Bruce Arena's first World Cup qualifier back as U.S. national team coach saw the 65-year-old do something that never happened during the Jurgen Klinsmann era: Start Christian Pulisic and Clint Dempsey together.
Pulisic was still new to the U.S. fold when Dempsey starred at the Copa America Centenario last summer, after all, while Dempsey was sidelined by a heart condition when Pulisic broke out for the national team in the fall.
Sixteen years may separate the duo in age, but they share a brash confidence and knack for making things happen in the final third. After they led the U.S. to a 6-0 shellacking of Honduras on Friday, with Dempsey notching a hat trick and Pulisic playing a part in five goals, it's safe to say we'll be seeing this combination again.
Here are Goal's player ratings from the USA's emphatic triumph at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California:
GK TIM HOWARD, 6: Wasn't called upon often but offered a calming presence in goal, doing well to avoid rebounds.
D GEOFF CAMERON, 6: Had one or two nervy moments but ultimately got the job done over 59 minutes at right back. His size was particularly useful when it came to cutting out Honduran switches.
D OMAR GONZALEZ, 6: Partnered decently enough in central defense with Brooks, justifying the decision to push Cameron out wide.
D JOHN BROOKS, 7: Bounced back from his struggles against Costa Rica in November with a steady outing, making one crucial intervention to deny Erick Andino. Exited with 20 minutes remaining because of dehydration.
D JORGE VILLAFANA, 6: It was a World Cup qualifying debut for Villafana, and just his third cap overall, but the left back looked right at home while keeping Andy Najar under wraps.
M SEBASTIAN LLETGET, 7: Opened the scoring with an opportunistic finish at the far post and displayed plenty of energy before seeing his night cut short by an ankle injury after 18 minutes.
M MICHAEL BRADLEY, 7: Had the freedom to dictate possession from a deep-lying role and got in on the act offensively, scoring an impressive left-footed strike from range.
M DARLINGTON NAGBE, 6: It was a quietly effective performance on the left flank from Nagbe, who was slick on the ball and provided some promising play in transition.
M CHRISTIAN PULISIC, 9: The 18-year-old set the stage for Lletget's opener with a deflected shot, provided a pair of perfectly weighted assists, scored a goal of his own seconds after halftime and drew the foul that led to Dempsey's free kick strike. The vision, the touch, the confidence — this was an outing that will be talked about for years to come.
F CLINT DEMPSEY, 9: Well this sure didn't look like a player coming off a six-month layoff. The 34-year-old combined brilliantly with Pulisic and Altidore, and his hat trick came on three distinctly different finishes: an emphatic volley, a run behind the back line and an audacious free kick.
F JOZY ALTIDORE, 8: The striker didn't find the net but Altidore was still pivotal to the U.S. attack, helping orchestrate three goals with his stellar hold-up play.
M ALEJANDRO BEDOYA, 6: Gamely stepped in for Lletget, offering work ethic and useful movement on the flank.
D GRAHAM ZUSI, 6: Held his own in a 31-minute appearance at right back. Largely played it safe but did have his moments getting forward.
D TIM REAM, 5: Got the job done in central defense, though he did look a tad out of sync at times after replacing Brooks for the final 20 minutes.