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World Cup Qualifying

USMNT cruises to lopsided win over St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team needed three points from Friday’s match against St. Vincent & The Grenadines. Mission accomplished, and in emphatic fashion.

Goals from five different players, including two from Christian Pulisic, ensured a lopsided victory as the U.S. toppled the island nation, 6-0, at Arnos Vale Stadium. The win sees the U.S. claim the team’s 10th point heading into the final game of the World Cup qualifying round.

The victory sets up the U.S. with a chance to secure first place in its group on Tuesday against Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. saw its chances of securing a place in the Hex on Friday night spoiled by Guatemala, which tied Trinidad and Tobago to stay alive in qualifying, though far behind the Americans.

After squandering an early chance, Bobby Wood made amends in the 28th minute with a stunning strike for the game’s first goal. The Hamburg forward found himself on the end of a Fabian Johnson lay-off at the top of box, and Wood opted to fire a shot first-time from range. The shot curled into the far post, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute.

Three minutes later, Matt Besler doubled the lead, sealing a memorable day following the birth of his daughter on Friday morning. On the end of a misclearance, Besler pounced from close range, netting his first international goal.

Moments before halftime, it was Altidore’s turn to get on the scoresheet via a penalty kick. After Wood was taken out in the box, Altidore stepped to the spot and rocketed home a shot from the penalty spot, sending the U.S. into the locker room with a 3-0 cushion.

In the 67th minute, both Sacha Kljestan and Pulisic joined the fray, and less than three minutes later, they were combining for a goal. A Kljestan pass was placed right onto the foot of Pulisic, who took a flawless touch down in the center of the box. From there, the Borussia Dortmund attacker faced a tap past the onrushing goalkeeper for his second international goal.

Kljestan bagged a goal of his own in the 77th minute, tapping in an assist from Pulisic as the young playmaker returned the favor. In stoppage time, Pulisic added one more, sealing the most lopsided road World Cup qualifying win in USMNT history.

The start of the second half was significantly shakier for the U.S., who saw the ball slip past Brad Guzan twice before the 60th minute. However, both finishes were correctly ruled back by the linesman as the St. Vincent & the Grenadines attackers were ruled offside.

The U.S. cruised from there, sealing a big win over the group’s bottom-feeder. Trinidad & Tobago is up next, as the U.S. hosts Kenwyne Jones and co. on Tuesday in Jacksonville for the group stage finale.

33 comments
  • Gary Page

    This game went as it should have gone, which hasn’t always been true in the past. I think the US is showing its maturity as a team–taking care of business in a workmanlike fashion and dispatching a lesser opponent. After the Copa experience, I am feeling about as confident of the team as I ever have. If we can have all our starters healthy and with guys like Pulisic and Nagbe in reserve, this becomes a pretty darn good team.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

    I remember it like it was yesterday— laughing heartily at posters saying Jozy and wood would never work……while I calmly explained how they could work amazingly well. And now, after 4 starts together, 8 goals between them…..

    Facts Rule Everything Around Me…

    Like

    • Amru

      Ehh I’m not sold on the partnership. They are both true forwards and in my opinion that doesn’t work well in a 4-4-2. Against better teams that could lead to a huge gap between the mids and forwards

      Like

    • bizzy

      Sorry DLOA there was no “partnership” btw Wood and Altidore….. Your boy didn’t do anything (AGAINST ST VINCENT), none of his “cut-backs” worked for him, he couldn’t get any good shot on goal. if Bobby wood didn’t create a penalty due to his solo effort /drive into the box Altidore wouldn’t have seen the score sheet. When a true forward came in, two “smoothly orchestrated” goals (thanks to the movement of Kljestan) was the result

      Like

    • Louis Z

      I don’t think Jozy was as good as Wood, sure he scored on a penalty but apart from that, he really wasn’t that much of a threat, others say he did all of the dirty work of getting hacked but so did Wood and he looked more dangerous. Now Pulisic was just awesome, Sacha was second best and both did it in less than 30 minutes of work. There is a reason why Jozy left instead of Wood.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

        Asn put up a spreadsheet of about 7 different outlets’ ratings including the fans, not a single one had wood higher rates than Jozy. Wood shakes his first chance and didn’t do too much else. Altidore wasn’t much better but has less mistakes. They both scored and played fine; is this really the moment to try and nitpick which played better in a 6-0 win? I just don’t get the end game of doing such other than “I hate Jozy” lol

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        it’s astounding to me that people think bobby played better than jozy that game. i thought both did pretty well, with bobby providing the goals (plural cause he earned the penalty), and jozy playing the number 10.

        the difference was that while bobby was pretty anonymous besides those 2 plays and faded badly after the half, jozy was constantly providing an outlet for others, keeping possession, and creating chances for others up til the moment he was subbed off.

        if i had to rank them, i’d probably give them both 6, as they weren’t bad, but neither were they all that great against the equivalent of a college team.

        Liked by 1 person

    • slowleftarm

      I’m a Jozy fan but acting like anyone can prove anything against SVG doesn’t make sense.

      Like

      • Nate Dollars

        i think you’re half right, in that in doesn’t prove anything *positive*. if a player does well, then that just fulfills expectations. however, if a player doesn’t do well, then we know that they can’t hang with the tougher teams.

        on that note, i was disappointed with zusi and morris; i saw someone else said zusi “dominated”, but to me it didn’t look like he did much of anything.

        i would’ve also thought — if klinsmann were concerned about pulisic’s limits as a starter — this would’ve been an easy game for him to see how well he held up from the beginning. it’s good that he (and kljestan) showed well, but it will always come with the caveat that they had fresh legs against a tired team.

        Like

  • quozzel

    I do think the USA needs to transition to its preferred style, that being the 4-3-3. In some ways having Dempsey out aids with this because he’s always been both the stumbling block to playing this style since he doesn’t really fit the 4-3-3 – he’s always been far better as the false 9 in a 4-4-2 – but he’s also always been our best striker.

    As ours mids I’ve always preferred Darlington Nagbe as one, and Sascha Kljestan showed today what a wonderful attacking mid he’s become, especially in conjunction with other technical players like Pulisic. (Amazing, I actually agree with Thomas Rongen on something.) That drops Michael Bradley to the 6 role, which I think he’s always been anyhow.

    The next three up are probably Bedoya, Zusi, and Jermaine Jones (if healthy) or Kyle Beckerman (if not). At some point you figure the older vets will have to give way to Perry Kitchen as CDM but I’d hold onto Jones, especially, like grim death as long as he can still play because he’s a difference-maker and puts major steel into your lineup. I’ve never particularly liked Fabian Johnson as a middie in the USMNT whereas I’ve always liked him a lot as a left back. Keep him there.

    For the first time in, well, ever, though, I’m actually enthused about our forward pool. Wood, Pulisic, and probably Morris are getting to be automatic invitees if healthy. I do think Johanssen will probably force his way back into the roster if healthy, and I just do not see Klinsmann dropping Gyasi Zardes if healthy. That leaves our central striker spot…which is probably Altidore by default right now but I’d love to see, say, Julian Green make a surge and take that spot from him. Altidore showed again today exactly what he is and has always been: functional, strong, low-motor, uninspired in his movement, and occasionally possessed of bricks for feet. By now we know pretty much exactly what we’re going to get there…he’s not terrible, but I’d love to upgrade with a legit finisher, somebody with some really slick movement and certainly with a higher motor…in a perfect world, Wood or even Zardes take the CF spot with guys like Pulisic and Morrris on the outside. Could we actually get to Russia with the USMNT having supplanted Altidore? I actually think so and it’d be a huge sign of how far the pool has progressed.

    All told, I do think it’s time for the USA to start thinking next-level, and next-level involves getting guys who are both technical and athletic into your starting 11, not just tail-busting hard workers and 2-way players. More and more I’m starting to think those guys are emerging and this is going to be a very transformed group going into Russia.

    The bones of a very different, far more proactive team are emerging, anyhow. And isn’t that what we wanted to see when we hired JK?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Byrdman

      I agree with almost everything you said. I love Bobby Wood!! I think he should be our guy in the middle in a 4-3-3. I don’t know how you play Dempsey, maybe as a second half sub at 60 minutes and transition to a different alignment. But Wood makes the runs that drag central defenders out and allows others to attack the top of the box. I am encouraged. I would love to see T & T win tonight so Klinnsman can do what he wants to do with the lineup instead of having to play safe for a result, on Tuesday.

      Like

      • Byrdman

        How do you know that? He hasnt played regularly since before the WC 14. I love his finishing, but i was underwhelmed by his play at the WC and then again last week for Werder Bremen. I hope you are right, because i think Wood could be pretty good.

        Like

      • Gary Page

        I think it is best if we don’t count on Dempsey for the future. Perhaps his problem can be controlled by medication, but it is not something to be under estimated. He may not play again, which is a real shame since I think he would have passed Donovan in national team goals if healthy

        Liked by 1 person

      • johnnyrazor

        I agree with your overall sentiment that we don’t know how AJ will play, but he did play quite a bit in 2014-15 (although did miss time for injury)

        AZ 25 matches across all competitions and 10 goals
        USA 10 matches and 2 goals (including an underwhelming Gold Cup)

        Like

    • Turkmenbashy

      I agree with you that I am enthused about our forwards for the first time. and I think our forwards will work well with a 4-3-3… Altidore may or may not be in the mix, but Wood, Morris, Pulisic, (and with some luck Rubin/AJ/julian/kiese) those are some quality options if all goes well. Acosta is going to start getting more looks at LB to unlock FJ’s best position… I like him more as a MF than a LB because he is asked to do too much in the LB spot and so you aren’t pressuring opposition MF enough. Bradley as a 6… and that leaves RM… Gooch? Hyndman? Arriola? Or you stick with JJ/Bedoya? not sure. But the back line is basically set at this point Yedlin, Brooks, Cameron, and Acosta/FJ.

      Now the question becomes where are the next 10 who are as good as these guys? When we have a full 23 as good as those top 10… then maybe we win a tournament.

      Like

  • antonnynoronha

    ratings:
    Guzan 5
    yedlin 3
    Cameron 5
    Besler 5
    Acosta 5
    beckerman 4
    zusi 3
    Bedoya 3
    Johnson 5
    wood 5
    altidore 4
    kljestan 7
    Pulisic 9
    Morris 4

    Like

    • slowleftarm

      Yep a win over a team full of teachers and taxi drivers really proves we don’t need him.

      Like

  • Anthony

    I really have to stop reading some of these boards. A lot of people clearly don’t know what they are talking about…

    People…this was a a glorified College D3 squad. Don’t take much from this. antonnynoronha…your ratings are laughable..

    Like

    • Dennis

      This was better than a D3 college team, but not much better than a decent D1 team.

      I agree antonnynoronha ratings were pretty poor.

      Like

  • bizzy

    “In the 67th minute, both Sacha Kljestan and Pulisic joined the fray, and less than three minutes later, they were combining for a goal”. …….Kljestan and Pulistic !!!

    Like

  • recovered amishman

    It’s time to start exploring more goalkeeper options…I’m not in a position to watch a lot of games, but it seems like Bingham deserves another look. Guzan looked shaky against these minnows and Howard is pretty clearly past his prime now. Yarbrough is starting again in Mx. There are a lot of solid keepers in the MLS in their mid to late 20s who could step in.

    Like

  • Twomilerule

    A 6 zip win in WC qualifier is always a good thing. No injuries and a win what more can USMNT ask for?

    Being a realist the starting lineup yesterday would really struggle against the top teams in the region and would be woeful against top WC competition. Again JK went with the hustle lineup but moving FabJohnson to midfield and Acosta to left back was great. Acosta was active in the attack. Moving the ball around, making runs, and defending. The key for me was Acosta combined with Johnson very well and the right side was the best attacking side for the US. However, a third midfielder was lacking who could provide possession and accurate balls to both Acosta and Johnson. Beckermann, Bedoya, and Zusi just don’t make unlocking passes or keep the ball at their feet. Against a minnow like VIN Wood should not have to cross midfield to get on the ball?

    Kljestan enters and makes passes to players feet and not chipping balls into space. Great impact with his vision, movement, and skill with the ball. Is he the answer against quality opponents, no. Because his quality is in the final third and US needs help with midfielders getting on the ball in the defensive third moving forward into the offensive third.

    Great win! The positives for me were Acosta and obviously CPulisic. Acosta looks to be getting thicker, stronger, and smooth with and around the ball. Can he be a future LB? Pulisic, can flat out perform with the ball at his feet and coolness in the box.

    The left side could be the USMNT strength moving forward into 2018. With FabJohnson and Acosta being the key players with their ability to overlap from either LB or Left Mid. Add Pulisic and Nagbe and you have combining high percentage possession with teeth in the attack. With Wood and Altidore ability to post and hold balls just add attacking third options. However, if you cannot go from the defensive third to the offensive third with possession against top teams the hustle lineups will continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

      Great assessment, Acosta appears to have the skillset to really succeed at LB, I just don’t think he truly knows/grasps that yet 🙂

      Super active, high energy, fearless in defense, solid speed, great composure on the ball, high soccer IQ off the ball. I really want to see him get some club minutes there.

      Like

      • slowleftarm

        I guess Acosta ha played at LB in MLS but I haven’t seen it. He is a promising CM but surely we can find someone better to play LB. This just seems like more of the same square peg round hole nonsense from JK.

        Like

    • Bill Minarik

      Yeah, this type of win was just what the doctor ordered for a team with a bunch of wounded warriors out of action. Especially on the road!!!! If my calculations are correct, the USA will, in all probability, advance to the round of 6 even if they lose to TNT, on goal differential. And I believe that the USA can gather at least a draw at home which will seal the deal. I think that the USA should attempt to dominate TNT in their final match as they will have to play them twice in the round of 6.

      Like

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