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USMNT vs. St. Vincent & the Grenadines preview

By: Mario Amaya

Jurgen Klinsmann's squad should beat St. Vincent and the Grenadines but if USA falters the heat will really be one him.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad should beat St. Vincent and the Grenadines but if USA falters the heat will really be one him.

It has only been a year and a half since the United States was being eliminated from the 2014 World Cup by Belgium in extra time in the round of 16, but a new World Cup qualifying cycle begins for the Red, White, and Blue when they take on St. Vincent & the Grenadines Friday night. It begins the long road to qualify to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Both teams kick off the action in Group C which also features Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala. The top two teams of the group will qualify to the final round of qualifiers as part a six-team round known as the “Hexagonal” or “The Hex” for short.

The United States men’s national will look to put on a good showing in front of a near sellout crowd at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO. This game has come at the perfect time for the United States National team, as they want to bounce back from their slump. The team has only won one of their last six games. They have also lost three consecutive home games.

The United States had a really bad summer, finishing fourth in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the team’s worst finish in the tournament since 2000 where they were eliminated in the quarterfinals against Colombia, along with missing their opportunity of securing a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, after losing 3-2 to arch rival Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup last month.

Due to the team’s recent form, questions have arisen on the continuation of US head coach and Jürgen Klinsmann and whether his tactics and player call-ups have been effective. Coach-player relations came into question after Klinsmann was critical of winger Fabian Johnson after the loss to Mexico, after he was substituted in the 111th minute of the match. Johnson complained of tightness in his leg muscle, which led Klinsmann to send Johnson home prior to their friendly against Costa Rica.

For this game, Klinsmann decided to call up two fresh faces to the USMNT Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers and Matt Miazga of the New York Red Bulls. Nagbe, who recently became a US citizen, has proven to be one of the top midfielders in MLS for the last four years, being an integral part of the Timbers midfielder as a proven goal scorer. Miazga has been an important part of the New York Red Bulls defense. The young product of the Red Bulls academy has not only been a major player in the New York Red Bulls conquest of the Supporter Shield, but was a stand out with the US U-20 national team. He was one of the key players for them in the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand over the summer where they were eliminated by eventual winners Serbia.

Klinsmann shocked everyone in this latest call-up when he omitted Clint Dempsey off the list and opted to go for younger players such as Jordan Morris from Stanford, Gyazi Zardes of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Miguel Ibarra of Club Leon in Mexico, but also calling up mainstays Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore of Toronto FC, Tim Howard of Everton FC in England and Jermaine Jones of the New England Revolution, mixing youth and experience in this latest call-up.

St. Vincent & the Grenadians defeated Aruba 3-2 on aggregate to get to this stage of World Cup qualifiers. They last reached this stage in 2004 for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers where they finished third in their group behind Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico. Promising striker Tevin Slater leads the Vincy Heat. The 21-year-old forward has scored eight goals in 12 appearances for his national team including two goals in this World Cup qualifier.

This will be the first-ever meeting between both the US and St. Vincent & the Grenadians, which makes this game of vital importance for both teams to start their World Cup qualifying campaign off to the right foot.

Match Prediction: This game for the United States will serve as the perfect game to turn their negative run into a positive run and it will be interesting to see how well they will perform with the fan base being pro-American. With that being said, Bobby Wood will be the X-factor in the United States offense and will net two goals, along with a goal from Nagbe on his USMNT debut. St, Vincent will make things uncomfortable for the US, but eventually the US will settle into the game and outplay their opponent. The US will get a comfortable 4-0 victory.

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Mario Amaya

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