This one is pretty simple. Either the United States beat Antigua and Barbuda on Friday night or they just give up. This one has to be a win and it should be a dominating one at that. The pitch at Raymond James Stadium is a mess, but that and pretty much anything else cannot be an excuse. Antigua and Barbuda should have no chance.
Friday night will be the start of World Cup qualifying for the U.S., which assuming they qualify for the final round of qualifying, will stretch 16 matches. The good and bad of the friendlies is now irrelevant. It is all about results and booking a place in the 2014 World Cup.
The Americans' scoreless draw against Canada on Sunday, like the rest of the friendlies, can be tossed out the windows, but there are still things to learn from it. That match made it pretty clear that Clarence Goodson will start at center back, but there are still other questions. Jozy Altidore's fitness is still up in the air so he may not start and Jurgen Klinsmann will have to reconsider his midfield, namely Jose Francisco Torres over Maurice Edu, after the shoddy performance against the Canadians.
The 90 minutes in Tampa will kick off the third round of World Cup qualifying, which is comprised of three four-team groups in which the top two teams in each group advance to the final round. The final round, called the hexagonal because it has six teams, will see the top three teams qualify for the World Cup and the fourth place team go to a two-legged playoff for the final spot in Brazil.
After picking up an expected three points against Antigua and Barbuda, the U.S. will turn its attention to Guatemala, who they will play in Guatemala City on Tuesday. The Benna Boys may not present the Americans with much of a challenge, but the Guatemalans, and a raucous home crowd will.
Game Date/Time: Friday, June 8, 7:11 p.m. ET
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
TV: ESPN (USA English), ESPN3 (USA Online), Galavision (USA Spanish)