New England Soccer Today

U.S. Romps in WCQ Opener

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The United States’ qualification campaign got off to a rocky start, but they were redeemed by a flurry of goals as they grabbed a 6-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Friday’s CONCACAF semifinal round of World Cup Qualifying at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

How it happened: The U.S. fell into an early ditch when Oalex Anderson exploited a gaping hole in the defense and buried a well-struck shot from inside the 18 to give the 129th-ranked St. Vincent and Grenadines a shock lead inside of five minutes. But the U.S. quickly regrouped. Bobby Wood nodded a DeAndre Yedlin cross through from the doorstep in the 11th minute while Fabian Johnson’s deflected free kick found the back of the net in the 29th minute. Jozy Altidore put more distance on the guests when he headed through a Jermaine Jones flick at the far post following a Michael Bradley corner kick in the 31st minute. Geoff Cameron poured it on some more in the 52nd minute when he steered a pass from Wood into the back of the net. In the 58th minute, Gyasi Zardes broke into the box in and scored, while Altidore struck again in the 74th minute on a pass from Jones.

Analysis: Alexander’s goal will keep the questions about the team’s defense alive and well, no doubt. On the scoring sequence, Yedlin, Cameron and Matt Besler all had opportunities to stop Sounders 2 man, but instead, allowed him the space to score. Aside from that miscue, it was nothing but positives for the U.S. Yes, they could’ve been better with their finishing early, but scoring six times will put those concerns to rest for at least one night. In short, it was the kind of result the U.S. should have gotten from a team located outside of the top 100 in FIFA’s rankings.

Inside the numbers: The U.S. outshot St. Vincent and the Grenadines 19-2, and held the ball a whopping 83 percent of the game.

Revs alert: Jermaine Jones got the start in the central midfield, and went the full 90. He assisted on both of Altidore’s goals, and ripped a fierce shot from distance in the 50th minute that cleared the crossbar. Late in the match, he pulled up with a leg injury, and briefly went to the touchline before returning moments later, albeit in a decidedly deeper position.

Local angle: Cameron’s goal was the second in his last three games. The Attleboro, Mass. native went 64 minutes before he was spelled by Miazga.

Of note: Jozy Altidore became the third-fasted U.S. player to reach 30 goals. Altidore’s goal came in his 88th game. Only Landon Donovan (83 games) and Eric Wynalda (87 games) reached the 30-goal plateau faster…Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls) and Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) made their U.S. debuts when they both entered the match in the 64th minute…Friday’s match was the first World Cup Qualifier played in St. Louis since 1989…

Next up: The U.S. will resume their qualification efforts on Tuesday at 6:25 pm E against Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The U.S. is 16-2-3 all-time vs. Trinidad and Tobago.

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