Pepi leads USMNT past Honduras; Pulisic exits early

Ricardo Pepi scored a goal and had three assists as the United States raced to a 4-1 win at Honduras in a World Cup qualifying match that saw Christian Pulisic hobble off with an injury.

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The result in San Pedro Sula gives the USMNT its first win after two consecutive draws to open up the qualifying round.

FC Dallas star Pepi, 18, was the standout star in his international debut as he became the second youngest USMNT player to appear in a World Cup qualifier, after only Pulisic.

Brayan Maya put Honduras ahead in the 27th minute of a one-sided first half as the Catrachos dominated before a horn-blowing full house at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.

Following the break, U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter made several lineup changes, including introducing Antonee Robinson, whose 48th-minute shot off Pepi’s initial attempt equalized the match.

In the 62nd minute, Pulisic was substituted off after he appeared to have an injury. He needed treatment after a challenge, then fell to the ground after trying to sprint on a dribble. He was replaced by Cristian Roldan.

Pepi then scored the U.S. squad’s second in the 75th minute when he headed in DeAndre Yedlin‘s cross.

Brenden Aaronson effectiely sealed the three points when he powered in a shot in the 86th minute with Sebastian Lletget scoring in stoppage time, both set up by Pepi.

Mexico leads the eight-team table with seven points, followed by Panama, Canada and the U.S. with five each. Honduras and El Salvador have two each, and Jamaica none. The top three sides will qualify for the World Cup in 2022, while the fourth-placed team will enter a playoff for a spot in Qatar.


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