The U.S. Men’s National Team started the journey to the 2018 World Cup by proving its superiority over St. Vincent & the Grenadines. The Americans just had to overcome an early hiccup to do so.
The U.S. won its initial World Cup qualifier by a lopsided 6-1 mark at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday night, but only after conceding a goal five minutes in. Oalex Anderson stunned Jurgen Klinsmann’s side by capitalizing on some porous defending, but the Americans’ quality shone through as the Group C match wore on and they netted six unanswered.
Jozy Altidore led the way for the U.S. with a brace, and the U.S. also got scoring contributions from Bobby Wood, the returning Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron and Gyasi Zardes.
Klinsmann was not only able to help the Americans pick up three points in the lopsided affair, but he also cap-tied a pair of newcomers. Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga entered the game in the 64th minute to make their debuts and cement their statuses as U.S. players.
Anderson got St. Vincent & the Grenadines off to a team start in the match, as he pounced on a poor clearance from centerback Geoff Cameron, who had been sucked out of position. Anderson then raced by a flatfooted DeAndre Yedlin at the top of the penalty area before placing a shot inside the far post.
Wood took some of the increasing pressure off the U.S. by bringing it back on level terms with his fourth international goal. Some good passing saw captain Michael Bradley slip Yedlin deep into the penalty area, and the speedster’s ensuing short cross was neatly headed by Wood into the back of the net.
The Americans began to find their rhythm after, and dominated possession while bombarding St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ goal with a flurry of chances.
A free kick from Johnson, who was making his first appearance for the U.S. since being sent home early from last month’s camp, put his side ahead for good in the 29th minute. After Altidore drew a free kick from 19 yards out, Johnson struck a ball that deflected off the wall.
Another set piece saw the Americans push the lead to 3-1 two minutes later, as a well-drawn up corner kick ended with a wide open Altidore nodding home from a yard out. Altidore started the play inside the goal, but peeled away from the crowd of players to get himself all alone at the back post.
The U.S. continued to assert its power on the Caribbean nation in the second half, and Cameron joined in on the scoring fun in the 51st minute with a bending header that tucked inside the near post.
Zardes also tallied seven minutes later, receiving a through ball from Altidore and slotting it past onrushing goalkeeper Winslow McDowall.
Up next for the Americans is a road trip to Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday that will surely serve as a bigger challenge.