Jurgen Klinsmann, in spite of what appeared to be a fast paced and sloppy first half, headed into the locker room at halftime with his squad holding a commanding 3-0 lead. His happiness with that half was likely eclipsed by the way his tactical decisions played out in the latter portion of the second 45 minutes.
Christian Pulisic, seen by many pundits as the future cornerstone of the United States Men's National Team, and Sacha Kljestan, formerly a man without a country with Klinsmann at the helm, combined to double their team's scoreline in about 30 minutes of play. Alejandro Bedoya and Fabian Johnson made way for Pulisic and Kljestan in the 66th, with Jozy Altidore leaving a few minutes afterward for the Seattle Sounders' Jordan Morris.
The two creative midfielders combined on the fourth goal of the game. Kljestan, who currently plies his trade with the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer, turned at the top of the box and used his left foot to send a perfectly weighted through ball onto Pulisic's foot. The Dortmund play had made a run through the middle of the box and beat his marker, allowing for a calmly placed finish into the back of the net.
The following goal would be a repayment by Pulisic of Kljestan's unselfish excellence, as the Pennsylvania born no. 10 fed the former Anderlecht standout for the USMNT's fifth of the night. The goal was Kljestan was his first since 2010 in his first appearance at the senior level since 2010.
Pulisic would grab his brace in the 92nd minute. Once again Pulisic showed skill and presence of mind beyond his years as he calmly approached his shot with a marker a step away, ripping his attempt to the goalkeeper's right, leaving St. Vincent mystified. The two goals brought his total for the USMNT to four in only eight games.
Outside of the success of the two key substitutes, the United States was led by the stellar play of the in-form Altidore, as well as Bobby Wood and Matt Besler. All three contributed goals to the American effort against St. Vincent.
Altidore spent the night dropping back from his no. 9 positioning, coming back toward the midfield to receive the ball and open up space against an opposing defense which refused to yield physically.
The Toronto FC striker's efforts providing room to run for his teammates, especially Wood, who not only worried markers all night, but also scored and won a penalty due to his ability to run off of Altidore's shoulder. That penalty would become Altidore's take, which he converted for his fourth goal of 2018 World Cup Qualifying, the 35th goal of his national team career.
Wood's own goal was a beautifully curled shot just outside of the St. Vincent 18. The German based forward took a layoff from Fabian Johnson and without hestitation opened up his body to place a shot around defenders and to the goalkeeper's left. The ball found the side netting to put the USMNT up 1-0 in the 28th minute.
Besler would honor the birth of his daughter with a goal of his own in the 33rd minute. Starting a Graham Zusi free kick offside, Besler was left alone as the set piece was headed away from the goal on an attempted clearance. From his position on the left side of the box, Besler chested the ball down and volleyed his trap near side and past the goalkeeper for the two-goal lead and his first ever international goal.
Altidore added the third nine minutes later off of the penalty.
After halftime, St. Vincent twice appeared to have brought the scoreline closer, but on both ocassions they were ruled offside. The first incident took place in the 51st minute when a shot from just inside of the deep part of the right side of the box was parried by Guzan. Multiple St. Vincent players poked at it and no one in the area could handle the ball. It squeezed through the scrum to a lone man in front of net, who converted, but the teammates who had created the opportunity jumped offside prior to the initial shot.
The second waved off goal was due to an early jump on a beautiful ball to Guzan’s left in the 56th minute. The cross was volleyed home past the US and Middlesbrough goalkeeper, but the assistant referee got his call right for a second time.
Guzan only had a couple of other shots or crosses to deal with, as St. Vincent was unable to penetrate deep into the US final third despite a rather fluid game on both sides through the middle of the field. The lone shot that troubled Guzan came early in the first half from a set piece, which he easily handled. Guzan and his backline did not have too much to do throughout the match.
The USMNT head into Jacksonville on a high to face Trinadad and Tobago on September 6, followed by friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand later this fall.