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USMNT Nov 13, 2015

U.S. Men kick off World Cup qualifying with 6-1 comeback win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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ST. LOUIS – It took an early punch to the nose to wake them up, but the U.S. Men’s National Team rallied with a vengeance to claim their first victory of the 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle with a 6-1 win over a feisty but overmatched St. Vincent & the Grenadines at chilly Busch Stadium.

Vincentian livewire Oalex Anderson stunned the packed crowd with a lovely strike just five minutes in, but Jozy Altidore scored two and set up another as the North American giants used set pieces to good effect with six unanswered goals down the stretch. The USMNT now move on to muggy Port-of-Spain, where Trinidad & Tobago should provide a far more testing opponent in Tuesday’s qualifier.

Anderson had the Vincentians dreaming big when he latched on to Geoff Cameron’s weak header, cut inside past a ponderous DeAndre Yedlin and curled a lovely dipping finish around Brad Guzan and inside the right post for a 1-0 SVG lead. But Yedlin redeemed himself six minutes later with an endline run to meet Michael Bradley’s slotted pass and cut back to Bobby Wood, who snapped a header past St. Vincent goalkeeper Winslow McDowall to level matters at 1-1.

A smart ball into the box from Fabian Johnson set up Wood for an angled effort as McDowall raced off his line, but the shot flew across the face of goal and wide right.

As the half-hour mark approached, Johnson stepped up to the ball after Jozy Altidore earned a dangerous free kick just outside the SVG 18. The German-American tried to whip a his shot over the wall, but his effort deflected off a Vincentian player and looped into the net right where the wrongfooted McDowall had been, pushing the US ahead 2-1.

The favorites struck again just moments later on another restart, Johnson whipping in a corner kick that Jermaine Jones was judged to have gotten a touch on – and Altidore’s clever movement through the goalmouth and back out to the far post left him all alone to nod it home from close range.

The US quickly cranked up the pressure again after the halftime break, forcing the islanders deep into their own half, but as before, a set piece was required to make the telling breakthrough as the Yanks pushed their lead to 4-1 in the 51st.

Again it was Johnson on the delivery, and again his inswinger was hit to the near post, where Wood flicked it on, and this time it was Geoff Cameron who met it, steering a free header into the top left corner of McDowall’s net.

The rout ran to 5-1 just seven minutes later as Altidore drew in three defenders, then slipped a pass into a wide patch of space in the St.Vincent box for Gyasi Zardes to slot home through McDowall’s legs.

Altidore netted another in the 74th after some sharp footwork and body control in the box, though there was also a huge dollop of good fortune as his shot took a mighty deflection off a defender’s chest and nestled into the side netting.

To put the cap on an enjoyable night for USMNT fans, coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave new arrivals Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga their debuts as substitutes in the 64th minute. That means Miazga, a Polish-American dual national, is cap-tied to the US. Nagbe was crisp and involved in a pinched right midfield role, but could not quite get himself onto the scoresheet.

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