USMNT touchdown! McKennie, Pepi braces lead Nations League dominance vs. Grenada


The US men’s national team proved relentless in Friday night’s Concacaf Nations League A, Group D test at Grenada, using braces from Weston McKennie and Ricardo Pepi to power a 7-1 victory in their first competitive match since a Round of 16 exit at the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

Via one goal and three assists, Christian Pulisic’s fingerprints were all over a game that booked the USMNT’s ticket to the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup in July and has them on the precipice of reaching the 2022-23 Nations League Semifinals in June. On Monday evening from Orlando City SC’s Exploria Stadium (7:30 pm ET), a Group D-closing draw or win over El Salvador will secure that latter spot.

Pepi’s goals arrived via a 4th-minute header and 53rd-minute near-post shot, continuing his strong form while on loan at Eredivisie side Groningen. And McKennie showed his propensity for set-piece dominance, as the on-loan Leeds United midfielder acrobatically finished in the 31st and 34th minutes to create separation at Kirani James National Stadium.

Quick-snap strikes from Leeds United attacker Brenden Aaronson (20th minute) and Club América winger Alejandro Zendejas (72nd minute) were other highlights, especially the latter. Zendejas, an ex-FC Dallas homegrown winger, is now formally cap-tied to the USMNT after recruiting efforts from Mexico. 

Pulisic’s goal squeezed under Grenada goalkeeper Jason Belfon in the 49th minute, making it 5-1 after halftime to essentially put the result to bed. The Spice Boyz had some punch – midfielder Myles Hippolyte’s one-time strike beat Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner in the 32nd minute – but this one was as one-sided as the scoreline indicates.


  • 4' - USA - Ricardo Pepi | WATCH
  • 20' - USA - Brenden Aaronson | WATCH
  • 31' - USA - Weston McKennie | WATCH
  • 32' - GRN - Myles Hippolyte | WATCH
  • 34' - USA - Weston McKennie | WATCH
  • 49' - USA - Christian Pulisic | WATCH
  • 53' - USA - Ricardo Pepi | WATCH
  • 72' - USA - Alejandro Zendejas | WATCH


  • BIG PICTURE: The USMNT’s first competitive game under interim head coach Anthony Hudson was of the show-stopping variety, as free-flowing attacks produced chance after chance. Grenada are ranked 173rd in the world by FIFA, so take the result with a grain of salt. But the lineup decisions and clinical final-third play were encouraging signs – maintaining good vibes in a week where the possible commitment of England/Nigeria-eligible Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun (on loan at Reims) has been the dominant storyline. The Yanks, looking to defend Nations League and Gold Cup titles this summer, have a target on their back.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Alejandro Zendejas got the USMNT's seventh and final goal, a welcomed development after he pledged his long-term future to the program instead of regional rival El Tri.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Pulisic, sporting the captain's armband in midfielder Tyler Adams' injury-related absence, stepped up big-time with one goal and three assists. Captain America also drew five fouls during his 64-minute shift, giving Grenada's backline constant fits.

Next Up

  • USA: Monday, March 27 vs. El Salvador | 7:30 pm ET (TNT, Universo, Peacock) | Concacaf Nations League
  • GRN: To be announced