USMNT rolls past Grenada to clinch Gold Cup berth
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USMNT rolls past Grenada to clinch Gold Cup berth

The U.S. men’s national team reclaimed the top spot in Group D of the Concacaf Nations League on Friday after breezing past Grenada at Kirani James National Stadium.

Ricardo Pepi and Weston McKennie both registered braces for Anthony Hudson’s squad while Brenden Aaronson, Alex Zendejas, and Christian Pulisic also celebrated goals in a 7-1 romp. Auston Trusty and Taylor Booth both made their senior international debuts as the Americans clinched a spot in this summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup.

Pepi needed only four minutes to propel the USMNT in front of the Spice Boys, powering a header off of Pulisic’s cross into the bottom corner. It was Pepi’s first international goal since October 2021 and his fourth overall this year for club and country.

Matt Turner denied Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Regan Charles-Cook from tying the match before Brenden Aaronson extended the USMNT’s lead to 2-0. Aaronson cut onto his right foot before unleashing a powerful shot into the left corner.

Weston McKennie benefitted from a failed clearance in the box by scoring his 10th international goal. McKennie’s left-footed shot nestled into the bottom-left corner, making it 3-0 to the Americans.

Myles Hippolyte cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 32nd minute, stroking a left-footed shot past Turner and into the bottom-right corner. The USMNT failed to pick up Hippolyte at the top of the box and the midfielder made no mistake.

McKennie added his second goal of the night before halftime, poking home in the box after Auston Trusty kept Pulisic’s free kick from going out of bounds. It marked McKennie’s first multi-goal performance since October 2019 vs. Cuba.

The Americans continued to pile on the offensive pressure after halftime with Pulisic’s low drive sneaking past Jason Belfon in the 49th minute. Pulisic’s shot was deflected by Belfon, but the veteran keeper couldn’t keep his shot from crossing the goal-line.

Luca De La Torre’s deadly through ball pass up the middle of the field in the 53rd minute allowed Pepi to slot home his second goal of the match. Pepi was left one-on-one with Belfon, delivering a right-footed shot down the middle of the goal.

Alex Zendejas came off the bench in the 64th minute and made an instant impact just eight minutes later to pad the final score at 7-1. Zendejas picked up a pass just outside of Grenada’s box before curling a left-footed shot into the bottom-left corner.

Yunus Musah, Daryl Dike, and Johnny Cardoso appeared off the bench to earn important minutes as the Americans held on for a convincing victory.

The USMNT now leads El Salvador by two points heading into Monday’s final group stage match in Orlando, Florida.

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