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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Robinson, Pepi, US flip WCup qualifier, beat Honduras 4-1

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The USA was skidding to a different World Cup qualifying failure when Antonee Robinson entered, quickly tied the score and celebrated with a backward somersault.

Your entire sport quickly flipped.

Ricardo Pepi put the U.S. ahead in the 75th minute, Brenden Aaronson and Sebastian Lletget added late objectives and the U.S. rolled past Honduras 4-1 Wednesday evening.

“I believe it’s actually essential that we did that simply to point out everybody that at occasions it’s going to be a tough qualifying course of, however we’re prepared for the challenges that’ll come forward,” Robinson mentioned. “We are able to reply to something.”

Pepi had a objective and two assists in his debut, and the People exhaled after a tumultuous week of accidents, Positive COVID-19 exams and an enormous disciplinary challenge. They gained for simply the second time in 41 qualifiers by which they trailed at halftime (six attracts).

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Coach Gregg Berhalter held a crew assembly earlier than the match and advised gamers that opening attracts at El Salvador and at residence in opposition to Canada “wouldn’t have doomed the qualifying.” U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Sergiño Dest and midfielder Gio Reyna had gotten harm, Steffen examined Positive for COVID and midfielder Weston McKennie was despatched residence by Berhalter for violating crew COVID protocols.

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Berhalter thought the discuss helped gamers start to calm down.

“Regardless of all this crap that occurred in these final couple days, the fellows’ spirits had been extraordinarily excessive,” he mentioned.

Nonetheless, Brayan Moya put 63rd-ranked Honduras ahead in the 27th minute, breaking freed from George Bello and heading a cross from Diego Rodríguez previous goalkeeper Matt Turner after John Brooks misplaced the ball.

That put the Tenth-ranked People in a frightening place: They’d given up the primary objective in 33 earlier street World Cup qualifiers, profitable two, shedding 26 and tying 5.

Berhalter advised gamers at halftime they needed to change greater than formation.

“We have to compete, and that was one thing I used to be dissatisfied with,” he recalled saying. “After they scored, as a substitute of seeing that response that we’re used to, I believe their heads went down a bit of bit.”

And to make the problem larger, Christian Pulisic injured his left ankle early within the second half, tried to proceed and fell in a heap throughout a dash a couple of minutes later. He was changed within the 62nd minute.

“When Christian goes down, it is all the time like, mmm, you’re taking like a deep breath as a result of he is our greatest participant,”Aaronson mentioned.

Pepi, who scored the profitable penalty kick in final month’s Main League Soccer All-Star Recreation in opposition to Liga MX, at 18 years, 242 days turned the second-youngest American to seem in a qualifier behind Pulisic at 17 years, 193 days in March 2016.

The Dallas ahead selected to play for the U.S. over Mexico, the sixty fifth participant to seem for the People for the reason that October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago ended a streak of seven straight World Cup appearances. He was the forty second since Berhalter was employed in December 2018.

“I really feel like he had confidence in me,” Pepi mentioned, “so I simply went on the market and do my factor.”

Berhalter made 5 lineup adjustments, inserting Pepi, Bello, Mark McKenzie and James Sands for his or her qualifying debuts and bringing again Josh Sargent, who began the opener. They had been a part of a lineup that averaged the youngest ever for the U.S. in a qualifier at 23 years, 85 days, one which had Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Kellyn Acosta in a 3-5-2 formation, with Adams taking part in vast on the fitting reasonably than defensive midfield.

At halftime, the U.S. went again to its regular 4-3-3.

“We wanted to push up a lot faster,” Berhalter mentioned, “give our midfielders smaller house to have the ability to win balls. We wished to be extra aggressive excessive urgent them, and we thought that may result in some turnovers.”

Criticized for ready too lengthy to insert substitutes on Sunday, Berhalter injected Robinson, Lletget and Aaronson to start out the second half for Brooks, Bello and Sargent. The horn-blowing full home of about 31,000 at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano rapidly was silenced.

Robinson tied it within the forty eighth along with his first worldwide objective. Pulisic took a move from Pepi at midfield, dribbled and dished vast to Lletget, who crossed. Pepi made a backheel drop within the 6-yard field to Robinson, who scored with a right-footed volley from 8 yards.

Pepi put the U.S. forward within the seventy fifth. Two minutes after changing Sands, DeAndre Yedlin crossed and Pepi outjumped Marcelo Pereira to loop a header to the left of goalkeeper Luis López.

Pepi burst into the penalty space within the 86th and squared for Aaronson, whose right-footed shot from 12 yards was his fifth worldwide objective and second of qualifying.

“I used to be so fired up at the moment, I don’t know what sort of took over me, however I used to be simply able to go, and you possibly can see it with all of the subs. It was a spark,” Aaronson mentioned

Luis López acquired a hand on Pepi’s shot within the third minute of stoppage time. Lletget, following up on the play, banged the ball into the open net for his eighth worldwide objective. The U.S. scored 4 objectives in a qualifier in Central America for the primary time.

“We simply fought,” Lletget mentioned. “We knew we simply needed to match their depth. That was the most important change within the second half.”

Mexico leads the North and Central American and Caribbean area with seven factors, adopted by Canada and the U.S. with 5 factors every and similar objectives for and in opposition to. Panama has 5 factors and trails on objectives, whereas Costa Rica and Honduras have two factors apiece and Jamaica none. The highest three nations qualify.

“Perhaps we thought it was going to be simpler than it was taking place to El Salvador, Honduras,” Adams mentioned. “These are robust video games, man. You see how hostile the crowds are, however the vitality is wonderful, the ambiance is wonderful. It’s solely going to make us higher for the longer term.”

Notes: Pulisic’s ankle will likely be evaluated by Chelsea. The European-based People took a constitution flight to London and onto Berlin after the match. … Canada beat visiting El Salvador 3-0 on objectives by Atiba Hutchison, Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan. … Mexico acquired a 76th-minute objective from Jesús Corona in a 1-1 draw at Panama, which went forward on Rolando Blackburn’s Twenty eighth-minute objective. … Costa Rica was held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Jamaica. Jimmy Marín scored within the third minute for the hosts and Shamar Nicholson tied the rating within the forty seventh.





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