On Saturday the United States men's national soccer team will take on Antigua's national team in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier. The US needs at least a win and a tie in the next two games (US will play Guatemala on October 16) to break the three-way tie with Guatemala and Jamaica at the top of the group.
In the previous matchup between these teams last June, the US got the better of Antigua defeating it 3-1 in a game where US Captain Carlos Bocanegra tied the all-time scoring mark for US defenders.
Bocanegra and the US dominated Antigua from the start and never really looked back, but will history repeat itself on Friday as the US looks to get six points in the next two games?
Where: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
When: Friday, October 12, 7 p.m. EST
TV/Live Stream: beIN SPORT
United States: A New Look to the Roster
The United States will attempt to get the victory with a different look on Friday. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the coaching staff are anticipating that both Antigua and Guatemala will play conservative games focused on defense to try to force the struggling US offense to continue having a hard time. The offense hasn't scored more than one goal in 15 of its 18 games under Klinsmann.
However, Klinsmann and company left Jozy Altidore, who's been scoring at will for his Dutch club team, and Chris Wondolowski, the leader in goals scored in Major League Soccer, off the roster.
Seattle's Eddie Johnson and San Jose's Alan Gordon will take the open spots in what will be Gordon's debut on the team as the US adds players who are good in the air, expecting Antigua and Guatemala to load the field defensively.
If the US wants to secure another victory on its quest for a World Cup berth in 2014, it'll have to get it done with some new faces.
Antigua and Barbuda: Help From the US
Antigua is starting to impress people on the international level after putting on a decent show against the US last summer and finishing with a draw against a solid Jamaica team. At one point, it lost just once in seven matches.
Antigua and Barbuda will have to use its speedy, compact style of play to get up early on the US team, and Gayson Gregory will have to take control and make big plays for the national club.
If everything goes right, Antigua may still need a little help from the United States, which it may get. Landon Donovan injured his knee recently and a few mainstays on the team didn't make the roster, so if Antigua can get on the board early against a team that struggles on the attack, we may see a huge upset on Friday.
Prediction: While everyone loves an underdog, I just don't see it happening for Antigua. The US handled Antigua pretty easily last summer and is as focused as ever to get its points to qualify for the World Cup.
Antigua's only chance will come if it can get up early and if the US struggles offensively, which it has been known to do recently, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Dempsey, Donovan and company will get it done as the US will win in a game that resembles the meeting last summer, 3-0.
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