United States 6, Honduras 0 - Rampant Return for Dempsey and USMNT

"He's just a natural, the game's easy for him", Arena said.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second worldwide hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the US routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth. "He's a great player". He can beat people one-on-one on the dribble. Period", Arena said. "Our goal on Friday is to win. "We had to win this game and have an aggressive attacking concept to break down a team that defends very well and gets good numbers behind the ball in good spots on the field".

Before Pulisic became an American phenom, he was a wunderkind in Germany.

The Borussia Dortmund player ran the midfield and was magnificent, showing that he is the leader of the next generation of world football talent.

It did not take long for the first goal of the night to be scored, with the Americans breaking the deadlock in the fifth minute.

Dempsey missed the end of the Major League Soccer season after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, and admitted he experienced some bleak moments during his layoff.

"You know me, I'm a fighter", he said after Friday's match.

Jorge Villafana: Suffered from a case of the jitters early, rushing his passes and looking like his heart rate was somewhere in the 200-2250 zone for the better part of the first half.

Often overlooked by Jurgen Klinsmann, Nagbe will likely have a chance to impress his new manager soon.

The U.S. was relentless coming out of the locker room, with Pulisic converting 12 seconds into the second half to give the MNT a 4-0 lead. Arena did not hesitate to compare Pulisic today with the Donovan of yesteryear. The U.S. will need to lean on him in order to ensure they don't get left out of the 2018 World Cup. "It's obviously an honor, but I'm my own player, as well".

"Do I think I'm able to go out there and do 90 minutes in World Cup qualifiers?"

Now Dempsey is just two goals shy of Landon Donovan's United States men's national team record for career goals.

The referee was signaling an advantage call when the goal was scored, meaning the US likely would have received a penalty kick if Dempsey's shot had been saved or gone wide.

The Dortmund star has a vision unmatched by anyone in this squad. "That'd be great if I can be around for that".

Already, Pulisic has earned special treatment. Every U.S. player had a fire-not just to win but to demolish the opponent. When Pulisic speaks in group sessions, he is poised and thoughtful. "So it's a natural evolution, and I'm glad it's happening".

The frenzy part comes after the American team lost its first two matches (vs. Mexico and at Costa Rica) in the Hexagonal, the final round of regional qualifying that will send the top three finishers to Russian Federation next year and a fourth to a playoff for another spot in the 32-team field.

"When you look around on big days, he's a guy that you want next to you", said Michael Bradley, who succeeded Dempsey as national team captain. "I'm just going to go out like in any other game and play like I play".

Bruce Arena's return as US coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

"Yeah, it is in your mind, but if it comes it comes", he said. "We are where we are, and now it's about on Friday night beginning this process of moving ourselves back up the table - stepping on the field from the first minute and playing in a really, really aggressive way that ultimately leaves no doubt as to who's stepping off the field the victor".

  • Julie Sanders