As expected, the United States Men's National Team routed Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Saint Louis. The U.S. won its first World Cup qualifier of the new cycle, 6-1, thanks to 83% possession and excellent set piece routines.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines shocked the USMNT by opening the scoring, in the 5th minute, against the run of play. Geoff Cameron failed to clear a through ball, which split him and Matt Besler, sending the ball to the feet of Oalex Anderson. Anderson quickly sprinted into the box and then fired home.
The U.S. tied the game, in the 11th minute via a Bobby Wood header. DeAndre Yedlin played a cross in to Wood from the right side of the six yard box and the forward made no mistake, sending his header over goalkeeper Winslow McDowall.
After a somewhat lackluster stretch of play, the U.S. took the lead off of a Fabian Johnson free kick. Johnson's 28th minute free kick was taken from the left side of the eighteen and took a wicked deflection off of the head of a player in the wall.
The USMNT began to dominate after Johnson's goal and the team added to its lead with another set piece goal in the 30th minute. A corner was sent to the near post and a Vincentian defender headed the ball backwards to an unmarked Jozy Altidore, who easily headed home at the back post.
The U.S. wasted little time as it furthered its lead with a 50th minute Geoff Cameron header. Fabian Johnson sent another corner kick to the near post where it was flicked by Bobby Wood to Geoff Cameron at the back post. Like Altidore, Cameron made no mistake as he easily headed home.
Gyasi Zardes furthered the rout with a goal in the 57th minute. Jozy Altidore played a pinpoint through ball to Zardes who easily slotted home from inside the eighteen.
The Red Bulls' Matt Miazga and the Portland Timbers' Darlington Nagbe made their national team debuts coming on in the 64th minute for Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson respectively. Jordan Morris replaced Bobby Wood four minutes later.
In the 74th minute, Jozy Altidore scored the team's sixth goal after a great bit of holdup play. Jermaine Jones played a pass to Altidore who had his back to the goal just inside the eighteen. Altidore turned his defender, did a quick stepover and then rocketed a shot into the top corner.
The former RBNY player has now scored 31 times for USMNT in 88 appearances: the fourth-highest career goals total for the USA men's national team.
The U.S. had a few chances in the final 15 minutes, and was pressing for a seventh, but failed to add to its lead.
One possible concern for the team is the injury to Jermaine Jones. Jones appeared to suffer a hamstring injury and came off of the pitch for treatment. He ultimately returned to the match, although he clearly was not 100% and he may not be fit for the upcoming match on Tuesday.
The National Team will now turn its attention to Trinidad and Tobago as it heads to Port of Spain for a World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday.
Matt Miazga is cap tied! The Red Bulls defender was finally rewarded for his excellent MLS season. The "future of the USMNT" made his debut tonight replacing Geoff Cameron in the 64th minute.
Miazga's night was rather uneventful as he had almost nothing to do, thanks to the team being up 5-1 and dominating possession. It has been a whirlwind year for Miazga and he surely has his sights set on claiming a roster spot for the 2018 World Cup.
With the USMNT's often porous defense and Miazga's rapid progression, he could become a starter sooner rather than later.
Conceding a Goal
It's hard to complain about a 5-1 win, but the goal conceded by the U.S. is inexcusable. Geoff Cameron's failed clearance fell right to Oalex Anderson who easily ran the ball into the eighteen and scored.
Cameron faced moderate pressure from the Vincentian attack, however the pressure wasn't enough to make the clearance truly difficult. While I still believe Cameron is the best defender in the national team pool, his failure to execute a simple clearance was disturbing.
The National Team defense clearly needs work and should have had no trouble earning a clean sheet against a team as weak as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Trinidad and Tobago should pose far more of a challenge for the USMNT defense.
The U.S. absolutely dominated on set pieces. Three of the team's six goals were scored off of set pieces. The USMNT clearly has spent time on the training ground practicing set-piece routines and this practice paid off.
This success is promising as set pieces are always vital. In tougher matches, set piece success may be the difference between zero and three points. While the U.S. doesn't want to become dependent on set pieces, its execution on the night was excellent and hopefully this success continues.