US edges closer to CONCACAF finals
BORUSSIA Dortmund teenager Christian Pulisic scored twice as the United States thrashed Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6-0 on September 2 to edge closer to a place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
A first-half flurry of goals from Bobby Wood, Matt Besler and Jozy Altidore effectively sealed a straightforward victory for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side against the Caribbean minnows.
Rising star Pulisic added a fourth for the USA in the 71st minute shortly after coming on as a second-half s ubstitute.
Pulisic, 17, then laid on the fifth for another substitute, Sacha Kljestan, in the 78th minute.
Pulisic completed the scoring with a confident finish in injury time to make it 6-0.
The win left the United States within touching distance of the “Hexagonal” final round of qualifiers.
Klinsmann’s side would have been assured of qualification if Trinidad & Tobago had beaten Guatemala in the day’s other Group C game.
However two goals from Carlos Ruiz – including an 87th-minute equaliser – secured a 2-2 draw for Guatemala in Port of Spain against the “Soca Warriors”.
The result means the USA need a point in their final group game against Trinidad in Jacksonville, Florida tomorrow to be certain of progressing to the later rounds.
“It’s a nice win and the team deserves a compliment, but we’ve got to finish it off Tuesday,” Klinsmann said after Friday’s rout of St Vincent.
The USA, who had beaten St Vincent and the Grenadines 6-1 in their home fixture earlier in the qualifiers, took their time before making the breakthrough in Friday’s game at the Arnos Vale cricket ground.
The first goal came when Wood curled in a shot from the edge of the area on 28 minutes after good work from Altidore and Fabian Johnson.
Besler had celebrated the birth of his baby daughter just hours before kick-off, then marked the occasion with his first international goal on 32 minutes, volleying home from close range after a Graham Zusi freekick caused panic in the St Vincent penalty area.
Altidore put the USA 3-0 up two minutes before half-time, ramming home an emphatic penalty after St Vincent’s Roy Richards had upended Wood in the area. –