USMNT comes to Busch Stadium

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USMNT comes to Busch Stadium

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After a long 26 years, the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers made their electrifying return to St. Louis, as the US Men’s National Team played on Nov. 13 in front of a crowd consisting of 43,433 fans. The Americans had possession early, but St. Vincent made a quick play and got a shot off that sailed wide of the goal. Off a quick play, St. Vincent pushed the ball up the left side of the field before cutting to the center. St. Vincent forward Oalex Anderson beat USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan to the right to give St. Vincent a surprising 1-0 lead.

Team USA quickly launched a counter attack, with midfielder Michael Bradley feeding the ball into the box for defender DeAndre Yedlin, who assisted forward Bobby Wood in the tying goal in the 11th minute. The national team built off this momentum and began an offensive onslaught. In the 16th minute, midfielder Fabian Johnson got the ball to Wood, who launched a shot that rocked just wide of the St. Vincent goal. Bradley had an open look in the 22nd that was blocked by St. Vincent keeper Kenyan Desmond.

A foul committed by St. Vincent on forward Jozy Altidore just outside the box in the 29th minute granted the US a free kick outside. Johnson sent the ball toward the wall, which deflected off a St. Vincent player before flying into the back of the net, giving team USA the 2-1 lead.

The men’s team was not satisfied with a one goal lead and kept the pressure high.  Team USA was granted a corner kick in the 31st minute. Johnson sent the ball into play, looking for midfielder Jermaine Jones, but an attempt by St. Vincent to disrupt the play resulted in a deflection in Altidore’s direction. Unmarked Altidore had an easy header from the back post to extend the US lead to 3-1. The US had a few good looks in the remaining minutes of the first half, but were unable to take advantage of any, as the half came to an end with a 3-1 US advantage.

The US began the second half with the same hunger for the back of the net that they showed in the first.  In the 51st minute, another corner kick allowed the Americans to extend their lead. Johnson’s corner was flicked on by Wood near the six-yard box, resulting in a perfectly placed ball for defender Geoff Cameron to head into the right post.

Another goal for the men’s team came shortly after in the 58th minute, when Cameron pushed the ball up to Altidore, who fed it to forward Gyasi Zardes. Zardes’ composed finish allowed the US to take a 5-1 lead over St. Vincent. Altidore would finish the scoring for team USA with some fancy footwork in the box, which beat a St. Vincent defender and allowed Altidore to tuck the ball into the right-hand corner. The game ended in a 6-1 victory for the US.

In his postgame interview, USA Coach Jurgen Klinsmann commented on the win. “Six goals is a nice thing to have and to show the fans. It is obviously important to start with three points into the qualifying campaign. It’s a long tournament that we have ahead of us. We expect ourselves to get through this group, get the necessary points one at a time or one game at a time. All together, it will be 16 games that we have to master and this was the first one tonight, so a nice performance by the group and good energy from the players. They always try to add another one against a team that was basically putting a wall around their 18-yard box.”

St. Louis native and Saint Louis University soccer alum Tim Ream was a starting defender for the national team. Ream summarized the emotions of the night by stating “Over 43,000 fans, it was special. I have used that word over and over, but it is something that you won’t ever forget. It was exciting, it was fun, it was a terrible start to the game, but it was a great finish and I am glad we can send the fans home happy…I left 30 or so (tickets)… a lot of my friends and family bought tickets ahead of time because they just wanted to see the game.”

The national team continued their qualifying schedule with a tie against Trinidad and Tobago. They will play Guatemala with the date yet to be announced.