There was one moment of drama in this one, and it came just about 26 minutes into the game. Sounders attacker Oalex Anderson somehow broke free in the box on a set piece and got his head to Theon Gordon's service, about five yards from Brad Guzan's net.
It was a blown offside trap from the US, and Anderson read it well. He didn't get his angles right, however, and his header went just about straight down before popping up straight into Guzan's hands. Ninety seconds later Bobby Wood got the game's first goal and the US took a lead they wouldn't relinquish en route to a 6-0 win over the Vincy Heat and almost certain qualification to the Hexagonal.
The truth is that even if Anderson had buried his look, the US would have been fine. St. Vincent & the Grenadines are the 178th ranked team in the world as per EloRatings.net, and would have folded against the US eventually no matter what. This is a team that would struggle in the ACC or Big 10, let alone actual factual World Cup qualifiers.
With that in mind, let's dispense with a full-throated analysis in favor of just a few scattered thoughts:
• The field was a goat path, particularly in central midfield, and the US avoided it like the plague for the first 20 minutes. After that point, however, Jozy Altidore took it upon himself to repeatedly drop off the front line and pick the ball up in Zone 14. This wasn't in search of build-up play so much as it was to win second balls after Route 1 knockdowns, and that's exactly what led to Wood's goal.
• The US stayed in a 4-4-2 and both Wood and Altidore scored. This is good, obviously, but there needs to be much more data before anybody should be comfortable with this pairing.
To that end, Wood's lack of vision around the area continues to underwhelm. This has to be a pullback:
The inability to see passes like that and execute them at a high level is also why Wood doesn't work as a winger in the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.
Trying to get these two guys onto the field together was the correct move from Jurgen Klinsmann, and I hope we continue to see it. But I do suspect one of them will have to be sacrificed against better opposition or the 4-4-2 will be a 4-4-HUGEGAP-2, since "go win some second balls at the top of the box" is not a viable strategy against the better teams in the region.
• Christian Pulisic and Sacha Kljestan both submitted their applications for a bigger role should the US switch formations. Keep the competition in mind, of course, but Pulisic's got the combination of goal-scoring instincts and comfort in possession that modern wingers absolutely have to boast, and his development could make it easier to sacrifice one of the forwards.
As for Kljestan, it turns out he's ok:
Both guys are great at getting into the box without the ball, which is something none of the usual midfielders really have in the bag. That ability to switch roles in open play -- from provider to finisher, from ball-moving hub to attacking focal point -- is very, very useful and something the US shouldn't have been without for most of the last three years.
• Fabian Johnson played at left wing, while Kellyn Acosta was at left back. Acosta was fine, and Johnson had the first assist as well as the best pass of the day on a chance Wood should have buried:
The great thing about Wood is he has a short memory -- biffing chances like that don't seem to bother him. It's a great trait for a striker to have.
• DeAndre Yedlin picked up a yellow card and will be suspended for Tuesday's game against Trinidad & Tobago.
• Speaking of, the result that against T&T in Jacksonville (8 pm ET; FS1) will determine who finishes first and who finishes second in Group C, though there's a remote chance Guatemala could still squeak into the Hex (USA have a sizable edge in goal differential -- +13 vs. Guatemala's +1). I feel comfortable writing that off, however.
After a rough start to this qualifying round the US have just about seen the job through.