The United States men's national team avenged their loss to Jamaica with a victory Tuesday night on their own soil. The 1-0 victory didn't come easy, but the USMNT is still a work in progress.
Keeping the momentum going will depend on a few key players. The American side must control the tempo in order to compete with world-class squads, and certain players play crucial roles in that area of the game.
Let's take a look at three players who must continue their excellent play in the team's final two qualifiers and beyond.
Gomez has been the Americans' best attacker, and he scored the difference-maker in Tuesday night's victory. Check it out:
Gomez is fast, tenacious and very skilled in the offensive third. If the USMNT wants to score on the world's elite defenses, his presence is necessary. The Americans don't have a truly explosive scorer, but he has shown that sort of potential so far.
His goal in the 55th minute ensured that his team would have a chance to play through to the next round. They need that sort of effort from Gomez every time if they want to take advantage of Tuesday night's win in the coming matches.
Zusi's emergence has expanded the American attack by adding width as another dimension. His excellent play wasn't a given coming into World Cup qualifier play, but he's proven that he's a valuable commodity.
Zusi didn't score, but he came very close. He rang a shot off the crossbar in the fifth minute, but his main ability comes in the possession aspect of the game.
He's provided crisp passing, solid form and has made several excellent runs down the right side. He's also made sure the offensive third is well supplied by providing a solid service game.
If the United States wants to keep winning, Zusi needs to keep doing what he's doing.
Williams' versatility makes him a valuable commodity to the USMNT. He can play central midfield or outside, and he's very good at both.
He moved outside in Tuesday night's game after turning in a solid performance in the center of the American midfield group, and he didn't miss a beat. Being able to play multiple positions makes the American lineup better, and it makes his elite play completely necessary.
Williams isn't the team's most skilled player, but he's above-average in most areas. He almost scored Tuesday night, but he was denied.
If these three players play well, the United States' lineup will be better overall. A team effort is always required, but certain players are more important than others.