Fantastic Ferreira scores four! USMNT striker can breathe a sigh of relief after flurry of goals
My God, it was necessary.
Say what you want about the circumstances. Let’s say it was only against Grenada or only in the Nations League. You can even say “well, it had to happen eventually”.
But Jesus Ferreira needed each of the four goals he scored on Friday night. And, perhaps more importantly, the United States Men’s National Team needed to see him score each of those four goals he scored on Friday night.
As the USMNT striker debate rages on, Ferreira provided a much-needed quartet of goals in a 5-0 Nations League thrashing of lowly Granada. After matches against Morocco and Uruguay that didn’t really grow his stock as a No.9, Ferreira certainly found his finishing shoes on Friday night.
It was a memorable night for Ferreira, who more than doubled his USMNT goal tally. And it was a relief for Gregg Berhalter and the USMNT, who finally saw a striker do the trick in front of goal.
Now, all of this requires context. This game was ultimately against Grenada, a team consisting of a player from the ninth division of English football. And it was a Nations League game, a competition that at this point is basically designed for the USMNT, Mexico and Canada to bully everyone in their path.
It wasn’t Uruguay or Morocco. It certainly wasn’t Wales, England or Iran, the USMNT’s future World Cup opponents. It was essentially a controlled scrimmage against a team that USA would not come close to losing to, even on their worst day.
But hey, you have to start somewhere, right?
Ferreira, currently top scorer in MLS despite being just 21, had a first half that looked a lot like the four that have come before it this window. For 43 minutes, it was a story of missed opportunities.
He had missed several in the first two games of the window, and while his game and game-sense were on point, he was blamed for it. But then, all of a sudden, just before half-time, the floodgates opened.
His first was in the 43rd minute, opening the scoring with a strong finish from inside the box. It was a sign of things to come, with three more to come in the second half.
Number two was a one-on-one, confident hold that was lacking against Morocco and Uruguay. Number three was the best of the bunch, a rocket for the first time from a set piece. And then number four was a striker’s dream, a tap-in just yards away.
And what a relief it will be for a player who simply needed those goals. To be fair, most USMNT forwards could have scored four against Grenada but that night it was Ferreira, a player who pretty much went straight in addition to finding the back of the net .
The pressure is now off for Ferreira, who can put those questions behind him. Four goals against Grenada probably don’t count as much as one against Uruguay or Morocco, but they will count for something as we get closer to the World Cup.
Ferreira wasn’t the only star of the USMNT on Friday. Few people will really increase their stock in this area, given the opposition, but no one really got hurt either. Berhalter may not have learned anything he doesn’t already know, but he’ll be glad he didn’t see anything horribly, horribly wrong.
Luca de la Torre once again looked fantastic, showing why he has almost certainly booked his place in Qatar. Paul Arriola got on the scoresheet, adding a goal to go along with the endless energy he often brings. On a day when he joined Celtic on a permanent basis, Cameron Carter-Vickers paired Aaron Long with a relatively relaxing clean sheet.
But this day was about Ferreira and, more importantly, his goals.
They won’t secure a starting spot in Qatar because there’s simply too much time between now and the World Cup to settle everything. Haji Wright will get his chance to start on Tuesday. Ricardo Pepi, Daryl Dike and Josh Sargent may all have something to say once the European seasons kick off.
A lot can change by November, and there are still three games to go before Berhalter must submit their final squad.
Ferreira will almost certainly be there, having earned his place over the past year for club and country. He probably doesn’t have to worry about that.
He can also stop worrying about goals, criticisms, missed chances. Ferreira and the USMNT can time out for now and celebrate a much-needed blowout that went exactly as planned.