USMNT set to face St. Vincent on Friday in World Cup Qualifying
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team pays its first visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a crucial semifinal round FIFA World Cup Qualifying clash. Kickoff from Arnos Vale Stadium in Kingstown is set for Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on beIN Sports.
Sitting on seven points after four matches, the MNT can clinch a berth in CONCACAF’s final round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, also known as “The Hex”, with a win in St. Vincent and a Trinidad & Tobago victory at home against Guatemala later Friday night. After losing its first four matches in the semifinal round, St. Vincent has been eliminated from contention for a spot in the final round.
In the first match between the two nations, the U.S. defeated St. Vincent 6-1 on Nov. 13, 2015 in St. Louis, Mo. Jozy Altidore bagged a brace, while Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron and Gyasi Zardes also found the back of the net in the MNT’s opening match of the semifinal round.
The U.S. will close out the group against Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 6 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., with the game’s implications dependent on the results of Friday’s matches in Kingstown and Port-of-Spain.
USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named Brad Guzan as the MNT’s starting goalkeeper for Friday’s match at St. Vincent and confirmed that Tim Howard would start Tuesday’s match against Trinidad & Tobago against Jacksonville.
ALL TO PLAY FOR
Heading into the last two matches, the United States sits in second place in the group on seven points, three behind T&T and one ahead of Guatemala. The MNT has its destiny in its own hands, since two wins would guarantee a spot in the Hexagonal. However, the only way the U.S. can qualify on Matchday 5 is beating St. Vincent AND Trinidad winning at home against Guatemala. Any other combination means that the matches on Sept. 6 will determine which two teams advance out of the group [STANDINGS & SCENARIOS].
CONSISTENCY FROM COPA AMERICA
After taking fourth place in Copa America Centenario this past June – tying the USA’s best finish in the tournament – Klinsmann has kept most of the group together, recalling 20 of the 23 players from the roster before losing Jones and Zardes to injury.
“We definitely think that the group that got fourth in the Copa America deserves a certain priority going on to the next World Cup qualifiers because they did tremendously well in the Copa America,” Klinsmann said. “It was an exciting tournament with great games. The whole group learned a lot, playing teams like Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina. This is a big stage, and they deserve to come back and confirm what they did in the tournament in these upcoming, very important World Cup qualifiers. We are preparing for these two games very seriously, with a lot of urgency because we want to finish off our group in first place if possible, and this group of players gets the chance to do that.”
STRONG STRIKE FORCE
Despite the absence of Clint Dempsey due to health concerns and Gyasi Zardes due to injury, the U.S. attacking corps enters in fine form. Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore is back with a vengeance, tallying five goals in his last seven matches. Bobby Wood began his Bundesliga career at Hamburg by scoring the team’s opening goal of the campaign. San Jose captain Chris Wondolowski has recorded nine goals in 21 matches, while Jordan Morris is tied at the top of Seattle Sounders FC strikers with eight goals. Take a more in depth look at the MNT strikers heading into Friday’s match at St. Vincent.
MNT WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROSTER: In naming the roster, MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leaned heavily on the players that represented the U.S. at this summer’s Copa America Centenario, with 18 of 23 players forming the basis of the team that helped the USA to a fourth-place finish at the historic tournament. Tim Howard leads the roster with 31 World Cup Qualifying caps, while five other players have played in 13 or more qualifying matches for the United States. Set to captain the side against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jozy Altidore is tied with Landon Donovan for second all-time on the MNT’s World Cup Qualifying goals list with 13, one behind record holder Clint Dempsey.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough;10/0), Ethan Horvath (Molde FC; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 31/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 8/0), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 1/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City; 17/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca; 9/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach; 11/1), , DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United; 4/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; 0/0), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake; 7/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 4/0), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 15/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; 1/0), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 13/3)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 29/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 1/0), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht; 0/0), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV; 4/1)
- The MNT can advance to CONCACAF’s final round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying with a win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines AND a Trinidad & Tobago victory against Guatemala on Friday.
- Should those results occur, Tuesday’s group finale in Jacksonville would be a battle for first place in the group.
- Any other combination of results would see the USA, Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala all playing for the top two spots in Group C on Sept. 6.
FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING CONCACAF GROUP C STANDINGS
|Trinidad & Tobago||4||3||0||1||11||3||+8||10|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||4||0||4||0||3||19||-16||0|
MNT IN 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
- The U.S. is 2-1-1 (seven points) in four FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifying matches.
- The MNT defeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6-1 (Nov. 13), drew 0-0 at Trinidad & Tobago (Nov. 17), lost 2-0 at Guatemala (March 26) and defeated Guatemala 4-0 (March 30).
- Jurgen Klinsmann has utilized 24 different players during the course of the team’s first four matches.
- Jozy Altidore leads the team in scoring during 2018 World Cup qualifying with three goals in four matches. Geoff Cameron is second with two in four games.
- Cameron, Michael Bradley and DeAndre Yedlin are the only three MNT players to play every minute of 2018 World Cup Qualifying thus far.
- Due to yellow-card accumulation, Bradley will serve a one-game suspension for the match at St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
- Defender Michael Orozco will also be unavailable for the match after being shown a red card in the Copa America Centenario third-place match against Colombia.
USA ROSTER NOTES:
- Since naming the initial 27-player roster, Jermaine Jones (knee), Gyasi Zardes (broken foot), and John Brooks (back) have been forced to withdraw. New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan joined the group Aug. 29 in Jacksonville.
- A total of 18 players on the roster were part of the side that earned fourth-place at this summer’s Copa America Centenario.
- Five players could gain their first World Cup Qualifying caps: Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Ethan Horvath, Rubio Rubin, Caleb Stanko.
- The 26 players ply their trades in eight different countries: USA (12), England, Germany, Mexico (3 each), Canada (2), Liechtenstein, Netherlands and Norway (1 each)
- Tim Howard leads all players on the roster with 31 World Cup Qualifying caps, followed by Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley who have 29 each.
- Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco are unavailable for selection against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Bradley will sit out the match after accumulating two yellow cards during the first four semifinal round qualifiers, while Orozco will serve a one-game suspension after receiving a red card during the Copa America Centenario third-place match against Colombia.
- Seven players have scored goals for the U.S. in World Cup Qualifying: Jozy Altidore (13), Michael Bradley (5), Graham Zusi (3) Geoff Cameron (2), Fabian Johnson, Michael Orozco, Bobby Wood (1 each).
- Altidore sits tied with Landon Donovan for second all-time on the MNT’s World Cup Qualifying goals list with 13. Altidore and Donovan sit one goal behind first-place Clint Dempsey at 14.
- After a hamstring injury forced him to miss out on Copa America Centenario, Altidore returns to the MNT for the first time since March’s World Cup Qualifiers against Guatemala.
- Altidore (2 goals), Cameron, Johnson and Wood each scored in the MNT’s 6-1 World Cup Qualifying win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Nov. 13, 2015 in St. Louis.
- Bobby Wood scored his first Bundesliga goal for new side Hamburg in the club 1-1 season opening draw with Ingolstadt on Saturday.
- Along with Wood, defenders John Brooks and Fabian Johnson both helped their Bundesliga clubs to season opening victories last weekend. Brooks played the full 90 minutes in Hertha Berlin’s 2-1 win against Freiburg, while Johnson was a 61st minute substitute in Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-1 result against Bayer Leverkusen.
- Having transferred to Middlesbrough last month, goalkeeper Brad Guzan comes into camp after earning a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Watch Brad Guzan’s Journey to Middlesbrough .
- Guzan is 7-2-0 with five clean sheets over his nine appearances for the MNT in 2016.
- After signing with Newcastle United earlier this week, DeAndre Yedlin made a cameo debut appearance in the club’s 2-0 victory against Brighton on Saturday.
- Kljestan has earned 46 caps – 15 in World Cup Qualifying – and scored four goals since making his MNT debut in 2007. A member of the preliminary roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he last appeared for the U.S. in a 2-0 friendly loss to Ukraine on March 5, 2014 in Lanarca, Cyprus. Kljestan has amassed five goals to go along with his MLS-leading 15 assists in 26 matches for the Red Bulls this season.
USA-ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES CONNECTIONS:
- Nine of the players on the roster took part in the MNT’s 6-1 victory against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Nov. 13 in St. Louis.
- Five of the six goals in that match came from players on the current roster: Jozy Altidore (2), Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson and Geoff Cameron.
- A member of Seattle Sounders FC 2 at the time, Oalex Anderson scored a fifth minute goal to give St. Vincent a 1-0 lead in their previous meeting against the United States. Anderson is now a member of the Seattle Sounders FC first team where he is teammates with MNT forward Jordan Morris.
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES UPDATE:
While Vincy Heathas lost all four games of their games during the semifinal round and is already eliminated from advancement, they have proved capable of providing some scares to their group opponents. In their opening match of the round, they tallied a fifth minute goal to take a 1-0 lead against the U.S. in St. Louis before the MNT came back to win 6-1. In their third match of the round at home against Trinidad & Tobago, Myron Samuel’s 45th minute penalty kick gave Vincy Heat a 1-0 halftime lead. After conceding two after the break, Shandel Samuel equalized for St. Vincent in the 77th, before eventually falling 3-2 to the Soca Warriors.