The US men's national team earned a crucial Concacaf World Cup Qualifying result on Wednesday evening, cruising to a 3-0 bounce-back victory over Honduras in St. Paul, Minnesota's subzero conditions behind a trio of set-piece goals.
Weston McKennie, Walker Zimmerman and second-half substitute Christian Pulisic all scored for the USMNT, strengthening their hold on second place above Mexico in the Octagonal table to conclude the three-game winter window, leaving Gregg Berhalter's team on track for a Qatar 2022 spot heading into the all-decisive March window.
The US created an early opener just eight minutes into the match, with Kellyn Acosta providing pinpoint free-kick service that found McKennie for a flicked header that evaded Honduras goalkeeper Luis López.
Zimmerman then added the second on 37 minutes. An Acosta free kick again started the sequence, as the LAFC midfielder sent a looping cross that bounced into the path of the Nashville SC center back, who muscled home the close-range finish.
The US continued to apply pressure during the second half and broke through with a third in the 67th minute. Pulisic did the honors shortly after entering, pouncing on a corner kick that deflected off Zimmerman and slotting home a low, driven finish past a diving Edrick Menjívar.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Needing three points after Sunday's disappointing defeat to first-place Canada, the USMNT got exactly that with a comprehensive effort while battling the frigid elements in St. Paul. Encouragingly, all three goals came off set-piece situations, an area where the US have struggled throughout this qualifying cycle. They still have to take care of business in the March window to clinch their World Cup berth, but heading into the final stretch of Octagonal play, the Yanks control their own destiny.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pulisic's omission from the starting XI raised some eyebrows, but the Chelsea winger made his presence felt almost immediately after entering with a clinical finish for his team's third goal.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: There are several worthy candidates, but Acosta put in a massive all-around shift. His dead-ball delivery factored into all three US goals with Tyler Adams (hamstring) unable to play in the No. 6 role.
- USA: Thursday, March 24 at Mexico | Time TBD
- HON: Thursday, March 24 at Panama | Time TBD