USMNT steamrolls El Salvador to close out 2020 with six-goal romp

USMNT steamrolls El Salvador to close out 2020 with six-goal romp

CONCACAF

USMNT steamrolls El Salvador to close out 2020 with six-goal romp

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — It may not be New Year’s Eve yet, but the U.S. Men’s National Team just ended the year with quite the party.

The USMNT capped 2020 in emphatic fashion on Wednesday night, scoring a whopping five goals in an 11-minute span in the first half of a commanding 6-0 win over El Salvador in the friendly at Inter Miami CF Stadium

Chris Mueller led the way for the Americans in his USMNT debut, delivering two goals and an assist, while fellow newcomer Ayo Akinola also scored in his debut.

Paul Arriola, Sebastian Lletget, and Brenden Aaronson also found the back of the net in a match that saw the USMNT improve its record vs. El Salvador to 17-1-5.

One of three USMNT starters making their debuts, Mueller opened his international account by bagging a brace with finishes in the 20th and 25th minutes. The Orlando City attacker’s first came off low strike from the top of the penalty area, and the second came off an impressive diving header at the back post.

Mueller also set up the first and fifth goals in the match, though he was only credited with an assist on the latter. The youngster cut a deflected ball back to Arriola for a cross-body finish that opened the scoring after 17 minutes, and teed up Akinola’s first international goal 10 minutes later.

Sandwiched in between those tallies and Mueller’s double was a classy 23rd-minute chip from Lletget, who got on the end of a through ball down the middle from Aaronson before lofting the ball over El Salvador goalkeeper Henry Hernandez.

Lletget and Aaronson combined again for a goal in the 50th minute, but this time it was the veteran who was the provider. Pulling off a filthy shimmy down the left to free himself of his mark, Lletget fed Aaronson in the middle for an open shot that ricocheted its way into the back of the net.

Playing in a 4-3-3 formation throughout the game, the Americans exploited wide areas create a number of their chances. They regularly hit diagonal passes or through balls into the spaces behind, a tactic that El Salvador struggled to find an answer for. The USMNT outshot the Salvadorans by a 22-3 margin.

The Central American nation, which was out-possessed by a 61-39 percent margin, had the game’s first look when Jose Diaz tested USMNT goalkeeper Bill Hamid with a shot from distance. That effort was not a sign of things to come, however, as the USMNT bossed much of the rest of the opening stanza on the way to posting the rout.

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