The United States were supposed to crush St. Vincent and the Grenadines in their first 2018 World Cup qualifier and that's exactly what they did, coming away 6-1 winners in front of a capacity crowd at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO. The Americans were dealt a scare when they conceded less than five minutes into the match, but they thrashed the Vincy Heat in the next 85 minutes to walk away with a comfortable win and three points.
The crowd had barely settled in before the Vincy Heat scored. A long ball over the top caught DeAndre Yedlin out and forced Geoff Cameron to come out wide to defense. A pass back inside put a covering Yedlin into a 1v1 defending situation with Oalex Anderson and the American was absolutely toasted. One cut turned him inside-out and Anderson buried his shot to put St. Vincent and the Grenadines in front.
Once the U.S. went down, they turned it up a notch. They barely let the visitors get on the ball, knocking it around with ease, probing deep and turning it into chances. That paid off in the 11th minute when Michael Bradley played Yedlin in down the right. Yedlin then crossed for Bobby Wood, whose smart header nestled into the net for an equalizer.
Poor finishing kept the U.S. from taking the lead until the 29th minute, but Fabian Johnson got on the board then. A free kick from just outside the box gave him the chance to have a go at goal and he did. His shot took a deflection on the way, leaving the goalkeeper no chance and putting the U.S. in front, 2-1.
Two minutes later, Jozy Altidore tallied on a corner kick. He snuck unmarked to the back post and when the cross was flicked on, he was all alone to tap into an empty net from a foot out.
The U.S. took their 3-1 lead into the second half, but they didn't ease up. Wood headed a corner kick on for Geoff Cameron, who nodded the ball home to extend the lead to four goals. Not long after, Gyazsi Zardes was played in on goals and he clinically slotted the ball into the goal for a 5-1 lead.
With such a big advantage, the U.S. was cruising to victory. The result wasn't in doubt at all, but they still got a cool moment when Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga were subbed on. It cap-tied the both, which is especially cool for Nagbe after a long wait for American citizenship, and important for Miazga, who is expected to be a centerpiece of the U.S. defense before long and had drawn interest from Poland.
The Americans polished things off with Altidore's second goal of the match on the end of a nice build up with Jermaine Jones and Zardes. The three combined well, then Altidore produced a bit of fancy footwork to clear space before shooting. His shot may have found the goal on its own, but he got the benefit of a deflection that made it unstoppable for a nifty capper on the Americans' dominant night.
The U.S. will now head to Trinidad and Tobago for their toughest match of this round of qualifying. They do so with three points in hand and some room for error, but a win there will just about put them in the Hex, which is the goal so there's plenty on the line - and tougher competition - awaiting them Tuesday.