Everyone in red, white and blue feared an apocalypse after Oalex Anderson whizzed around US defender DeAndre Yedlin en route to an early goal for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but things subsequently came back down to Earth when the United States National Team found the back of the net by way of a Bobby Wood header.
The match, which, in truth, was a one-horse race from the get-go, never evened out. The Americans significantly out-classed SVG, who were employing semi-professional players who have jobs on the side. The unprecedented possession discrepancy further signified the home team's dominance: The Yanks enjoyed 83.1% of the ball. They held it for extended periods of time as St. Vincent stacked defenders behind the play, making it seem like a passing drill exercised in training.
The backline of Yedlin, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler and Tim Ream, along with goalkeeper Brad Guzan, were tested very little throughout the contest except for the occasional burst from Anderson, who currently toils in the USL with Seattle Sounders 2.
Goals came early and often for the favored side, beginning with Wood's finish off Yedlin's cross. The play was initiated by Gyasi Zardes, who was working down in the corner. He pushed the ball out to Michael Bradley at the edge of the box, who then found a streaking Yedlin. The current Sunderland defender had exploited one of the many gaps through the channels of the paper-thin SVG defense.
The ball was crossed into the six-yard box, where Wood accelerated and met the ball perfectly, lofting the ball over the head of sprawling keeper Winslow McDowall.
After an uncharacteristically long break between goals, Fabian Johnson gave the USMNT the lead for good in the 29th-minute. Jozy Altidore drew a foul directly outside the box, setting up a beautiful opportunity for a free-kick goal off a set-piece. A short debate about who would take it ensued shortly following the referee's call; that argument seemed to have been won by Johnson, who proceeded to whack it off the head of a St. Vincent player and into the net, the harsh deflection sending poor McDowall to the wrong corner of the net.
The route was on after that.
Altidore headed in a Jermaine Jones flick-on off of a corner just two minutes later, and another set piece goal was added in the 51st-minute, with Cameron scoring similarly. Zardes made it 5-1 in the 58th-minute and Altidore came within one of a hat-trick in the 74th-minute.
The US looked like the best team in the world compared to their minnow opponents for much of the match, particularly later in the first-half into the second, but in reality, this detonation of a low-level team only tells us two things: Disaster was predictably averted and there is plenty of pure talent on this side. Whether that talent can be translated into another win against Trinidad & Tobago has yet to be determined. The US faces T&T on Tuesday at 5:25 pm CT.