After U.S. Trounces St. Vincent, T&T To Bring Tougher Test

Cameron and Bradley in World Cup qualifying

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Friday night I was lucky enough to make the short trek up to St. Louis to watch the U.S. National Team take on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The match was the first qualifying test for the U.S. in their road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. After a slow start that saw the host nation go down 1-0 five minutes into the match, the U.S. dominated the match and walked away with a 6-1 win. There were a couple of key takeaways from Friday’s match that could have a big impact on Tuesday’s match against Trinidad & Tobago.

On St. Vincent’s lone goal of the match, it was DeAndre Yedlin that failed to properly defend. The Sunderland right back did well in attack through the majority of the match, supplying the assist to Bobby Wood’s equalizer, he looked anything but confident in the backline. Granted, St Vincent didn’t really trouble the U.S. defense, their few moments in the final third saw Yedlin struggle to deal with the pace and strength of their strikers. T&T, ranked 75 spots higher than St. Vincent in the FIFA rankings, will surely give Yeldin, and the rest of the U.S. defense, a more demanding test when they face off in Dallas.

A major bright spot from Friday’s fixture was the United States’ proficiency from set pieces. Three of the team’s six goals came from some kind of set play. The first was a heavily deflected Fabian Johnson free kick from about 20 yards out. The next two came from corners with Jozy Altidore nodding home from what seemed like inches away from the goal line, and Geoff Cameron finding the back of the net from just outside the six-yard box. On both the goals from corners, the players that actually ended up scoring weren’t the ones to get their head to the ball first. The initial crosses were deflected on by fellow Americans which allowed Altidore and Cameron to move into space and knock in relatively easy goals. Can they continue this dominance on set pieces, or was it just a fluke performance?

The man of the day Friday had to be Fabian Johnson. After the defeat to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, and the harsh comments from Jürgen Klinsmann, it was unclear whether or not Johnson would even be called into the squad for this round of qualifiers. The Borussia Mönchengladbach defender lined up in more of a midfield role against St. Vincent and looked very comfortable in attack and defense and looked dangerous whenever he was on the ball. Klinsmann has been slowly moving Johnson out of his traditional defensive role, and it seems like the 27-year-old has finally acclimated to his new responsibilities. T&T won’t give Johnson nearly as much time on the ball Tuesday night, and he will be called into defense a lot more often. U.S. fans will be hoping that Johnson can continue to be a creative spark that can push them to Russia.

Even though T&T will be a much more difficult match than St. Vincent for the U.S., I still think that the Americans have too much talent on their roster to lose. Tuesday night’s fixture probably won’t see another six-goal thriller from Klinsmann’s squad, but it should still end in an American victory. Look for Klinsmann to keep the starting lineup mostly the same from Friday’s matchup, other than the switch from Brad Guzan to Tim Howard in net. Final score: U.S. 2-0 T&T


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About the author: Collin Carpio


I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.


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