The road to Russia resumes today for CONCACAF sides, and the United States will be in action against St. Vincent and the Grenadines (3:20 p.m. ET, BeIn Sports).
It looks like a mismatch on paper, but there’s still plenty on the line for Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad today:
Getting to the Hex: A win today won’t assure the Americans’ passage to the next round of qualifying, known as the “Hex,” but it would increase the odds.
Here’s the table:
Trinidad and Tobago host Guatemala later tonight, so the results of that one will be worth watching. The U.S. wraps up this round of qualifying on Tuesday against T&T in Jacksonville.
A pair of wins will guarantee advancement, with a good chance of winning the group. Anything less would be courting disaster, depending on how Guatemala fares in its final two matches.
Between the sticks: Brad Guzan will get the start in goal today, according to Klinsmann. Tim Howard will get the nod on Tuesday in Jacksonville.
He said it: “That is one of the reasons why we brought the core group of Copa America, to make it easier to understand the message right away,” Klinsmann said. “Things can go wrong quickly and suddenly you are in a mess.
“We took our lapses against Guatemala. We cannot afford a second one, because it’s a four-team group and we need to go through.”
Last time: In their earlier meeting, the U.S. cruised to a 6-1 win. After falling behind, the Americans got goals from five different players — including two from Jozy Altidore.
Missing in action: Klinsmann will be missing a few first-choice options today. Clint Dempsey (irregular heartbeat), Michael Bradley (suspension), Jermaine Jones (knee) and John Brooks (back) aren’t available.
Hot and humid: With a high near 90, it will be hot and sticky today in Kingstown. Cramps and fatigue could be an issue.
Prediction: On a bumpy field in warm conditions, the pace will be slow. But ultimately, the Americans will have far too much firepower. U.S. wins, 3-0.