Ferreira Grenada 2022 USMNTGetty

Fantastic Ferreira nets four! USMNT striker can breathe sigh of relief after avalanche of goals

My goodness, that was needed.

Say what you want about the circumstances. Say it was only against Grenada or only in the Nations League. You can even say "well, it was bound to happen eventually".

But Jesus Ferreira needed each of the four goals he scored on Friday night. And, perhaps more importantly, the U.S. men's national team needed to see him score each of those four goals he scored on Friday night.

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With the USMNT striker debate raging on and on, Ferreira provided a much-needed quartet of goals in a 5-0 Nations League over lowly Grenada. After matches against Morocco and Uruguay did little to truly boost his stock as the No. 9, Ferreira certainly found his finishing boots on Friday night.

It was a night to remember 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 business in front of goal.

Now, this does all require context. This match was, ultimately, against Grenada, a team that featured a player from the ninth division of English soccer. And this was a match in the Nations League, a competition that, in this stage, is basically designed for the USMNT, Mexico and Canada to bully everyone in their path.

This wasn't Uruguay or Morocco. This certainly wasn't Wales, England or Iran, the USMNT's future World Cup opponents. This was basically a controlled scrimmage against a team that the U.S. wouldn't come close to losing to even on their worst day.

But hey - you have to start somewhere, right?

Ferreira, currently MLS' leading goalscorer despite being just 21, had a first half that looked a lot like the four that preceded it this window. For 43 minutes, it was a tale of missed chances.

He'd missed several in the first two games of the window and, even if his playmaking and feel for the game were on point, that was being held against him. But then, all of a sudden, just before halftime, the floodgates opened.

His first was in the 43rd minute, opening the scoring on a solid finish from inside the box. It was a sign of things to come, with three more coming in the second half.

Number two was a one-on-one finish, one taken with confidence that was lacking against Morocco and Uruguay. Number three was the best of the bunch, a first-time rocket from a set-piece. And then number four was a striker's dream, a tap-in from just a few yards out.

And what a relief that will be for a player that simply needed those goals to go in. To be fair, most USMNT strikers could have scored four against Grenada but, on this night, it was Ferreira, a player that has been doing just about everything right besides finding the back of the net.

The pressure is off now for Ferreira, who can put those questions behind him. Four goals against Grenada probably don't count quite as much as one against Uruguay or Morocco, but they will count for something as we inch closer to the World Cup.

Ferreira wasn't the only standout star for the USMNT on Friday. Few will truly raise their stock in this, given the opposition, but no one really hurt themselves either. Berhalter may not have learned anything he didn't already know, but he'll be happy to have seen nothing go horribly, horribly wrong.

Luca de la Torre looked fantastic once again, showing why he's almost certainly booked his spot in Qatar. Paul Arriola got on the scoresheet, adding a goal to go with the endless energy he often brings. On a day where he joined Celtic permanently, Cameron Carter-Vickers partnered Aaron Long to a relatively relaxing clean sheet.

But this day was about Ferreira and, more importantly, his goals.

They won't lock up a starting spot in Qatar, as there's simply too much time between now and the World Cup to sort that all out. 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 get up and running.

Much can change between now and November, and there are still three games left to be played before Berhalter needs to submit his final squad.

Ferreira will almost certainly be on it, having earned his place over the last year for club and country. He likely doesn't need to worry about that.

He can also stop worrying about the goals, the criticism, the missed chances. Ferreira and the USMNT can exhale for now and celebrate a much-needed blowout that went exactly as expected.