USA Vs. Antigua & Barbuda: USMNT Win 3-1

When is a two-goal win a bad result? When your opponent is made up of U.S. third division players.

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USA Vs. Antigua & Barbuda, 2014 World Cup Qualifying: Final Score 3-1 USA As Hosts Flatter To Deceive

The United States put in a rather unimpressive performance in seeing off Antigua and Barbuda in their World Cup qualifying match in Tampa. The hosts should have absolutely demolished the minnows in a Floridian downpour, but were held to an unconvincing 3-1 victory instead, losing Jose Torres to a severe-looking ankle injury in the process..

Carlos Bocanegra opened the scoring with a toe-poke home following Molvin James' save from Hercules Gomez's header, and for a little while it seemed as though the floodgates would open. Slick moves from Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley cut open Antigua's back line, and it seemed as though the US would grab a hatful of goals before the end of the first half.

Instead, they only added one more, with Dempsey tacking on from the spot after Landon Donovan was brought down in the box. Incredibly, Antigua pulled a goal back after halftime when substitute Peter Byers finished low past Tim Howard, but the two-goal cushion was restored thanks to Gomez, who took advantage of a very fortunate rebound to make it 3-1 in the 71st minute. The rest of the match (save for Torres' injury, which saw him stretchered off in the 57th minute) was prettttty awful.

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USA Vs. Antigua & Barbuda, 2014 World Cup Qualifying: Halftime Score, USMNT Up 2-0

Here's the good news, if you're a fan of the United States: They are currently winning. Here's the bad news, if you are a fan of the United States: Everything else about this game is bad. Antigua and Barbuda are not a very good team and the majority of the squad is made up of U.S. third division players. They have a couple of okay guys from the English League Championship. They're hanging with the USMNT, but the Americans are up 2-0 at halftime.

Neither goal came from open play, which is what's particularly concerning. The first goal came early, on a corner kick, and was gifted to the U.S. with some shoddy marking. Herculez Gomez created it with a good header, which was saved, and Carlos Bocanegra punched in the rebound.

What followed was a long period of very inept play from the United States. In their defense, it's pouring rain, but rain doesn't cause you to forget how to make runs off the ball, or to forget that sometimes teams are supposed to kick the ball towards the goal. They were bad. Very, very bad.

Luckily, they got bailed out by an inane challenge just before the stroke of halftime. Donovan got hacked down hard from behind in the penalty area, and a penalty was given. Clint Dempsey stepped up and buried it to double the United States lead.

So the U.S. is going to take three points from a World Cup qualifier, yes, but they haven't scored against open play against Antigua. Everything that the United States have done in their last two and a half matches indicates that they're going to have a tough time away to Guatemala on Tuesday.

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USA Vs. Antigua & Barbuda, 2014 World Cup Qualifying: Carlos Bocanegra Has USMNT Ahead

The rain is pouring down at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, but the USA won't mind - they've gone ahead early in their 2014 World Cup qualifier to Antigua and Barbuda thanks to Carlos Bocanegra. The hosts managed to win a corner in the 8th minute, and Landon Donovan waited patiently for Bocanegra to change his footwear before launching a nice delivery into the box.

Hercules Gomez got to the ball first, but his header was kept out well by Molvin James. Unfortunately for the visitors, he couldn't hold on to the wet ball, and Bocanega (who really should have been picked up by Lawson Robinson) was available to stab home under heavy pressure. So, it's 1-0, and the party is, most probably, just getting started. How many goals do we think the USA can get here. Six? Seven? Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley have both come reasonably close to making it 2-0 already, and it's probably only a matter of time before James is force to pick the ball out of the back of his net again.

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USA Vs. Antigua & Barbuda, 2014 World Cup Qualifying: Match Underway

We're off and running in Florida, where the United States men's national team is taking on minnows Antigua and Barbuda in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The match ended up delayed for almost half an hour thanks to heavy rain, but apparently it's let up enough to let us get going, which means we've now officially been introduced to Quentin Griffith's hair, which may or may not be a good thing.

Should we expect much from Antigua today? In a word, no. They did well just to get to this stage, and the US should absolutely wipe them out. So far they haven't done much out-wiping, however - it's been a pretty tentative start from both teams. It goes without saying that the surface is playing very quickly, something that should probably benefit the United States, but as of yet we're yet to see any really fun, slick passing moves from Jurgen Klinnsman's men. Give it some time, though.

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