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Ricardo Pepi sparks U.S. men's soccer comeback vs. Honduras

Ricardo Pepi (R) became the second-youngest player (18) in history to debut for the United States Men's National Team in a World Cup qualifier in a win over Honduras on Wednesday in Honduras. Photo by Gustavo Amador/EPA-EFE
Ricardo Pepi (R) became the second-youngest player (18) in history to debut for the United States Men's National Team in a World Cup qualifier in a win over Honduras on Wednesday in Honduras. Photo by Gustavo Amador/EPA-EFE

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- United States Men's National Team striker Ricardo Pepi scored the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute to launch a second-half comeback for a 4-1 win over Honduras in a World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Antonee Robinson, Brenden Aaronson and Sebastian Lletget also scored in the 4-1 win Wednesday at Metropolitan Olympic Stadium.

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Forward Brayan Moya gave Honduras a 1-0 lead with a header in the 27th minute. Left back Diego Rodriguez assisted that goal with a cross through the U.S. box.

Honduras held that lead through the first half. Robinson scored the equalizer three minutes into the second half. Pepi, the second-youngest player ever to appear for the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier, assisted that score.

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Pepi flicked a cross back to Robinson while inside the Honduras box in the 48th minute. The left wing used his first touch to curl a shot into the right side of the net past Honduras keeper Luis Lopez.

Pepi put the Americans ahead with less than 20 minutes left in regulation. Center midfielder DeAndre Yedlin received the ball on the right flank to start that play. He controlled the pass and lofted a cross into the box.

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Pepi jumped up in the middle of a crowd and headed a shot into the right side of the net.

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Aaronson gave the U.S. men a 3-1 edge with another score in the 86th minute. Pepi also assisted that goal.

The 18-year-old stole the ball near midfielder and raced down the right flank. He then slid a pass to Aaronson, who blasted a shot into the net from about 15 yards away.

Lletget found the net for a final time in the third minute of stoppage time. Pepi fired a shot during that play, but the attempt was blocked by Lopez. Lletget tapped in the rebound from point-blank range.

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The U.S. men battel Jamaica in the final round of World Cup qualification at 7:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 7 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.

They are tied with Canada and Panama for second place in their group, which is led by Mexico.

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