USA Players Enter Record Book as Team Steps Closer to Hex in 6-0 Qualifying Win at St. Vincent
Pulisic Brace Makes Him USA’s Youngest Player to Score in World Cup Qualifying; Altidore Goal Ties Him with Dempsey Atop USA’s All-Time Qualifying Goals List; Besler Scores First International Goal while Kljestan Scores First MNT Goal Since 2010; USA Plays Last Semifinal Round Qualifier Sept. 6 vs. Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville, Fla.
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Sept. 2, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team added a handful of new entries to the record books and moved a step closer to reaching the next round of World Cup Qualifying via a 6-0 win away to St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Dominant from start to finish, the U.S. saw three different players scribe career and/or team milestones at the offensive end of the field. With the U.S. up 3-0 by halftime, second half sub Christian Pulisic stole the show with a late pair of goals in the 71st and 92nd minute, the first of which saw him become the USA’s youngest player to score in a World Cup qualifier at 17 years, 349 days old. Pulisic also assisted Sacha Kljestan – who in turn assisted both of Pulisic’s strikes – as he scored his first goal for the U.S. since 2010 in the 78th minute.
In the first half, Bobby Wood opened the scoring in the 28th minute before drawing a penalty that Jozy Altidore, serving as captain in the absence of the suspended Michael Bradley, converted in the 43rd to tie Clint Dempsey, who was unavailable for selection due to health concerns, atop the USA’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals scored list. Additionally, center back Matt Besler, who had recently received news of the birth of his first child, scored his first international goal in the 38th minute.
On the defensive side of the field, the U.S. defense kept its seventh clean sheet of the year with a solid display that required goalkeeper Brad Guzan to make one crucial save on the hosts’ only shot on goal; St. Vincent did have two goals correctly ruled out for offside.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT returns stateside for a showdown with Trinidad & Tobago. Should Trinidad defeat Guatemala on Friday night, Tuesday’s game at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., will be a battle solely for first place in Group C. Should the two teams draw or Guatemala win, the U.S. would need a result against the Soca Warriors to ensure advancement to the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying, a.k.a. ‘The Hex.’ The match is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1 and UniMas.
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Bobby Wood (Fabian Johnson), 28th minute: JozyAltidore battled for and controlled the ball near the top of the St. Vincent box, flicking a quick pass to Fabian Johnson just inside the penalty area. Johnson laid off a short pass for Wood, who stepped up to send a curling shot from top of the box across goal into the far right side netting. USA 1, VIN 0
USA – Matt Besler, 32nd minute: A free kick played into the box by Graham Zusi was poorly cleared by a St. Vincent defender and fell right to Besler at the left post. The U.S. center back brought the ball down off his chest before sending a one-time, left footed shot into the upper left corner for the first international goal of his career. USA 2, VIN 0
USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty kick), 43rd minute: Bobby Wood was taken down in the box, drawing a penalty kick attempt for Altidore. The U.S. captain for the day stepped up and dispatched a right footed blast into the middle of the net as Vincy Heat goalkeeper Christopher Lemus leapt to his right. USA 3, VIN 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (Sacha Kljestan), 71st minute: A well-worked U.S. passing sequence led to the ball reaching Sacha Kljestan out on the right wing where he whipped in an incisive cross to the penalty spot for Christian Pulisic, who expertly brought the ball down with the outside of his right foot before finishing with his left into the lower right hand corner. The goal made Pulisic the youngest U.S. player to score a World Cup Qualifying goal. USA 4, VIN 0
USA – Sacha Kljestan (Christian Pulisic), 78th minute: The U.S. attack flipped sides of the field, as Pulisic turned provider after getting down the left flank and cutting a ball across the top of the six-yard box for a wide open Kljestan who only had to tap the ball across the line for his first National Team goal since 2010. USA 5, VIN 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (Sacha Kljestan), 90+2: The final U.S. attack worked up the right side of the field and eventually to Kljestan’s feet near the right edge of the box. The second half sub did well to shield the ball away from his defender, spin and get his head up to pick out Pulisic waiting at the top of the area. Upon receiving the ball, Pulisic calmly got a sight of goal before golfing a shot into the upper left corner for the first multi-goal game of his international career. USA 6, VIN 0. FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
VIN – Christopher Lemus, 5th minute: Fabian Johnson played an excellent long ball from the left wing that spit the Vincy Heat center backs and landed right in the stride of Bobby Wood, who carried it past a defender before scuffing a shot toward the far right post that St. Vincent ‘keeper Christopher Lemus did well to get down and get a hand on for the save.
USA – Brad Guzan, 26h minute: Oalex Anderson evaded the U.S. defense and met a deep cross from the right wing at the back left post where he sent a close range header on goal. But, Guzan tracked the flight of the ball well and slid over to get his hands up and snag the shot out of the air.
- With his 43rd minute penalty kick, Jozy Altidore moved past Eric Wynalda into sole possession of third on the MNT’s all-time goals list with 35. The finish also tied Altidore with Clint Dempsey for the MNT’s all-time lead in World Cup Qualifying goals with 14.
- Altidore also earned his 30th World Cup Qualifying appearance, tying him with Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart for ninth on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying caps list.
- At 17 years, 349 days, Christian Pulisic’s 71st minute goal made him the youngest player in MNT history to score in a World Cup Qualifier. Pulisic tallied his second of the match to cap the scoring at 6-0 in the second minute of second half stoppage time, becoming the youngest player in MNT history to score a brace in a match.
- Bobby Wood scored his seventh career international goal and second in World Cup Qualifying. Wood also scored the MNT’s first goal in the 6-1 win against St. Vincent on Nov. 13, 2015.
- On the day he and his wife welcomed their first child, daughter Parker into the world, Matt Besler also scored his first international goal in the 32 nd minute.
- Altidore has four goals in five U.S. appearances in 2016.
- Wood and Altidore have combined for eight goals in the four matches they’ve started up front together all-time.
- Brad Guzan earned his sixth clean sheet in his 10th start of 2016. The MNT goalkeeper is 8-2-0 this year.
- Sacha Kljestan entered the match along with Christian Pulisic in the 66th minute, marking his first MNT appearance since a 2-0 friendly loss to Ukraine on March 5, 2014. Kljestan assisted on Pulisic’s goal in the 71st minute, before Pulisic returned the favor on Kljestan’s goal in the 78th minute. Kljestan than assisted on Pulisic’s second goal in second half stoppage time.
- The goal was Kljestan’s first since a 2-1 friendly win against El Salvador on Feb. 24, 2010.
- DeAndre Yedlin’s 13th minute yellow card is his second of the semifinal round and will force him to miss out on the MNT’s match against Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday.
- Yedlin and Geoff Cameron are the only two players to start all five of the MNT’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches.
- Electing to start Brad Guzan in goal, MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann fielded a starting back line of DeAndre Yedlin on the right, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler in the middle and Kellyn Acosta on the left.
- The four-man midfield consisted of Graham Zusi on the right flank, Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya playing centrally and Fabian Johnson on the left.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Date: September 2, 2016
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Semifinal Round
Venue: Arnos Vale Stadium; St. Vincent
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 91 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 3 6
VIN 0 0 0
USA – Bobby Wood (Fabian Johnson) 28th minute
USA – Matt Besler 32
USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty) 43
USA – Christian Pulisic (Sacha Kljestan) 71
USA – Sacha Kljestan (Christian Pulisic) 78
USA – Christian Pulisic (Sacha Kljestan) 90+2
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 4-Kellyn Acosta; 19-Graham Zusi, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 11-Alejandro Bedoya (16-Sacha Kljestan, 66), 23-Fabian Johnson (10-Christian Pulisic, 66); 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.) (8-Jordan Morris, 72), 7-Bobby Wood
Subs not used: 12-Tim Howard, 22- Ethan Horvath, 14-Paul Arriola, 21-Steve Birnbaum, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 6-Darlington Nagbe, 9-Rubio Rubin, 13-Caleb Stanko, 18-Chris Wondolowski
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
VIN: 1-Christopher Lemus; 3-Roy Richards, 5-Shawn Benjamin, 8-Theon Gordon (6-Teron Miller, 73) (capt.), 20-Ajrue Durham, 17-Emerald George (16-Daniel Patrick, 68), 10-Oalex Anderson, 13-Gavin James (12-Tevin Slater, 53), 11-Cornelius Stewart, 9-Myron Samuel, 7-Nazir McBernette
Subs not used: 22-Jahvan Peters, 2-Danroy Edwards, 14-Ezra Alleyne, 15-Kevin Frances
Head Coach: Cornelius Huggins
Stats Summary: USA / VIN
Shots: 12 / 1
Shots on Goal: 11 / 1
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 8 / 13
Offside: 0 / 4
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution) 13th minute
VIN – Emerald George (caution) 17
VIN – Theon Gordon (caution) 39
VIN – Roy Richards (caution) 43
Referee: Mathieu Bourdeau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Philippe Briere (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Belleau (CAN)
4th Official: Drew Fischer (CAN)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Matt Besler