Ferreira scores 4 goals, USA beat Grenada 5-0 in Cup send-off

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Jesús Ferreira had an unforgettable night against an overwhelmed opponent in sending the World Cup to the United States.

The 21-year-old striker tied the US international record with four goals, including a hat-trick in 13 minutes on Friday night in a 5-0 loss to Grenada. The hard-to-rate performance against the world’s 170th-ranked side came in a CONCACAF Nations League match played 164 days before the Americans’ opener in Qatar.

There are only three warm-up matches left before American coach Gregg Berhalter picks his World Cup roster.

“I think I’m in a good position,” said Ferreira, a son of former Colombian national team midfielder David Ferreira, the 2010 Major League Soccer MVP. “I’m not going to focus on the goals because I know they will come. Just having a good game will do.

Ferreira is competing for a roster spot and playing time with Ricardo Pepi, Haji Wright, Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike.

After a series of misses, Ferreira put the USA ahead in 15th place in the 43rd minute, then added goals in the 54th, 56th and 78th to give them seven in 12 international appearances. His four goals tied Landon Donovan (2003), Joe-Max Moore (1993), Buff Donelli (1934) and Archie Stark (1925).

“There’s a certain validation that you get as a striker when you hit the back of the net,” Berhalter said.

Paul Arriola added a goal in the 62nd as the Americans extended their home unbeaten streak to 26 games since a September 2019 loss to Mexico, tying the team record set from 2013 to 2015.

On a 96-degree night, stars Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams didn’t dress for the US No. 15, who faced a winless Spice Boys side since beating the US Virgin Islands in March 2021. The Americans had 67% possession and edged Grenada. 25-3, including 10-0 in the first half.

Ferreira scored the opening goal when Arriola crossed and the ball was deflected by Kayden Harrack. Ferreira cut through the middle and beat goalkeeper Jason Belfon inside the far post with a left-footed shot from 8 yards out. The United States had entered with just one in-game goal by a forward in 13 games.

Ferreira doubled the lead with a right-footed shot inside the far post when he sprinted past the defense as Arriola fed him, then beat Belfon to the far post with a right-footed shot from 14 yards out after Kellyn Acosta plays a ground corner. .

Second-half sub Brenden Aaronson pulled Belfon off his line for Ferreira’s fourth, leaving him a 6-yard touchdown with his left foot into an open goal.

Arriola, Ferreira’s Dallas teammate, scored from inside the penalty area on Luca de la Torre’s pass, his 10th international goal.

Cameron Carter-Vickers made his international debut and joined Aaron Long to become the 20th central defending pair in 53 games since signing Berhalter in December 2018. USA made eight changes from the draw Sunday’s 0-0 against Uruguay,

Malik Tillman, a 20-year-old striker who moved to the Americans from Germany last month, made his competitive debut early in the second half when he replaced Weston McKennie.

The unusual preparation schedule was caused by FIFA’s decision in 2010 to hold the tournament in Qatar, a vote which the US Department of Justice says was affected by bribes paid to members of the executive committee of football’s governing body.

In 2015, FIFA moved the tournament to winter from its traditional June/July slot, a move to the middle of the European club season that will limit pre-tournament training to one week and eliminated the series US Soccer Federation usual sender.

The Americans play El Salvador on Tuesday in the Nations League and are planning exhibitions in Europe on September 23-27, likely against Asian opponents. The United States open the World Cup against No. 18 Wales on November 21, face No. 5 England in a Black Friday game four days later and complete the first round against No. 21 Iran. November 29.

Notes: GK Ethan Horvath and Wright didn’t play, possibly leaving them to start in El Salvador. … MF Gio Reyna, sidelined with a leg injury since April 8, was in training camp but not on the roster. His father, former United States captain Claudio Reyna, is the sporting director of MLS team Austin.

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