Powered by three goals in a 15-minute spell toward the end of the first half, the United States emerged with a 6-0 road win at St Vincent and the Grenadines to put themselves on the verge of clinching a spot in the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
A Trinidad and Tobago win over Guatemala later on Friday would put the U.S. through to the final six-team CONCACAF qualifying round. If that does not happen, the U.S. could clinch a spot with a win over Trinidad on Tuesday in Jacksonville.
That match stands to be more challenging than Friday’s affair. Despite playing without the likes of Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Gyasi Zardes, the U.S. had little trouble finding the net or keeping their opponents out.
Bobby Wood opened the scoring in the 28th minute, with Matt Besler following four minutes later and immediately launching into a rocking-the-baby celebration to commemorate the birth of his son Parker this week.
Captain Jozy Altidore, back from a hamstring injury that kept him from the Copa America, extended the lead with a 43rd-minute penalty after Wood was brought down in the box, giving the U.S. a 3-0 edge at the half.
Jurgen Klinsmann brought on the veteran Sacha Kljestan and youngster Christian Pulisic for the final third of the game, and the pair accounted for the remaining U.S. goals. Pulisic struck in the 71st minute after a nice feed from Pulisic, with Kljestan finding the net in the 78th for his first national team goal in six years and Pulisic closing out the scoring two minutes into stoppage time.
St. Vincent twice had goals chalked out due to offsides calls in the second half, leaving Brad Guzan with a clean sheet.