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USMNT starts 2021 with 7-0 win over T&T (video)


Jan 31, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; United States of America forward Paul Arriela (7) celebrates after a goal against Trinidad and Tobago during the first half at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The USMNT kicked off its busy 2020 schedule as the nearly all-MLS-based squad romped to a 7-0 victory over a severely undermanned and unfit Trinidad and Tobago side at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

[ MORE: USMNT players to watch on transfer deadline day in Europe ]

20-year-old Jesus Ferreira was deployed as a false-9 and had a goal and three assists in the opening 45 minutes. Paul Arriola, who’s currently linked with a move to EFL Championship side Swansea City where he would join fellow USMNT-er Jordan Morris, ahead of transfer deadline day on Monday, scored two of the goals set up by Ferreira.

The Yanks broke the deadlock after just 100 seconds, thanks to an unselfish decision by Ferreira to set Jonathan Lewis for his first USMNT goal. Left back Sam Vines played an aggressive ball in behind the T&T defense and Ferreira latched onto it as goalkeeper Adrian Foncette rushed off his line and wound up in no man’s land. Ferreira turned toward goal and looked set to fire for the far post, but opted instead to play the ball sideways for the late-arriving Lewis. The finish was elementary, but well taken.

Seven minutes later, it was Vines, 21, who made the lung-busting, overlapping run to the end line — played in by Lewis — before crossing to Ferreira at the near post. The 20-year-old FC Dallas academy product applied the first-time finish for a 2-0 lead.

Goal no. 3 came in the 22nd minute, and again it was Ferreira’s movement, control and vision which made it possible. First came Arriola’s through ball in behind, with which Ferreira raced into the T&T penalty area before cutting inside and laying the ball back for the late-arriving Arriola who continued his surging from the center circle.

Ferreira set up Arriola again just before halftime, heading an ambitious ball into space, leaving Arriola still with plenty to do to send a left-footed strike off the hands of Foncette.

[ PULISIC: USMNT star comes on as halftime sub, nabs assist (video) ]

Miles Robinson headed home the fifth goal after Kellyn Acosta’s free kick to the far post was headed back across the face of goal by Aaron Long, who’s also the subject of transfer rumors ahead of deadline day.

Lewis’s second goal, and the USMNT’s sixth, was the best of the bunch as the Colorado Rapids winger raced down the left flank before cutting inside and unleashing a right-footed laser low and inside the far post.

Ferreira grabbed his second goal in the 62nd minute as Arriola returned the favor with a simple ball to the top of the box, where Ferreira finish with quick and clinical precision.

T&T looked like they would get on the scoreboard in the 66th minute after USMNT debutant Andres Perea, following his one-time switch from Colombia, was whistled for a high boot inside the penalty area. However, goalkeeper Matt Turner, another transfer target for various European clubs, had other ideas.

A number of the players called into this year’s January camp are expected to feature at various points in 2021 with Nations League, Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying on the docket over the next 11 months.

The vast majority of the T&T squad is domestic-based and hasn’t played a single game since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the T&T league last March.

Follow @AndyEdMLS