Ricardo Pepi and Christian Pulisic steal the show! Winners and Losers after the USMNT fire SEVEN past Grenada

Weston McKennie Christian Pulisic USMNT 2022-23
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The USMNT cruised to a 7-1 win against Grenada as Christian Pulisic & Ricardo Pepi starred to offer a welcome boost amid their struggles at club level

Sometimes, we all can use a good ole' fashioned confidence boost, and that's exactly what the U.S. men's national team got on Friday night.

The U.S. made it look easy in Grenada, scoring early and often in what ended up being a 7-1 win in the CONCACAF Nations League. Ricardo Pepi and Weston McKennie each scored twice, while Christian Pulisic, Brenden Aaronson and Alejandro Zendejas made their marks with goals as well.

It was the Chelsea man that truly stole the show, though, with a Man of the Match performance, although Pepi won't be too far behind thanks to his brace. That's good news for the USMNT, and for the players themselves, both of whom can use the confidence boost after some tough moments on the club level.

Overall, it was a lopsided win by a team that expected to win in lopsided fashion. There were good moments, and plenty of them, but this was little more than taking care of business.

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  1. WINNER: Christian Pulisic

    WINNER: Christian Pulisic

    Captain America with a performance worthy of the name.

    What a game this was for Pulisic, who reminded everyone watching of just how special he is. Yes, this was against Grenada, but it still was impressive watching Pulisic absolutely run a game against an overmatched opponent.

    Sometimes, watching Pulisic do his thing against lesser opponents is just fun. More than any other player in the USMNT pool, the Chelsea star can turn games like this into his own personal playground. We all want to see competitive games, of course, but sometimes it is just fun to watch a really, really good player do things that only a really, really good player can do against a team that has absolutely no hope of stopping him.

    He played a part in the first four goals and then scored one of his own in the second half, and that may even understate just how good he was. Pulisic surely had fun against Grenada and it was fun watching him.

    Now, onto the next. El Salvador looms and then, more importantly, a return to Chelsea, where he'll hopefully play with a bit more confidence after a good international break.

  2. LOSER: Grenada

    It's not their fault. They were simply overmatched.

    Just look at the USMNT XI. It included players that play for Chelsea, Leeds, Borussia Dortmund, Celta Vigo, Valencia, Arsenal. Grenada's best player plays in Belgium, and most of his teammates play nowhere near that level.

    It was a mismatch from the start and a mismatch throughout. No team ever wants to lose 7-1, especially at home, but this felt inevitable.

    They did well to get their goal, though: a good finish from Myles Hippolyte that gave the home fans something to cheer. The fans did deserve that much, as did Grenada, who played hard until the final whistle, as evidenced by a late horror tackle on Alejandro Zendejas.

    Still, this is just the nature of CONCACAF, where there's the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Canada, then a solid second tier, and then everyone else. Grenada are comfortably in the "everyone else" category, and that's how you get scorelines like this when the USMNT rolls into town.

  3. WINNER: Ricardo Pepi
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    WINNER: Ricardo Pepi

    All aboard! The train is leaving the station.

    Goals against Grenada won't fully restore the Pepi hype, but it's a start, right? He got two of them, his first since 2021, and, boy, will those do him some good.

    For a player that saw his confidence absolutely crater in 2022, the 2023 version of Pepi is looking pretty good. He's scoring goals with Groningen and is back scoring for the national team, making up some of the ground he lost after his disastrous Augsburg move.

    Goals against anyone will help, even Grenada. Will we need to see more from him? Absolutely, but he'll get those opportunities down the line.

    For now, Pepi will take his two goals and look forward to, hopefully, a few more soon.

  4. LOSER: Mexico
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    LOSER: Mexico

    Look away, El Tri. It seems you missed out on a good one.

    Alejandro Zendejas was fantastic after coming on for his USMNT debut which, notably, officially cap-tied him to the program. It's all over now: Zendejas is a USMNT player for good.

    And what a player he is, if this was any evidence. He scored a goal and could have had three more on another night. The Club America star absolutely tore Grenada to shreds every time he got on the ball, offering a pretty good glimpse into why so many thing he can actually compete to start on this team.

    Those decisions are for down the line, though. What matters now is that Zendejas has arrived, and he arrived in style.

  5. WINNER: Leeds United

    WINNER: Leeds United

    While one Leeds United star sat at home, the club's two other Americans stepped up with three of the seven goals.

    Tyler Adams could probably be heard cheering throughout West Yorkshire as he watched on as Weston McKennie and Brenden Aaronson went off in the first half. McKennie scored two, the USMNT's third and fourth, heading home one and volleying home another, while Aaronson danced his way through the box to net the USMNT's second.

    It was a good performance from both Leeds United stars, who could use any bit of positivity they can find as they look to survive a relegation scrap in the Premier League.

    Adams, meanwhile, will continue to nurse his hamstring injury, having been lifted by the sight of a good performance from the USMNT even with their usual captain sidelined.

  6. LOSER: Anyone who reads too much into matches like this
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    LOSER: Anyone who reads too much into matches like this

    Okay, we're not personally calling you a loser if you're one of those people, but just a reminder that there isn't too much to learn from a match like this.

    Yes, Joe Scally and Bryan Reynolds played well, but a good attacking performance against Grenada does little to prove that they can push Sergino Dest or Antonee Robinson for a fullback spot. The same can be said for Mark McKenzie or Auston Trusty in defense, or even the likes of Pepi up top or Taylor Booth off the bench. It's too early in the cycle to be overanalyzing a 7-1 win over Grenada.

    All you are looking for in this game are moments to build off of because the actual flow of the game will be too lopsided to pick on much else. There's just so little we can learn from watching the USMNT repeatedly score against a team that simply can't compete.

    So don't read too much into it. Take the win, enjoy the goals, and move onto the next one. Let the position battles be decided on another day.