The US national team survived an early scare as they embarked on their campaign to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Friday, defeating St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6-1 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
In fact, the tiny Caribbean nation held the lead early in the game, as Oalex Anderson opened up the scoring, before the US scored six unanswered goals, courtesy of Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Gyasi Zardes.
Overall, the US dominated the game, as expected against a team largely composed of semipro players, holding more than 80 percent of possession and peppering the Vincy Heat goal with chances. St. Vincent and the Grenadines goalkeeper Winslow McDowall had a strong outing in spite of the scoreline, as his saves prevented the Americans from reaching double digits on the scoresheet.
A poor clearance by Cameron deep in the American half was pounced on by Anderson, and the Seattle Sounders 2 winger dribbled into the box and sent his attempt past Brad Guzan to give St. Vincent and the Grenadines a shock lead just five minutes into the match.
The visitors' lead would not last long, however, as six minutes later Michael Bradley sent a throughball in the box to DeAndre Yedlin, whose cross into the center of the 6-yard box was headed in by Wood, just over the outstretched fingertips of McDowall.
Johnson gave the hosts the lead just before a half hour had passed, as his free kick deflected off the St. Vincent wall and into the net for the 2-1 scoreline.
Three minutes later, Altidore notched another set piece goal for the US, as Johnson's corner kick was flicked on from the near post by Jermaine Jones to the Toronto FC striker, who made the late run to push the ball over the line.
The USMNT continued their strong form on set pieces after the break, as Cameron finished a corner kick flicked toward the back post to extend the lead once more in the 52nd minute. Five minutes later, Zardes took his turn, this time from the run of play, as he ran onto Altidore's pass through the defense, and slotted it diagonally past McDowall.
Two USMNT debutants featured in the match, as Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe and New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga made their first senior appearances, entering the game together in the 64th minute.
Altidore grabbed his second goal of the night with about 15 minutes to go, as he took a feed from Jones, turned around and dribbled to grab space, and sent a deflected shot past McDowall.
The win puts the US in good stead after matchday one in Group C. They will next face Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain on Tuesday (6:30 pm ET, beIN Sports), while St. Vincent and the Grenadines will host Guatemala, also on Tuesday.