(Words by Michael Citro, images by Dan MacDonald)
The only disappointment in the United States Men’s National Team’s 7-0 dismantling of Trinidad & Tobago’s far-from-first-choice lineup at Exploria Stadium last night is that hometown lad Benji Michel of Orlando City didn’t get into the action. Michel was one of four Lions to make Gregg Berhalter’s roster for the friendly but the only one not to see the field.
However, Orlando fans got to see a full 45 minutes of Andres Perea in his USMNT debut and those on hand also witnessed the national team debut of striker Daryl Dike. Chris Mueller, meanwhile, came off the bench to earn his second career cap.
As for the match itself, it was a trio of braces for Berhalter’s starting three attacking players up top, as Jonathan Lewis, Jesus Ferreira, and Paul Arriola each scored a pair of goals. Ferreira also assisted on three goals. Meanwhile, defender Miles Robinson scored his first career USMNT goal in his first start.
On the other end of the pitch, Matt Turner made his first start for the United States and all he did was stop a penalty kick and keep a clean sheet. Not a bad debut.
Despite the lopsided score, the evening could have been even worse for the visitors. Several chances weren’t taken, as players slipped in behind the leaky T&T defense and either hit the goalkeeper squarely or missed the target. Lewis himself missed a hat trick only because his point-blank header was off-line and nodded horizontally back toward the keeper instead of into the gaping net in front of him.
Aside from the goal scorers, midfielder Kellyn Acosta and fullbacks Sam Vines and Aaron Herrera each played well and created problems for the Soca Warriors.
Perea came on at the half and generally played well, completing all but four of his pass attempts and hearing a hearty cheer from the home crowd every time he touched the ball. He did, however, have the dubious distinction of conceding the penalty, but Turner bailed him out by saving Alvin Jones’ attempt.
We hope you enjoy these images from a memorable night at Exploria Stadium, as the U.S. took a young T&T squad to task with the help of three of Orlando City’s finest.