Pepi becomes the first player since 2004 to score in a World Cup Qualifier while making his debut
FRISCO, TX (September 9, 2021) – FC Dallas Homegrown Ricardo Pepi became the second-youngest U.S. Men’s National Team player to score in a World Cup Qualifier at 18 years and 242 days old after scoring the game-winning goal in the 4-1 come-from-behind win against Honduras Wednesday night in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. He also was the second youngest player to make his senior team debut behind Christian Pulisic who made his debut at 17 years and 193 days.
Pepi is the fourth-youngest player to score in his USMNT debut, trailing only Juan Agudelo, Josh Sargent and Landon Donovan. He is also the first USMNT player to score while making his international debut in a World Cup qualifying match since Eddie Johnson in 2004. He's the youngest to score while making his debut in WCQ. Following the 4-1 win, Pepi was named Man of the Match.
The USMNT was trailing 1-0 leading into the first half after Honduras’ Brayan Moya scored in the 27th minute. USMNT’s Antonee Robinson tied the match in the 48th minute after picking up a loose ball in the box following a deflection from Pepi who was credited with the assist. Pepi scored his first USMNT goal, the game-winner, in the 75th minute after heading in a cross from DeAndre Yedlin to give the Stars and Stripes a 2-1 lead.
The El Paso native picked up his second assist in the 86th minute after laying off a pass to Brenden Aaronson inside the box following a giveaway from Honduras. USMNT’s Sebastian Lletget added a fourth goal in stoppage time from a rebound after Honduras’ goalkeeper blocked Pepi’s shot.
The USMNT are now third in the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying standings with five points and a 1-0-2 record. The USMNT will return to action during the October World Cup qualifying window, facing Jamaica in Austin, Texas, Panama in Panama City, Panama and Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio.
About Ricardo Pepi
Pepi came to the FC Dallas Academy in Frisco, TX in 2016 after playing for the club’s El Paso affiliate. Pepi made his MLS debut for FC Dallas coming off-the-bench for the final six minutes on June 22, 2019 against Toronto FC. He currently leads FC Dallas with 11 goals in 2021 and is tied for fifth overall in Major League Soccer. Pepi made his first MLS All-Star Game appearance last month and scored the decisive goal in the fifth round of a penalty shootout to give the MLS All-Stars a victory over the Liga MX All-Stars in July.
HON: Brayan Moya (Diego Rodríguez) – 27’USA: Antonee Robinson (Ricardo Pepi) – 48’
USA: Ricardo Pepi (DeAndre Yedlin) – 75’
USA: Brenden Aaronson (Ricardo Pepi) – 86’
USA: Sebastian Lletget – 90’+3’