It comes as little surprise that the United States roared past Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in its penultimate game of third round qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Bobby Wood, Matt Besler, and Jozy Altidore scored first half goals before the Yanks took their foot off the gas pedal. The foot went back down, in no small part due to SVG’s continual fouling, and the U.S. came away with a 6-0 win.
Christian Pulisic added a pair in the second half, with Sacha Kljestan deservedly adding one of his own.
1) Jozy Altidore is a CONCACAF killer — We can argue about whether a healthy Altidore could’ve been the difference for the Yanks at the 2014 World Cup, but no one is debating whether the USMNT’s third leading all-time scorer isn’t a match-up problem for almost every CONCACAF team.
Altidore is in-form for Toronto FC right now, and his hold-up play bought Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood acres of space. The only way for SVG to handle him was to grab him, and this led to multiple dangerous free kicks for the United States.
The 26-year-old is 22 goals behind Landon Donovan for the Yanks’ all-time standard, and 7 back of Clint Dempsey. While neither was an out-and-out forward, it’s only a question of when (barring grievous injury).
2) Yes, it was against minnows… but those 66th minute subs — Christian Pulisic and Sacha Kljestan picked apart the SVG with little regard for emotions and feelings for the home crowd.
That their motivation was such is no surprise, for every different reasons. Kljestan is 7 years removed from a hat trick against Sweden that hoped to signal the start of something special, and he’s been electric for New York Red Bulls (but hasn’t seen a USMNT recall until now).
[ MORE: Men in Blazers chat with Pulisic ]
As for Pulisic, we’re at a loss for words. Borussia Dortmund’s teenage magician thrilled with two goals and an assist, and drew SVG defenders like magnets. Even considering the opposition, it’s fun to daydream about what this kid will be like at an older age (like the 18 he turns later this month).
Both deserve more time on Tuesday. If Trinidad and Tobago handles its business against Guatemala tonight, that means Tuesday is for the group. Seems like a good spot to put a little pressure on Pulisic (but not too much).
3) It’s borderline crazy that the hosts finished with 11 men — Saint Vincent and the Grenadines borrowed the Honduran playbook by fouling and fouling hard for the duration of the contest. There were multiple flying kung-fu style kicks that should’ve been red cards, and only one brought the yellow out (and a penalty kick to the USMNT that Jozy Altidore converted).
[ WATCH: Pulisic, Kljestan combine… twice ]
The U.S. maintained its composure on the whole, and nearly avoided all cards. One, a yellow to DeAndre Yedlin, will hamper Jurgen Klinsman in roster selection for Tuesday’s home match against Trinidad and Tobago.