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2023 Concacaf Nations League: USA 7-1 Grenada - A touchdown on the Island of Spice

It was a big night for the USA as Nations League Group will wrap up this international break

Netherlands v USA: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The USMNT would embark on its first competitive match of 2023 against Grenada at the Kirani James National Stadium. Qualification to the 2024 Copa America hosted in the United States of America would be on the line as the USA needs to finish in the top six of the Nations League to participate in the tournament.

The USA lined up with not a single MLS player in the 23 man roster for the first time since MLS has existed. That sound you heard as that fact was distributed across the internet was Eurosnobs yelling “MLS HAS EVEN BEEN ECLIPSED BY MY LIFELONG FAVORITE CLUB SINCE 2022 KVC WESTERLO” and MLS well actually-ers yelling “ALMOST ALL OF THE PLAYERS EITHER PLAYED IN MLS TEAMS OR WERE PARTS OF THEIR ACADEMIES.”

For their part, Grenada’s roster included players representing Queens Park Rangers (in their domestic league) and Queens Park Rangers (in the Championship).

The field... could have used some work. This isn’t the exact field, but it’s a close approximation:


In the end, the USA overmatched the Spice Boys and came home with a convincing 7-1 victory.


The USMNT started off firing on all cylinders and their fast start was rewarded with a goal in the 5th minute when Christian Pulisic did a quick switch of the ball to his right foot to create space for a cross which found Ricardo Pepi who headed it home.

The Spice Boys were not fazed by this whatsoever and a minute later nearly equalized but only found the post for their trouble. The teams continued with a fast pace as Grenada was somewhat happy to play an open game against the USA.

This would be a bold strategy that didn’t quite pay dividends even with the statement of intent from hitting the post. In the 20th minute Brenden Aaronson received a pass from Pulisic and fired off a shot inside the 18 that skittered into the goal to make the score 2-0.

Grenada kept pushing forward after the goal, but didn’t really look like they would trouble the USA backline. This was very fortunate because the team looked a touch disorganized at the back as the half continued.

Weston McKennie would make it 3-0 on a set piece served in by Pulisic that bounced off of a few players before Wes took to the air and smashed it in Zlatan style on the volley.

The Spice Boys immediately answered as the disorganized backline of the USA was exposed and Stockport County’s Myles Hippolyte scored on a well struck ball from about 15 yards out that Telemundo described as a “zurdazo” which translates as a left handed punch from a boxer, and I’d say it was that indeed.

A five a side game then broke out as the USA immediately responded on another set piece and another ball bouncing around in front of the goal before McKennie got his second of the match.

The half would end with the score at 4-1 as the teams put on a display of fun but quite messy soccer. In some ways the half was CONCACAF at its most pure, a team in the top 20 taking on a team in 80th or whatever of the FIFA rankings on the way to maybe playing the perfect CONCACAF game that would end 12-5 maybe.

It would not take too long after the second half started for the USA to take a 5-1 lead when Christian Pulisic took advantage of a bobbled save from Belfon in goal.

Three minutes later Ricardo Pepi made a run in past the Grenada backline and picked a spot in goal to place his shot to beat the charging Belfon.

Since the USA was winning 6-1 Anthony Hudson went to the bench and brought in Daryl Dike and Yunus Musah for McKennie and Pepi at about the hour mark. Pulisic would follow soon after as he and Reyna made way for Taylor Booth and Alejandro Zendejas. Pulisic was excellent on the night while Reyna, who really, really, really, wanted to play a lot in the World Cup was quiet.

Zendejas would score his first goal with the USA in style as he put the seventh goal in the net for the Stars and Stripes.

A final sub for the USA in the 75th minute saw Luca de la Torre come off for Johnny Cardoso. The next 15 minutes somehow didn’t see more goals and the referee ended match after zero minutes of added time with the USA coming away with a 7-1 victory.