The United States is back in control of their own destiny after their win in Columbus last month, and they'll be close to a spot in the hexagonal round of qualifying if they defeat Antigua and Barbuda on Friday. Jürgen Klinsmann is dealing with a high volume of injuries, but given the makeup of the Antigua squad, they shouldn't prevent the United States from winning.
Landon Donovan, Brek Shea and Edgar Castillo have all pulled out of the team with injuries. Fabian Johnson is ill and will miss this match, then join the team in Kansas City for their match against Guatemala. Johnson and Castillo's absences leave a hole at left back that could be filled by Michael Parkhurst or Carlos Bocanegra, but there are grumblings that Sacha Kljestan could get a look in the spot.
Antigua have one thing going for them, however, and that's familiarity with each other. Most of their players ply their trade professionally with Antigua Barracuda FC, a USL Pro side, so they're used to playing with each other. Unfortunately, they're used to playing with each other two levels below MLS.
The first match between these two teams was played in Tampa, in a borderline monsoon. On a sloppy pitch, the U.S. struggled a bit, but were clearly the better side throughout the match and eventually ran out comfortable 3-1 winners.
Unfortunately for most viewers, the match will be broadcast on beIN Sport. It's a fine channel with fine commentators, but it's only on a few cable and satellite providers. If you don't get beIN Sport, check out your local American Outlaws bar.
Game date/time: Friday, 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
TV: beIN Sport