The United States men overcame a slow start with the help of four goals from Jesus Ferreira to earn a comfortable 5-0 win over Grenada on Friday night in its CONCACAF Nations League opener at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Despite dominating possession and shots in the first half, the U.S. had little to show for it until Ferreira pounced on a loose ball in the area, beat his marker and struck a shot past Grenada keeper Jason Belfon to give his side a narrow advantage at the break.
“I think I’m in a good spot,” said Ferreira, a son of former Colombia 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 the job.”
Ferreira doubled the Americans’ lead shortly after halftime, beating Belfon at his far post with a tidy finish from Paul Arriola‘s well-weighted through ball opening up the Grenada defense.
Berhalter’s side went up by three before the hour mark as Ferreira sealed his hat trick with a lovely curling shot into the top corner, and Arriola pushed the score to 4-0 with a close-range shot assisted by Luca de la Torre soon after.
“There’s a certain validation that you get as a striker when you do hit the back of the net,” Berhalter said.
The joint leading scorer in MLS wasn’t done, though, as Ferreira scored his fourth and easiest goal of the night from a tap-in with substitute Brenden Aaronson providing the assist.
Besides being a World Cup showcase for the FC Dallas star, the win also stretched the USMNT’s unbeaten run at home to 26 matches, tying the previous record set between 2013 and 2015.
Ferreira, who is competing for a roster spot and playing time with Ricardo Pepi, Haji Wright, Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike on the U.S. team, matched Landon Donovan (2003), Joe-Max Moore (1993), Buff Donelli (1934) and Archie Stark (1925) for most goals scored in a single game by an American player.
Next up for the U.S. — which plays no more home matches before the start of the World Cup — is another Nations League test, this time on the road against El Salvador on Tuesday.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.