.S. will play at the World Cup in November after failing to qualify for the 2018 edition. The USMNT will face Wales on Nov. 21, England on Nov. 25 (day after Thanksgiving) and Iran on Nov. 29.
USMNT Player ratings
(GK) Matt Turner
|90||Wasn't tested at all as Grenada took three shots putting zero on target. One of the easiest matches that he'll have wearing the national team shirt.|
(DEF) Antonee Robinson
|60||Only created one chance but it won't matter as the clean sheet is what's most important. It has been good to see that Robinson can be more conservative, only bombing forward when needed.|
(DEF) Aaron Long
|45||Didn't need to do much with Carter-Vickers being the more dominant defender on the night. A tidy showing during the first half but then was withdrawn as Berhalter continues to test his central pairings.|
(DEF) Cameron Carter-Vickers
|90||Kept play in front of him, making five interceptions during the match and winning most of his aerial battles. While it's not one of the tougher defensive challenges that he'll face, this was a good improvement to see from Carter-Vickers after making his transfer to Celtic official earlier in the day.||8|
(DEF) Reggie Cannon
|90||Stepped up well, collecting three interceptions as it seems like Cannon is paving his way to the World Cup. With his versatility, he's good to have around for any situation.||7|
(MID) Kellyn Acosta
|90||Controlled the game from midfield. Acosta was everywhere during the match, helping the United States wear down Grenada until the ball hit the back of the net. On a day when a lot of midfield regulars were rested, Acosta shined.||9|
(MID) Luca de la Torre
|71||Was this a coming out party for de la Torre? Even without the assist, he had a great game helping control possession and pushing the pace against the Spice Boys. It will be important for de la Torre to be this dominant versus stronger teams but it's good to see that the ability is there.||8|
(MID) Weston McKennie
|45||Wasn't in the game for when the goals really started rolling in, but played a large part in helping wear Grenada down, creating two chances and ensuring that the team retained the ball in the first half.||7|
(FWD) Jordan Morris
|60||Had one big chance created and missed a few good attacking chances. When the USMNT turned the match into target practice, Morris didn't keep up with the other members of the team which could cost him when minutes are limited.||6|
(FWD) Paul Arriola
|90||Created a team high three chances with one ending in a goal for his FC Dallas teammate Ferreira. Arriola put in a good shift during the match doing all the right things on the attacking and defensive side.||7|
(FWD) Jesus Ferreira
|90||What a way to break a scoring drought. Ferreira scored four goals as he was in the right place at the right time almost all game to show what he does well for the national team. While it's hard to take too much from the match due to the quality of the opposition, there isn't much more that Ferreira could have done as well.||10|
|Robinson, ('60)||Did what was asked in limited minutes but didn't do anything too spectacular ||6|
|Walker Zimmerman||Long, ('45)||Calm as always, Zimmerman kept things ticking in defense after coming into the match. He didn't win either of his headers but had two clearances and an interception once he entered.||7|
|Brenden Aaronson||de la Torre, ('71)||Didn't need much time to make his mark on the match creating an assist with his only chance created. A strong sub cameo where Aaronson's fresh legs really helped break Grenada down.||8|
|Malik Tillman||McKennie, ('45)||Officially cap tied to the United States, Tillman came on in a deeper midfield tole, he put in a strong performance that showed what he can offer down the line but also shows how raw that he is at the same time. There's nothing to be concerned about at this point, as with polish he could be a force.||7|
|Morris, ('60)||Kept possession ticking over once the game was already won.||6|
|Gregg Berhalter||5||While he didn't cap tie everyone who he needed to in the first Nations League match, it was an emphatic victory that will hopefully deliver confidence to Ferreira after scoring four goals. It was a strong performance as the team did exactly as asked and scoring five goals shos that the gameplan was correct.||9|