ORLANDO, Fla. – Former standouts in the USL Championship, League One and League Two all made debuts, while ex-FC Tulsa loanee Jesus Ferreira led the attack with a two-goal, three-assist night and ex-Richmond Kickers loanee Matt Turner marked his first appearance in United States colors with a penalty kick save as the United States Men’s National Team defeated Trinidad & Tobago 7-0 on Sunday night at Exploria Stadium.
Nine players that had recorded a combined 168 appearances and logged more than 13,000 minutes in the USL Championship were named in Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s starting lineup, and it didn’t take long for three to combine for the opening goal. Two minutes in, former Charlotte Independence defender Sam Vines threaded a pass from the left in behind the Soca Warriors’ back line for Ferreira, who gained possession and centered for former Louisville City FC loanee Jonathan Lewis to notch his first goal for his country.
Inside 10 minutes the trio combined again as Lewis found Vines on an overlapping run on the left, and his low cross was met first-time by Ferreira at the near post for his first goal for the USMNT. Ferreira added two more assists before halftime as he set up a pair of goals by Paul Arriola.
The theme of firsts continued in the second half as former Boston Bolts defender Miles Robinson notched his first goal for the U.S. with a close-range finish after 2016 Championship Defender of the Year Aaron Long’s knock-down header off a free kick. Then came Turner’s moment as he denied former OKC Energy FC defender Alvin Jones from the penalty spot on the Soca Warriors’ best chance to score on the night.
Turner and former FC Tucson defender Aaron Herrera were both named in the starting lineup for the U.S. as they made their debuts, and they were joined in the second half by former Atlanta United 2 defender George Bello, former North Texas SC midfielder Tanner Tessmann and former OKC Energy FC U23 forward Daryl Dike in making their first appearances for the side.
The success of the U.S. attack made for a tough night for the Trinidad & Tobago side playing its first competitive game in more than a year, but the night did bring senior international debuts for the Charleston Battery’s Leland Archer and Atlanta United 2’s Ajani Fortune, who joined older brother Dre Fortune of North Carolina FC in the starting lineup. Forward Madison FC’s Josiah Trimmingham was handed the captain’s armband for the first time for his country.
Indy Eleven standout Neveal Hackshaw also featured as a second-half substitute and produced a bright performance, as did 2019 Championship Final-winner Noah Powder, previously of Real Monarchs SLC, who came on late to make his senior national team debut.