The United States men's national team will receive a golden opportunity to claim points when they travel to North Sound, Antigua to take on Antigua and Barbuda in the semifinal round of 2014 Wold Cup qualifying Friday night.
As of Friday, the United States is tied with Jamaica and Guatemala in Group A with seven points, though the Jamaicans sit behind in third due to lower goal differential. Jamaica and Guatemala will square off against one another, while the Americans receive Antigua and Barbuda, the worst team in the group with one point claimed.
A great opportunity lies ahead for the Americans, but they have yet to flourish in group play thus far. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the matchup:
When: Friday, October 12 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
Live Stream: beIN Sport
What to watch for
Getting off to a fast start
Great road teams quiet home crowds early—they don't allow the partisan crowd to ever get in the game. The U.S. needs to strike early to quiet the crowd.
An early goal by the Yanks would send Antigua and Barbuda to an immediate feeling of "here we go again, another disappointing result."
If the total opposite occurs, if Antigua and Barbuda comes out and scores an early goal, the United States could find themselves in major trouble on the road in a hostile atmosphere.
Tottenham's Clint Dempsey has proven to be America's best player at the club level. Now, it's time to prove that he's America's best player at the international level too.
Dempsey brings the flash, the charisma and a solid overall game to the pitch that is respected by all. He won't back down from anybody.
Dempsey's presence will need to be felt early and often without the services of Donovan and Altidore.
The United States scores an early goal about 20 minutes into the game. The defense shines, the Americans control the ball late in the second half and they play smart football to come away with a crucial 1-0 victory.