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.