After a pair of subpar performances against El Salvador and Canada, as well as the Weston McKennie saga, Gregg Berhalter was able to put his young Americans back on track as they convincingly beat Honduras in their own back yard.
The 4-1 victory did cost the USA, with captain Christian Pulisic suffering an injury at the hour mark and being replaced by Cristian Roldan.
Things didn’t start out well for the Americans. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t blame the fans for thinking that this would be deja-vu all over again. Los Catrachos dominated the first half of the game and took advantage of some mediocre defending in the 27th minute as Brayan Moya’s header from close range beat Matt Turner.
As the saying goes, it was a game of two halves and the second half belonged to the Americans. Realizing that things were not going his way, Berhalter, who was criticized for waiting too late to make substitutions against Canada, was not going to make that mistake again. Brenden Aaronson, Sebastian Lletget and Antonee Robinson came off the bench to start the second half. Those three substitutions paid off with the trio finding the back of the net.
It took just three minutes after the intermission for the Yanks to get back into the game. Robinson scored from six yards out after the Hondurans were unable to clear their box. In the 75th minute, Ricardo Pepi used his head and scored his on his international debut. The debutant turned provider for the Americans’ next score as his sweet pass picked out Aaronson, who easily slotted the ball past Los Catrachos keeper. To round off the scoring, Lletget struck his eighth international goal for the USA in stoppage time.
With Canada winning their game against El Salvador and Mexico drawing Panama, the USA managed to move up to the third spot for automatic qualification to the Qatar World Cup.
The Americans will get back together in October and continue their road to Qatar with a pair of home games against Jamaica and Costa Rica, as well as a road trip to Panama. They will be hoping that Zack Steffen, Gio Reyna, Sergiño Dest and now Pulisic will be back to full fitness for these encounters.