Jesus scored four goals against Grenada. Jesus also got criticized. What gives?
Coming off of a four-goal performance against Grenada, it seems unlikely that Ferreira’s status as a starter for the United States Men’s National Team would be in question.
Sure, Grenada is hardly the best competition in the world, but the US has struggled to find an out-and-out starter at forward for years now, especially as Jozy Altidore has struggled with health. Ricardo Pepi also has a shout, but his winter transfer to Augsburg revealed his need for growth to get to the next level. In the meanwhile, guys like Jordan Pefok and Haji Wright are tantalized with decent play in their leagues but as of yet, it hasn’t translated to play on the pitch for Yanks.
That hasn’t stopped some on USMNT twitter, a notorious hive of scum and villainy, from criticizing the young no. 9. A common refrain was that Jesus should have scored eight goals against Grenada. Hard-headed and wishful fans keep pining for a magical player who will elevate the US to world-beaters. Jesus scored four, stop being so greedy, y’all!
Of course, this doesn’t mean Ferreira shouldn’t get criticized when he offers up a stinker or that there shouldn’t be competition, but for now, it’s hard to imagine someone coming in to stake a claim to the spot. It’s Jesus’ to lose.
And why shouldn’t he?
Ferreira is more than a goal scorer – he helps create space for other players. In a dynamic, if young roster for the US, there are plenty of guys who can slot the ball home. Paul Arriola plays well with Jesus. Christian Pulisic is the closest the US has to a global superstar. Tim Weah is emerging and gaining strength. Brendan Aaronsan and De Le Torre are playmakers who put other teams into dangerous spots. Ferreira gives Berhalter an attacking focus on the field who can also create chances for other players. Flexibility is really helpful on any international roster.
Ferreira is one of the leading goal scorers in his team. While you can grouse about the lack of quality in Major League Soccer, it’s only gotten better each year. Jesus is thriving under a new coach and with a team that employs a similar tactical style to the US. He will continue to start. He will continue to feature. If he can keep scoring, he will likely be in form come November.
Pefok and Wright might be too come the fall, so it’s imperative that Jesus stay healthy and continue to use his minutes to get better and better.
Ferreira is young and will grow. While the US are hoping for a strong showing this year, with this squad and with so many guys in flux or trying to lock down permanent roles with good teams, the USA has no doubt circled World Cup 2026 on our home continent for a potential huge run deep into the competition. Ferreira can earn a swift transfer if he shows well this year and become a vital cog for the USA for years.
Again, should he continue to have to perform and fight for his spot? Yes! Should other guys get a look in the coming months? Of course! Will he start for at least some of the World Cup matches? Absolutely.
A lot can unfold between then and now, but the cynicism from some in the USMNT fan base is not a good look. Let’s not criticize guys for scoring four goals, especially when our other options score very little.