U.S. Routs Honduras 6-0 as Clint Dempsey Scores Hat Trick

Clint Dempsey made his return following an irregular heartbeat to record his second hat trick in international play, while Christian Pulisic the 18-year old phenom scored one goal and assisted on three more.

The end result was the U.S. routed CONCACAF rival Honduras 6-0 on Friday to find itself back in contention for an eighth consecutive berth in the World Cup.

Sebastian Lletget a surprise starter scored his first international goal after just five minutes of the match, after a shot by Pulisic deflected of the goalkeeper. The lead was pushed to 2-0 in minute 27 when Michael Bradley scored.

The U.S. went up 3-0 on Dempsey’s first goal in minute 32 off a perfect chip by Pulisic.

Finding empty space to move the ball in his center midfield role, the sensational Pulisic scored to push the score to 4-0 only 12 seconds after the second half had started.

In minute 49, Dempsey scored following another great feed from Pulisic and he added his third goal of the night on a free kick from 23 yards in minute 54.

With a total of 55 international goals, Dempsey is within just two of the all-time U.S. record of 57 held by Landon Donovan.

In the first competitive match since Bruce Arena took over for Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. men moved from last in the standings to fourth, tied with Honduras at 3 points but ahead due to goal difference.

Mexico is leading with 7 points after defeating Costa Rica Friday night at home. Costa Rica is second with six points, while Panama is third with four.

The three top nations qualify for the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia and the team finishing fourth advances to a playoff.

The U.S. plays at Panama on Tuesday and with a win could move into third place.

The 6-0 rout of Honduras was the first time the U.S. was victorious in a hexagonal match by over 3 goals.

American soccer was in the dumps back in November when the men open their hexagonal round with a home loss of 2-1 to Mexico and then were embarrassed by Costa Rica 4-0.

The two defeats caused Klinsmann to be fired by the U.S. Soccer Federation, who brought Arena back. Arena was the USMNT coach from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, who is 34, hopes to reach his fourth World Cup. He was sidelined between last August and early March due to an irregular heartbeat. He likely started because Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood were injured.