The United States Men's National Team begins their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup tonight as they take on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This should be a relatively easy affair for the USMNT, but confidence may be lower than usual after a rough summer and early fall for the Red, White and Blue. The United States are 33rd in the FIFA world rankings and St. Vincent and the Grenadines is ranked 129th. So a win right for the USA?
Yes, but right now, nothing should be taken for granted.
The Goal for the USMNT: A convincing home win.
What to Watch For
1) That roster: I will say this for Jurgen Klinsmann, he has never disappointed when it comes to picking a roster for any match in his tenure. And this one is no different:
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton)
Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham FC), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC)
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Miguel Ibarra (Club Leon), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
2) Again, with the roster: There were some real shockers on this one none more so than the exclusion of Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey. I am trying to figure out why Dempsey would be left out as he form has been good overall for club and country and he was the best player at the 2015 Gold Cup this summer. Also, I was stunned to see Fabian Johnson on this list. It really appeared that JK had banned him from the USMNT after his injury/non-injury issue from the CONCACAF Cup in October. But whatevs, I suppose. Also: Alan Gordon? Um, OK. His form was fair this year for LA, and he can change a game in the latter stages, but really? Alan Gordon.
3) Who gets the #1 Shirt: Neither Brad Guzan or Tim Howard are necessarily lighting it up in the Premier League right now. Guzan has looked shaky at best in goal for Aston Villa (in his defense, Villa is dreadful) and Howard giving up 20 goals in 12 games for Everton. One could argue, based on form, that Bill Hamid should start. Now, I do not think that is going to happen, but under JK, anything is possible.
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Friday, November 13 at 5:00 PM MST
Venue: Busch Stadium--Saint Louis, Missouri
TV Information: ESPN 2
OnLine Information: Watch ESPN
Predicted Starting XI
Always a tough proposition with JK in charge, but I am going to go with this one:
Brad Guzan, Tim Ream, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, DeAndre Yedlin, Darlington Nagbe, Michael Bradley, Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes
This will serve as your official Burgundy Wave game thread for the first match on the road to the 2018 World Cup. Check back for analysis and commentary!